Sir Charles In Charge writers Michael Saenz, Andrew Melnick, Jalen Bishop and Hardeep Sahota rank the top players at each position in the NBA for the 2013-2014 season. This week long series will also include ranking the top sixth men and head coaches.
Before we start, let me just say that I will not be placing Erik Spoelstra as one of the top coaches in the league. I’m sorry, but the real coach of that team is LeBron James. Give me James on a team and I can lead them to a few championships, as well.
OK, moving on now.
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs
Popovich is one of the smartest coaches in the league, and he continues to win with a team that was supposed to be dead a few years ago. The great thing about Popovich is that he doesn’t mind getting in the face of his star players. He takes many risks by sitting his aging veterans, saving them for the playoffs. It paid off last year as the Spurs breezed through the Western Conference. He will have his team playing at a high level again this year.
Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls
There is no better coach who gets the most out of his players than Thibodeau. Take last season as an example. The Bulls were missing their MVP in Derrick Rose and had major injuries to a flurry of their other stars, including Luol Deng and Joakim Noah. With a roster full of bench players, the Bulls gave the Miami Heat all that they could handle in the playoffs. They managed to beat the Brooklyn Nets in seven games. We will see what Thibodeau can do this year with a healthy team.
Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers
With two full seasons under his belt, Vogel has improved this squad each year. When he took over the team, he was the one who really gave Paul George his chance. In two years, George is now considered a possible MVP candidate. Vogel brings this team a toughness that was missing. Defense is a primary focus under his helm, which has changed the direction of this franchise. Getting a healthy Danny Granger and adding some weapons off the bench will allow Vogel to really test his coaching abilities this year.
Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers
This one was a tough one. Rivers has done a lot with great talent on his team, but the way he wanted out of Boston really made me wonder if he belonged on this list. He turned the Celtics into a great championship contender every year he was there. Players love to play for Rivers and they respect him. When your players are willing to do anything for you, it makes it easy to win games. The Clippers seemed to be missing a leader who could bring a lot of these egos together. Rivers is the perfect guy to do this. Look how he brought the Celtics together to win their title.
Mark Jackson, Golden State Warriors
I could have picked a lot of veteran coaches here, but I love what Jackson is doing with the Warriors. He has a team full of good character guys. It’s easy to cheer for this team. Jackson has really turned around the culture of this Bay Area team. He’s always worn his faith on his sleeve, and that is one thing I believe has really brought this team closer together. If this team stays healthy, watch for Jackson to lead them deep into the playoffs.
HONORABLE MENTION(S): Brian Shaw (Denver Nuggets) is going to be a great coach and has done a great job as an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers and Pacers. He was a great hire, and will succeed with the young team he has. Rick Adelman (Minnesota Timberwolves) has a healthy team and has a lot of weapons at his disposal. Adelman has always done well with talent. Watch for Timberwolves to be a surprise team under Adelman’s leadership. Rick Carlisle (Dallas Mavericks) is the only coach who has beaten the new Miami Heat team. Give him a few pieces and watch him lead his team to the top.