7 NBA Coaches I'd Want To Play For

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Gregg Popovich

Flip Saunders, Phil Jackson, and Rick Carlisle

7 NBA Coaches I’d Want To Play For

I’ve played for every kind of coach I could ask for – offensive, defensive, mean, nice, strategic, care-free, old, young, wise, dumb, and so on. We like to say that a team typically takes on the identity of its coach. When this is true it means the players have bought into that coach’s system, philosophy, and understanding of how to play the game. Being a player and student of the game, you can’t help but take a liking to coaches that install the kind of style you would enjoy playing in. With that in mind, here are 7 (current) NBA coaches I’d want to play for, with three special inactives.

 

Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

I’d want to play for Doc specifically for the offensive execution. His half court sets have become staple and you see his impact on this new Clipper team with more of a motion emphasis on offense. I like the systematic but also free-flowing nature of Doc’s offense because I prefer both aspects depending on the situation. Doc loves to coach and I love to be coached so it would be a good fit.

 

Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau

Of course I’d love to play for who I feel is the best defensive coach in the NBA. Thibs coaches a rotation-oriented defense that requires discipline and effort. It reminds me of the mid line defense I was taught in high school. Playing for Thibodeau means you’re either willing to defend or willing to learn how. I wasn’t always passionate about defense, but since I am, playing for Thibs would be especially rewarding.

 

Rick Carlisle

Rick Carlisle

One of the great strategists in coaching, I just think Rick Carlisle understands the game and his personnel. I think he’s experimental in some ways, which I enjoy because it can make the game refreshing. Like the next guy on my list, he promotes the collective brand of basketball that I enjoy playing in.

 

Gregg Popovich

Gregg Popovich

It’s a no-brainer for me wanting to play for the coach who implements some of the best team basketball you’ll ever see. Pop’s IQ and strategy is definitely enticing, but also his mentality as a coach. He’s never phased and he demands that his team simply stick religiously to the principles they practice. Pop is the kind of precise perfectionist I would be excited to work for.

 

Erik Spoelstra

Erik Spoelstra

Maybe I wouldn’t have had Spo on my list if LeBron James hadn’t taken his talents to South Beach, but in this case I’m glad he did. I completely admired Spoelstra’s offensive and defensive philosophies displayed with the Miami Heat over the last two years. We share a preference for uptempo offense, quality spacing, and ball movement.

 

Jeff Hornacek

Jeff Hornacek

Hornacek just started coaching in the NBA last season, but the way he’s coaching the Phoenix Suns tells me I’d want to play for him. His guard-oriented offense opens up the floor for his playmakers with screens and shooters. Not sure if he prefers small-ball or if that’s him adjusting to his roster, but it sure works for the way he’s coaching, and I’d love to operate in it.

 

Mike Budenholzer

Mike Budenholzer

Another fresh guy in the NBA head coaching pantheon just getting started, but Budenholzer also showed me why I’d like to play for him while instructing the Atlanta Hawks last season. Former pupil of Gregg Popovich, Budenholzer’s offensive attack was balanced, inclusive, and unpredictable. He used his assets to go 5-out on offense a lot, and I’m eager to play for any coach who is willing to be that flexible offensively.

(Inactives)

 

Phil Jackson

The triangle offense, Zen, and his book recommendations.

 

Mike D’Antoni

Seven seconds or less.

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