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Greatness doesn't carry over from court to bench...

marcusfizer21
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Greatness doesn't carry over from court to bench...

Charley Rosen: good post my man... I gotta let my guys at NBADraft.net read about this...

Taking a look at the NBA's current coaches, plus undergoing a cursory investigation of the most prominent names on the league's all-time coaching roster, leads to an interesting conclusion: Very few great players turn into great coaches.

Before investigating the reasons why this is so, here's a completely subjective rating of some notable All-Star caliber NBA players and their subsequent coaching careers.

Great players who became great coaches
Bill Sharman: He led the 1971-72 Lakers to a record 33 consecutive wins and an NBA title. He also coached the Golden State Warriors into the Finals. Best of all, he managed to convince Wilt Chamberlain to play a team-oriented game. He's perhaps the most underrated NBA coach ever.

Lenny Wilkens: He was never comfortable with rookies but always got the best out of his veteran players — except in New York.

Great players who became good coaches
Larry Bird: He had excellent success on the Pacers' bench even though he didn't like several of his players and wasn't all that crazy about coaching to begin with.

Billy Cunningham: He was a totally inept coach at first but eventually figured things out.

Tommy Heinsohn: He bled Celtic green and briefly resurrected Boston's lapsed Russellian dynasty.

Gene Shue: He specialized in improving the fortunes of bad ball clubs, which is the only reason why he lost so many games.

Great players who became fair-to-middling coaches
Doug Collins: He had no imagination, little interest in defense and his teams never quite reached their potential.

Dolph Schayes: He was too nice a guy to be a good coach.

Rudy Tomjanovich: With the Rockets, he let his best players operate with little or no supervision — fortunately they were mostly good citizens. With the Lakers, his laissez-faire attitude was ruinous.

Jerry West: His manic perfectionism made his players too nervous to play at their best.

Paul Westphal: He couldn't deal with "problem" players

Great players who became bad coaches
Elgin Baylor: Since he never played defense, he was incapable of teaching his players how to defend.

Magic Johnson found coaching lesser players frustrating. (Al Bello / Getty Images)

Mo Cheeks: He lacked even a semblance of the charisma necessary to get his players to follow his directions.

Bob Cousy: He let Tiny Archibald run amok and did little else.

Dave Cowens: His free-spirited private life was more important to him than coaching.

Magic Johnson: He couldn't believe that the players he coached refused to work as hard as he had.

Dan Issel: He wasn't an effective communicator.

Willis Reed: Nobody he either played with or coached fully respected his expertise.

Bill Russell: He was a good coach only when he coached himself. In Seattle, his overbearing arrogance prompted him to tell his players what cars to drive, what women to date and what clothes to wear. Needless to say, few of the Sonics could relate to him.

Isiah Thomas: While he could fool the media (until he got to New York), he could never fool his players.

Wes Unseld: Another nice guy who failed in a ruthless business.

In contrast to the above, here's how several notable role players fared as coaches.

Role players who became great coaches
Alex Hannum: He took no guff from anybody. He even managed to force Wilt Chamberlain into submission by physically threatening the big fellow. The sheer force of Hannum's personality compelled his players to accept his leadership.

Red Holzman: He respected and trusted his players, and they reciprocated.

Who would have guessed that this guy would win 10 titles as a coach? (Dick Raphael / Getty Images)

Phil Jackson: He went from being the Knicks' sixth man to the best NBA coach ever.

Nate McMillan: It's been his way or the highway.

Pat Riley: He specialized in adjusting his personal game plan to suit the specific skills of his players. In addition, all of his teams were always meticulously well prepared for every game they played.

Jerry Sloan: He's a feisty, disciplined player and coach whose teams reflect his personality.

Role players who became good coaches
Rick Adelman: He knows his Xs and Os as well as anybody.

Al Attles: He could defeat any of his peers in hand-to-hand combat, both as a player and as a coach. He used this threat to good advantage.

K.C. Jones: He was the epitome of a quiet, inspirational leader.

Kevin Loughery: He was perhaps the best practice coach in NBA history.

Doc Rivers: His most important talent is creating and encouraging team-oriented goals.

Paul Silas: His basic coaching tools were dignity, patience and honesty.

Role players who became fair-to-middling coaches
Don Chaney: He could quietly motivate good players, a tactic that didn't work with lesser players.

