Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Top 8 Current NBA Head Coaches as Former Players

Does past playing experience account for much when it comes to coaching?  Surely it does some.

There have been many good to great NBA players who have left the game and ended up coaching in the League.  Or, in Bill Russell's case, he never left the game before he started coaching.  He began his coaching career as a player-coach.

Other greats who have gone on to become head coaches in the NBA include Larry Bird and Isiah Thomas.

As far as the current crop of NBA coaches go, who would be considered the best former players?

Here is my list of the top eight.  For suspense purposes, I'll start from the bottom up.

8) Larry Drew/Milwaukee-He was a majority starter four of his 10 seasons.  He played in 31 playoff games.

7) Tyrone Corbin/Utah-The most impressive stat for Corbin is he played more than 15 seasons.  It would be hard to last that long if he wasn't any good.

6) Doc (Glenn) Rivers/Los Angeles Clippers-Made it to one All-Star game and played with four different teams in the playoffs.  He gets extra kudos for playing eight seasons with one team (Atlanta Hawks).  He is considered the main starting point guard for the Hawks from 1983-1991.

5) Mo (Maurice) Cheeks/Detroit-Played in four all-star games.  He won one championship as the starting point guard with the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers.  He was a gutty player who played 15+ seasons, including 11 for the Sixers.

4) Jeff Hornacek/Phoenix-Also a gutty player and renowned for his three-point shooting.  He made two Finals as the shooting guard for the Utah Jazz.  He played 14 seasons and mostly as a starter.  With close to 16,000 points scored, he made them shooting 50% from the field.  He has an excellent chance to make the Hall Of Fame.

3) Mark Jackson/Golden St.-His reputation was as an assist man.  He has over 10,000 assists in 17 seasons, ranking him third all-time.  He was the starting point guard on the Indiana Pacers team that made the Finals.  He played in 131 playoff games and will probably make the Hall Of Fame.

2) Kevin McHale/Houston-Played on three championship teams with the Boston Celtics.  As the starting power forward, he was recognized as a lethal scorer and as a rebounding machine.  Is a Hall Of Famer already having played 13 seasons all with the Boston Celtics while accumulating more than 17,000 points and more than 7,000 rebounds.

1) Jason Kidd/Brooklyn-Ranks second all-time in assists with more than 12,000 and he won one championship as the starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks a few seasons ago.  He made the playoffs in 17 of his 21 seasons and he was an all-star 12 times.  He is a definite Hall Of Famer.  Most of all, he was a whiz with the ball and he had a style that was unique to him.

So, these were some excellent players, but how is their coaching?  That's a tougher list to compile, but Doc Rivers would have a head start on them, as he is the only one with an NBA championship as a coach.  He coached Boston to their last title.

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