Ranked: Top ten NBA head coaches ahead of 2021-22 season

Nick Nurse
Toronto struggled last season, but Nick Nurse remains among the best NBA coaches. Photo from CBS.

The best coaches in the NBA right now proved that they can lead their team both in the regular season and postseason.

Best coaches in the NBA 2021

Having a superstar player on the roster isn’t enough to be successful as a team. The head coach is what makes a team great through developing key strategies, providing guidance, and uplifting the team’s morale.

That being said, here are the best NBA head coaches ahead of the 2021/22 season…

10. Frank Vogel

Injuries pretty much derailed the Lakers last season. Now fully healthy and with some intriguing additions, Frank Vogel and Los Angeles will look to bounce back and repeat the same success they showed in the bubble.

Vogel is a defensive-minded coach. This is key in winning games, especially in the playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see how he can mesh together Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis.

9. Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau proved that he’s one of the best NBA head coaches in 2021.

He led the Knicks as the fourth seed in the East last season. It’s great to see a head coach of his caliber turn around a franchise.


As we all know, Thibs has a gritty and defensive style of approach in his system. This is why the Knicks were ranked fourth in defensive rating (107.8).

Now that they finally tasted what the playoffs are all about, Thibs and New York will look to repeat their regular-season success.

8. Ty Lue

Even without Kawhi Leonard, Ty Lue and the Clippers managed to reach the Western Conference Finals. While they lost against the scorching Suns team, it’s a great feat nonetheless for the league’s most disrespected team.

What’s great about Lue is his ability to make in-game adjustments. This was clearly displayed last postseason, especially against the Jazz. NBA GMs voted for him as the best coach in making in-game adjustments.

However, it’ll be tougher for Lue this season as his best player will miss a huge chunk of time due to injury.

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7. Quin Snyder

It’s a huge feat for Quin Snyder to lead the Jazz as the best team in the NBA last season–finishing with a record of 52-20. In addition, Utah ranked fourth in offensive rating (116.5) and third in defensive rating (107.5).

Snyder has all the tools of a great coach—as seen from his success in the regular season. However, he hasn’t been able to prove himself yet in the playoffs as the Jazz can’t get past the second round for the past five seasons.

This season will be a greater test for him.

6. Mike Budenholzer

Finally, an NBA Champion. Mike Budenholzer made headlines last season when he led the Bucks to their first NBA title in 50 years.

Coach Bud drew some flak for the past two seasons because of his inability to make adjustments. While there are still holes in his coaching style, the whole Bucks roster trusts him—and that’s what is important.

Milwaukee already extended his contract and he’ll look to repeat the same success this season.

5. Gregg Popovich

There’s no doubt that Gregg Popovich is the most accomplished head coach on this list. He’ll go down as one of the most influential NBA coaches in history. In his 25 seasons with the Spurs, he has been a five-time NBA Champion and three-time Coach of the Year.

He falls on this list just because San Antonio hasn’t made the playoffs in the last two seasons. Still, the Spurs are well known for their ability to find gems late in the draft and develop talent.

With a young roster centered around Dejounte Murray, Coach Pop will definitely look to make a push this year.

4. Nick Nurse

After Toronto’s championship in 2019, they find themselves at a crossroads whether to hit the lottery or reach the playoffs. Clearly, it didn’t work out for the past two seasons as their talent isn’t good enough.

Even without a star-studded roster, Nurse has been great in developing and trusting his players.

It’s exciting to see what Nurse can do with their latest lottery-pick addition, Scottie Barnes.

3. Steve Kerr

There’s no other coach who has been as successful for the past decade as Steve Kerr. He led the Warriors to five straight NBA Finals and won three championships in that span.

What’s noticeable in how his system is centered on shooting the three-ball. He basically revolutionized how the small-ball lineup is played—especially that he coaches two of the best shooters in the game.

Golden State will look to contend once again now that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are fully healthy.

2. Monty Williams

We saw the Monty Williams effect as soon as he took over as head coach for the Suns. In just two seasons, he transformed a lottery team into a championship-contending team. Phoenix was a 50-win team last season and reached their first NBA Finals in ten years.

Williams was highly respected by coaches and players in the league. He already developed a great relationship with one of the best point guards in the NBA, Chris Paul, before in New Orleans.

Now wiser, the Suns will look to contend once again this season.

1. Erik Spoelstra

Erik Spoelstra has been the definition of consistency throughout his head coaching years.

Under his tutelage, the Heat have made every single postseason since 2008 except for just three seasons. He already won back-to-back championships during the Big Three era in Miami.

But even without that much talent on the roster, Spoelstra can lead his team deep in the playoffs. We witnessed this in the 2020 NBA Finals as no one expected the Heat to upset the Bucks and reach the Finals.

Now with a much more improved roster, Spoelstra can finally prove that he’s the best coach in the NBA right now.

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About Jeremy Mallari 91 Articles
Jeremy lives and breathes basketball. He's an avid NBA fan for almost a decade now.

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