Grading the Generals: Ranking NBA coaches (vol. 1)

Just more than one month in to the NBA season and there have already been three coaches fired. It started with PJ Carlesimo who deserved to be fired three hundred times over, then Eddie Jordan was prematurely let go and finally Sam Mitchell got the ax, which still boggles my mind.

With all of the firings going on, I figured it would be a good time to give everyone a glimpse of where each coach currently stands. This will be the first of a two-part series that counts down to the best coach in the NBA. This first part will rank the coaches from 30-15.

30. Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City Thunder)
No one knows much about Brooks. He learned under a terrible coach in Carlesimo, which doesn't bode well for his future. He also has to see that terrible logo all over the place, which won't help.

29. Ed Tapscott (Washington Wizards)
Again, no one really knows what he is capable of doing. He has more experience than Brooks and learned under the solid Eddie Jordan. He might develop into a good coach eventually.

28. Terry Porter (Phoenix Suns)
He is just terrible. Like he did in Milwaukee, he is too stubborn to adapt to the players on his roster. He is suffocating the Suns with a slow, half-court offense and losing the trust of his players. I think Porter and Michigan Wolverine coach Rich Rodriguez should be friends.

27. Jay Triano (Toronto Raptors)
A young coach that learned from Sam Mitchell success starts with post scoring and works outside. I have high hopes for Triano and hope to see him in the NBA for a while. After all, he is the first Canadian to ever be head coach of an NBA team. 

26. Reggie Theus (Sacramento Kings)
I like Reggie as a player and he seems like a nice guy, but he just doesn't coach efficiently. The guards throw it up too much and there is never a consistent flow from offense to defense in his gameplan it seems. I nominate John Salmons to be player-coach. He has great basketball IQ.

25. Marc Iavaroni (Memphis Grizzlies) 
He grew up under the tutelage of Mike D' Antoni and you can tell with his great offensive mind. This is only his second year, but he is going to need to realize that pseudo man defense won't work. If he can put it all together, he could become the next D'Antoni. Just not yet.

24. Randy Wittman (Minnesota Timberwolves)
The safest coach in the league. He doesn't take chances so his team won't rise to new heights, but it also won't crash completely. Wittman is a place holder until the Wolves are primed for a savvy, confident coach to lead them deep into the playoffs in a few seasons. 

23. Vinny Del Negro (Chicago Bulls)
Vinny is a player's coach, which is always good for a while, but he needs to make sure he doesn't turn into Flip Saunders. Vinny needs to keep control of the team like he is now and find ways to make teams pay for doubling Derrick Rose. He needs to hold front court accountable too.

22. Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat)
I like this guy's spunk. He learned from a great coach and has gained the respect of his team even though he is young. Right now though, he only knows how to get production out of his stars. I would like to see more five-player oriented sets. 

21. Maurice Cheeks (Philadelphia '76ers)
Has had success in Portland and a little in Philadelphia, but not an elite coach by any stretch. He gets his players to show up every night and put in great effort, but sometimes he loses his gameplan. Anyone who helps a little girl sing the National Anthem is OK with me though.

20. Mike Dunleavy (Los Angeles Clippers)
The most inconsistent coach in the NBA. Every four years or so Dunleavy wakes up and puts together a strong season, but he is far too complacent to be relied on. His experience gets him the 20th slot, but with promising, young coaches on the horizon, he should be done soon.

19. Jim O' Brien (Indiana Pacers)
Only two losing seasons in his coaching career, so that's not bad. In many ways he is an overachiever, because his offensive and defensive styles are nothing special, but he fights for every win. I think of him as the David Eckstein of coaches, you will get more than you pay for.

18. Rick Carlisle (Dallas Mavericks)
Three division championships, but no conference titles. Carlisle's teams are known for staunch defense and good perimeter play. He has never seemed to get a good rotation between his starters and bench, which has led to inevitable losses in the playoffs. 

17. Nate McMillan (Portland Trail Blazers)
Orchestrated a major mid-season turnaround in Seattle and guided the team to a division title, despite average talent. Has helped turn the Jail Blazers to the Trail Blazers and for the first time in his career, has a great roster. Watch him start to shine.

16. Lawrence Frank (New Jersey Nets)
He has only missed the playoffs once and has won two division titles. He looks poised to lead a team expected to finish in the basement to a playoff berth. His teams drive and kick out to shooters with great efficiency and usually are good at crashing the boards. 

15. Michael Curry (Detroit Pistons)
How could a coach who is only 8-4 be 15? Because he is extremely educated both on and off the court, preaches defense and is not afraid to change offensive strategy from game to game. Curry is the most promising of the first year coaches. Should have a LONG career. 

Well that's part one of the my series. Check back tomorrow to see where the final 15 coaches fall.