Eddie Jordan: He was too committed to a Princetonian offense.

George Karl: He plays too many head-games with his players.

Sam Mitchell: He knew the game but was much too confrontational.

Don Nelson: His Gargantuan ego gets in the way.

Scott Skiles: He's more intense on the bench than most of his players are on the court.

Mike Woodson: He has done a terrific job with a severely flawed ball club.

Role player who became a bad coach
Mike Dunleavy: His paranoia gets in the way.

Why, then, have there been more role players who make the grade as coaches?

Because, in order to merely compete:

They had to learn all of the subtle, detailed aspects of the game.

They understood the necessities of discipline, preparation, teamwork and unselfishness.

Since they could rarely overpower a game, they learned how (and why) to let the game come to them.

They practiced hard and never took shortcuts.

They had to develop their off-the-ball game.

They valued the contributions of role players.

Their psyches weren't overwhelmed or unduly influenced by the star syndrome.
And why have so many great players failed when they moved to the bench?

Because they were good enough to simply out-talent so many of their contemporaries while their knowledge of the game was relatively shallow.

They expected their players to be able to do the things they were able to do.

They expected their players to completely follow their orders simply because they themselves were such transcendent players.

Players had to come to them and not the other way around.

Humility and admitting mistakes were not part of their game plan.
As the player played, so shall he coach.

Now... my question is, among the NBA players today, who do you think has a shot to be a great coach in the future?


Michael.S.
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Eric

Eric Snow.............retired but ehhh.

Derrick Fisher also

DChump
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Too long man. Who's going to

Too long man. Who's going to spend 3 hours trying to read all that

The lake show2
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lol..thats why i just

lol..thats why i just skimmed through it.....but id say bruce bowen,chauncy billups,shane battier

uneik1
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Billups, Bowen and Fisher

Billups, Bowen and Fisher are good picks that were already mentioned.

I think Andre Miler, Kurt Thomas and maybe Luke Walton(but too early to tell)

OrangeJuiceJones
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I want Bill Walton to come

I want Bill Walton to come back as a big man coach.

nepaliman_7
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what about byron scott? he

what about byron scott? he was a role player for the lakers but has been a pretty good coach in new jersey and new orleans

OrangeJuiceJones
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As for today's players who

As for today's players who were not already mentioned: Lindsey Hunter, Kirk Hinrich, Jeff Foster, Raja Bell

sakuragi84
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what about avery johnson?

what about avery johnson?

BasketballGuru24
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I see kobe bryant being a

I see kobe bryant being a great coach......he has a passion for the game like no other. He makes his teammates better even if it doesn't show as an assist. Also he has been coached by the greatest coach of all-time for quite a while, he can get some tips and pointers.......he will be a pretty good coach.

QHaynes20
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I think the best coaches and

I think the best coaches and GM's are more likely role players to solid starters in the NBA.

Hale
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Kobe wouldn't be a good

Kobe wouldn't be a good coach. For the same reason as Magic.

llperez
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I wonder what Kobe will do

I wonder what Kobe will do after retirement. He might just ride off into the sunset and be private. But he's such a competitor that I could see him wanting to stay in basketball. I think if he coached, it might be more likely he did it at the college level. I just have a hard time seeing him deal with any ego's either while working his way up the assisitant ranks or from players once he was the head coach. College players would listen to him and he wouldn't have to work his way up the coaching ranks, he would be given an immediate head coaching spot from somewhere.

Michael.S.
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he's playing ball till he's

he's playing ball till he's in a wheel-chair
haha

marcusfizer21
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J-Kidd

I think Jason Kidd can make a great coach... I remember a poll in NBA.com of who do they think would have a great career in coaching, 62% voted for Kidd... I think it showed during the 2008 Olympics... He was really an extension of Coach K in the court... He is a player that really doesn't care about the points and he can dominate a game without ever scoring one... Guys like Kobe, LBJ, DWade can dominate or take control of the game by scoring... JKidd simply puts his positive presence on the court and things do happen even if he is not the one doing the scoring... His court vision is something everyone wants to have but unfortunately only few gained... His experiences as a player can definitely help him have a great coaching career...

JNixon
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I could see Luke Walton

I could see Luke Walton becoming a coach. He has a very high basketball IQ. But I think Mike Bibby could be a fantastic coach when his career is over.

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