The NBA season is in full swing and there have been quite a few surprises so far.
We have been shocked to see some teams do incredibly well – better than expected, in fact – and some teams flounder and fall apart.
There is still a lot of the season left and much can change but we have gotten a good look at the most impressive, powerful coaches in the league too.
These are the guys who are leading their teams to new heights, some despite major odds stacked against them.
We are getting a clearer and clearer image of the race for NBA coach of the year and there are a few familiar names on the shortlist.
1. J.B. Bickerstaff (Cleveland Cavaliers)
After years of suffering towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers are legitimately good again.
A lot of that has to do with the players, of course, but a lot of it also has to do with the coach: J.B. Bickerstaff.
Bickerstaff has a roster of young talent, looking to be molded into future All-Stars.
That is exactly what Bickerstaff is doing.
Under his leadership, the Cavs have eight players who are averaging double-digit figures nightly.
Darius Garland is one of the best shooters in the NBA. Always a threat to drain it when he’s coming off a screen, JB Bickerstaff draws up these kinda plays quite often for inbounds sets and I love it. pic.twitter.com/h3FTcnMxnl
— Brayden Todd (@BraydenBallin) December 16, 2021
Bickerstaff has turned the team into an actual unit that works very well together like a well-oiled machine.
Now the only question is just how far this spry, excited squad can go.
2. Billy Donovan (Chicago Bulls)
The Chicago Bulls are the second-best team in the Eastern Conference and, for the first time in a long time, have a good shot at actually making the NBA Finals.
The team is dominant on both sides of the court and has multiple players who are worthy of being All-Stars.
In fact, the team’s leader, DeMar DeRozan, is playing the best ball of his career and is a possible MVP winner.
Coach Billy Donovan has turned the team into a laser-focused, dedicated and determined group that actually believes in itself.
Their track record (19-10) is remarkable, especially when you realize many of these guys weren’t playing with one another last season.
It’s all coming together for the Bulls and Donovan should definitely be praised for the work he’s done.
3. Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors)
Now, it’s not surprising to see Steve Kerr on this list but it’s surprising to see him as such as an odds-on favorite.
Everyone had a feeling the Golden State Warriors were going to be a lot better this year, with Stephen Curry feeling even healthier, Klay Thompson eventually returning, and the young players on the roster more experienced.
But most assumed the Warriors would be battling for maybe third or fourth spot in the standings, battling for position against the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, or maybe the Dallas Mavericks.
Today, Steve Kerr was officially announced as Team USA men’s basketball head coach.
His legendary resume continues to grow 📈 pic.twitter.com/u1J1PrNQGc
— ESPN (@espn) December 20, 2021
The fact that the team is neck-and-neck with the Suns for the top of the charts is very impressive and shows just how ready to lead Kerr always is.
No matter the line-up, no matter the competitor, Kerr knows how to make his team function at the top of their games.
The Warriors are once again an incredible NBA team, perhaps the best in the entire league, and a large part of that is due to Kerr’s terrific understanding of what works with his roster of players.