The NBA coaching carousel was in full force this offseason, as 10 teams hired new coaches for the 2016-2017 season. Some of these coaching changes took place in big markets while some proven coaches shockingly had to find new homes. Here’s a ranked list of the best coaching hirings this offseason.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Tom Thibodeau
Coach Thibs has been the best coach on the market for over a year, as last season he decided to step away from the NBA after being fired by the Chicago Bulls. Thibs is now the coach and president of one of the most promising young teams in the league. Thibs will have the luxury of coaching the last two Rookie of the Year winners in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, along with talented players such as Zach LaVine, Ricky Rubio, Gorgui Dieng, and rookie Kris Dunn.
Orlando Magic: Frank Vogel
It didn’t take long for Frank Vogel to find work after the Indiana Pacers shockingly fired him. The Magic brought Vogel in to change the culture in Orlando and to develop the Magic’s young core into a winning team. Vogel will start his Magic career with the core of Elfrid Payton, Serge Ibaka, Evan Fournier, Bismack Biyombo, Aaron Gordon, and Mario Hezonja.
Los Angeles Lakers: Luke Walton
Walton had the best start to a coaching career any coach can dream of. Walton was the assistant coach for the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors and served as interim coach when head coach Steve Kerr was unable to coach, starting the 2015-2016 season 24-0. Walton recorded a 39-4 in his time as head coach, good enough for the Lakers to bring back their former player to lead their young team. Walton, who at 36 is the youngest coach in the NBA, will lead the Lakers’ youth movement of D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson in the post-Kobe Bryant era. Walton hopes he can make Lakers tickets the most valuable ticket in Hollywood real soon.
Washington Wizards: Scott Brooks
After developing the talent in Oklahoma City to a championship-contending team, the Wizards are hoping Brooks can do the same in D.C. Many people believed coach Randy Wittman was a big reason why the Wizards never reached their potential. Brooks now has the ability to construct an offense around John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Sacramento Kings: Dave Joerger
Joerger has proved himself through the coaching ranks, winning five combined championships in the D-League, International Basketball Association and Continental Basketball Association. Joerger went 147-99 in three years with the Memphis Grizzlies, making the playoffs in each season. The Kings are banking on Joerger can change the culture in Sacramento, as he will be the eighth coach in 11 seasons. The Kings have not a winning season since 2006 under Rick Adelman.
Memphis Grizzlies: David Fizdale
Fizdale has been one of the most coveted assistants in the NBA, as he has served under Erik Spoelstra in Miami since 2008. Fizdale is respected throughout the league for his ability to communicate and challenge all players, from second-round rookies to superstar players such as Dwyane Wade.
New York Knicks: Jeff Hornacek
After going 48-34 and missing the playoffs in a rough Western Conference, Jeff Hornacek wasn’t been able to produce at the level consistently. It will be interesting on how much of the triangle Hornacek will run with Phil Jackson watching from above.
Houston Rockets: Mike D’Antoni
After two failed stints with the Lakers and Knicks, D’Antoni might have his last chance to be a NBA coach with the Rockets. D’Antoni has never been one to coach defense, so it will be interesting how him and James Harden work together.
Brooklyn Nets: Kenny Atkinson
The Nets are in a rebuilding process that may take many years, so they decided to bring in a first-year coach and first-year general manager to build the team together. Former Spurs assistant Sean Marks hired Atkinson after he spending eight seasons as an assistant coach with the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks.
Indiana Pacers: Nate McMillan
After the Pacers hired Frank Vogel, Larry Bird hired McMillan to after his three years out of the NBA. McMillan went 478-452 in his twelve seasons as serving as head coach for the Seattle Supersonics and Portland Trail Blazers. McMillan also served as a Team USA assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski since 2006.