Where does Nick Nurse rank among NBA coaches?

Toronto Raptors - Nick Nurse (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Nick Nurse (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Mike Budenholzer (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The “Right Place, Right Time” Tier:

  • Brad Stevens – Boston Celtics
  • Kenny Atkinson – Brooklyn Nets
  • Mike Malone – Denver Nuggets
  • Mike D’Antoni – Houston Rockets
  • Mike Budenholzer – Milwaukee Bucks
  • Brett Brown – Philadelphia 76ers
  • Terry Stotts – Portland Trail Blazers
  • Quin Snyder – Utah Jazz

As much as I could breakdown these NBA coaches and how they fit into this tier, I wanted to first rename this tier to the “Tyronn Lue” tier.

That isn’t to disparage Lue’s name or his work. After all, he is an NBA Champion head coach. But, he certainly got handed the keys to a Ferrari rather than an ’85 Nissan Sentra with no power steering, manual windows, and a gas gauge that seemingly stopped working 75 miles ago.

These coaches were all handed pieces to a contender. For Atkinson, D’antoni, Budenholzer, Brown, Stotts, and Snyder it was exemplary players that made their system work even better than imagined. For Malone and Stevens, they have teams that are constructed well and suitable for today’s game.

Simultaneously, these coaches didn’t make glaring mistakes. They’ve coached well–perhaps coached better than others–and are attempting to win a championship with a balance of their skills and superstardom. A very tall task for any coach, but an achievable task for this tier nevertheless.