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NBA · 1 week ago

Ranking the 5 NBA Head Coach Openings

Ben DiGiacomo

The Conference Finals are here, but a handful of teams are staring down their future without a head coach in place. Nick Nurse, Monty Williams, Mike Budenholzer, and Doc Rivers headline the available coaches, with five available openings.

Here’s how we rank the desirability of the five openings. 

1. Phoenix Suns

Monty Williams was let go as the head man for the Suns after a second round flame out at the hands of the Nuggets. Still, this job remains the best one on the market. To start, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker are arguably the most dynamic duo in the NBA, and any coach would love the opportunity to coach them. Additionally, new owner Mat Ishbia has expressed a strong desire to win quickly and appears fully committed to doing whatever is possible. Giving a new coach a featured duo, an eager owner, and the opportunity to live in Phoenix through the winter, who wouldn’t want this gig?

2. Milwaukee Bucks

It’s not a failure; it’s steps to success… tell that to coach Mike Budenholzer who is sitting at home without a job. If we ignore the Bucks’ opening-round collapse, the consensus was they were the best in the league during the regular season and favorites to win it all. The roster is littered with talent, headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo, but Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton give the Bucks a threatening trio. This championship-ready team could greatly benefit from a new voice on the bench.

3. Philadelphia 76ers

Oh, the Sixers. After being up 3-2 in the Eastern Semis and a lead heading into the fourth quarter of Game 6, the Sixers choked and utterly fell apart in Game 7. While Doc Rivers wasn’t entirely at fault for their elimination, it was time for the Sixers to get a new voice. James Harden is trending not to be on the team next year, but you still have MVP Joel Embiid, a rising star in Tyrese Maxey, and one of the best front-office guys in the sport with Daryl Morey. The Sixers were the closest they’ve been to overcoming that second-round hurdle, so hopefully, one of the premier coaching candidates can get the most out of this roster next season.

4. Detroit Pistons

The Pistons still stink, there is no way around that, but they have direction. While Cade Cunningham only appeared in 12 games last year, he’s a star in the making. Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren shined as rookies and appear to be two solid pieces to the puzzle. Plus, they can add with the fifth overall pick in this upcoming draft. The Pistons are reportedly down to Kevin Ollie, Charles Lee, and Jarron Collins as their three finalists, but whoever gets this job has a long road ahead.

5. Toronto Raptors

What were the Raptors last year? After a 2021-22 campaign filled with promise, the Raptors took a step back this season, and it’s unclear what the future holds. Scottie Barnes is an excellent piece, but he doesn’t look as special as many had hoped he would after his rookie season. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet had their time in Toronto, and it’s hard to envision them leading the charge back to the promised land. Masai Ujiri has his work cut out for him, but it feels like the Raptors are in no man’s land. A place no prospective coach would jump for. 


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