Ranking The 5 Best Coaches In The NBA

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No. 3: Mark Jackson, Golden State Warriors

May 16, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson instructs against the San Antonio Spurs during the fourth quarter in game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The Spurs defeated the Warriors 94-82. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In Mark Jackson’s sophomore campaign with the Golden State Warriors, he led a young team the Western Conference Semifinals. The Warriors were ultimately defeated by the better team in the San Antonio Spurs. However, it is not too much of a stretch to say that the Warriors were coached well enough to possibly upset the superior Spurs.

Jackson thoroughly out coached coach Geroge Karl during the first round of the playoffs.

Despite losing All-Star forward David Lee, Jackson used a rotation which included three rookies, a superstar point guard with ankles held together by tape and a seven-foot center that had trouble simply running down the court. The Warriors often exploited mismatches and forced opponents to play “Warrior ball.”

Jackson admittedly has weaknesses as a coach that needs to be addressed. The Warriors’ inability to inbound cost them precious possessions against the Spurs. And though it may not necessarily be a weakness, Jackson’s tendency to hyperbolize every statement he makes grows old.

In the end, Jackson coached a fantastic season. He purposefully created an environment that nurtures young players, which allowed for Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli all to have impactful seasons. The Warriors never gave the impression they overachieved. Jackson’s coaching helped each player understand their role in a system that emphasized defense and rebounding to fuel their offense.

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Topics: Chicago Bulls, Erik Spoelstra, Golden State Warriors, Gregg Popovich, Lionel Hollins, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, NBA Playoffs, San Antonio Spurs, Tom Thibodeau

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  • discus

    Pops “after time out plays” are off the hook.

    • discus

      Spurs ends up with wide open layups (see Kawhi inbounds to TP) or wide open jumpers on those plays. Spoelstra and other coaches “after time out” plays?

      Uh, give the ball to Lebron and get out of his way. ”

      Uh, give the ball to Jordan and get out of his way. ”

      Uh, give the ball to Caramel and get out of his way. “

  • Joe Moore

    San Antonio shoots 53.4 efg% after time outs, the heat shoot 54.5%. This doesn’t include turnovers, but those “Uh, give the ball to Lebron and get out of his way,” plays are pretty effective (also that’s not all the heat do off inbounds). Often, a simple option is just as effective as a complex, intricately designed one. People criticize Spo for having the best player, but there is value in using that player’s skills.

    • John

      I completely agree. Simply having great players doesn’t result in championships. The dynasties over the past couple decades (Magic, Jordan, Shaq/Kobe, Duncan) all had hall of fame coaches at the helm leading hall of fame players.