Mike Budenholzer

Top available NBA head coaches during 2023 offseason

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Putting a list of the best available NBA coaches is a rather complicated task. Not many great basketball minds are up for hire at this point, at least not those who come with NBA pedigree. Of course, there are countless options in FIBA basketball and even the WNBA, but the league has often kept them ostracized.

Getting fired isn’t always due to poor coaching. Sometimes, a roster just maxes out under that leadership, and they need to shake things up a little to get better. That’s why some coaches get hired almost right after getting shown the door.

Best available NBA coaches in 2022-23

This season won’t be the exception to that rule. With multiple job openings in the coaching world and considering how high were NBA head coach salaries this season, we can already predict that some of the most prominent names in the game will strike a new deal sooner rather than later. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best available NBA coaches.

10. Doc Rivers

Just like it usually happens with fans fantasizing about Tom Thibodeau replacements, it didn’t take long before the Philadelphia 76ers pulled the plug on the Doc Rivers experiment. Rivers is great at building a winning culture and establishing defense, but he’s not exactly a mastermind when it comes to the Xs and the Os.

Rivers is a motivator and a bit of an instigator as well. He’s got enough NBA pedigree to get another chance in the league, and he does have an NBA championship. However, he’s also got more blown series leads in NBA playoff history than any other coach, as well as the most losses in Game 7s. The Doc Rivers experience is a roller coaster and one not many fans will be willing to go through.


9. Terry Stotts

Terry Stotts once again entered the campaign as one of the best unemployed NBA coaches in 2022-23. Like Rivers, Stotts is great in the regular season, and he’s got the potential to put together an explosive offense, although the defense will always be a concern.

Stotts’ lack of in-game adjustments eventually cost him his job with the Portland Trail Blazers, but he’s great at team-building and is usually better as an underdog than as a favorite. He’s paid his dues and should be ready to get another shot.

8. Dave Joerger

The fact that Dave Joerger remains unemployed is somewhat surprising. Joerger inherited an elite defensive team with the Memphis Grizzlies, and he managed to keep that same spirit and discipline on the team during his run in Tennessee.

He didn’t look good at all with the Sacramento Kings, but let’s be honest for a second: Who would? Joerger comes with plenty of experience as a senior defensive-minded assistant, and he’s got the character and expertise to lead almost any team.

7. Mike D’Antoni

Mike D’Antoni is highly regarded as one of the greatest offensive masterminds in the history of this game. His seven-seconds-or-less Phoenix Suns were a treat to watch, and he was one win away from the NBA Finals with the Houston Rockets, so he could obviously revamp any team’s offense.


On the downside, he hasn’t won a championship despite coaching the likes of Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash, Amar’e Stoudemire, and James Harden, and there have always been reports of a lack of discipline, not to mention a non-existent defensive scheme for his teams.

6. Kenny Atkinson

Kenny Atkinson is the guy you want to have when you’re developing a young team. He’s great at teaching the fundamentals and instilling a tough, hard-working environment within his team, even leading the Brooklyn Nets to a playoff berth against all odds.

He may lack the character or authority to coach big-name players like Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving. But he’s a solid offensive mind, and he may have learned a thing or two after years of serving behind Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors.

5. Mark Jackson

Talking about the Warriors, it’s crazy to see that Mark Jackson continues to be overlooked and ignored when discussing NBA head coach candidates. There must be a bigger story to it, as there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t do a great job on an NBA bench again.

Jackson put the building blocks of the Warriors’ dynasty before Steve Kerr took them to the championship level they have nowadays. He obviously knows a lot about the game and his former players have praised him over and over, so he should get another chance.

4. Frank Vogel

Even though his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t end well, Frank Vogel is once again one of the top NBA head coaches available. He was a victim of being at a big market team and with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, although he did manage to win an NBA championship.

Vogel lost his locker room, and his easy-going character could be an issue when coaching superstars. But he’s an elite defensive tactician that comes with plenty of playoff experience and championship pedigree. That doesn’t exactly grow in trees.

3. Nick Nurse

Even though he’s been overlooked over and over, Nick Nurse is most definitely one of the best available NBA coaches. He worked his way up the coaching ladder, paying his dues and earning his stripes in the G-League before leading the Toronto Raptors to their very first NBA championship.

Under Nurse, the Raptors’ lone losing season came in the bubble when they had to move to Tampa Bay. He’s an elite tactician and has proven to be an outstanding player developer as well. His players may not always be fond of his ways, but he’s a guy to keep an eye on as he pursues the next step in his career.

2. Monty Williams

Firing the guy with the most wins in the NBA since 2021 speaks volumes of how ruthless this business is. Monty Williams completely turned the Phoenix Suns’ around, on and off the court, but it seemed like the team had already peaked under him, and they needed to move on from him.

It won’t be long before he finds another job, though. Williams proved to be way more prepared than people thought when he first took over the job. He’s a great motivator and a guy that’ll make his players run through a wall for him — unless your name is Deandre Ayton — and he’s proven to be great at making adjustments more often than not.

1. Mike Budenholzer

Last but not least, we close out our list of the best NBA head coach candidates with Mike Budenholzer, who’s often been a subject of controversies. On the one hand, he’s an NBA champion with an impressive track record of regular-season success, even with lesser or not-so-strong teams like the Atlanta Hawks.

On the other, he’s been inflexible and stubborn in the postseason, which has often led to savvier coaches drawing circles around him. Budenholzer has failed to make timely adjustments in the playoffs, and even Giannis Antetokounmpo called him out for not at least trying to do something different when he saw his team struggling. He’s a lock to be hired in this coaching cycle, but he’ll have plenty of pressure to silence his critics this time.

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