NBA head coaches are the ones that manage the game on the court and off it.
They are able to curate plays out of timeouts and also help build team chemistry.
Coaches of today are in some cases on borrowed time.
We have seen four head coaches within the last six years win a title their first year coaching the team.
The other two were Steve Kerr, who won in his first season as head coach back in 2015.
Some may think head coaches don’t truly matter.
However, that is not the case.
The Golden State Warriors made the switch from Mark Jackson to Kerr, and that brought a championship.
The same exact scenario happened with the Toronto Raptors moving on from Dwane Casey to Nick Nurse.
Look at how different the Philadelphia 76ers look this season with Doc Rivers instead of Brett Brown.
Head coaching matters, which is why these two men deserve long-term extensions for their work this season.
2. Taylor Jenkins, Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies are a very young team.
Some of their best players have not been in the league for a long period of time.
Ja Morant is the man on this team and it is only his second season in the NBA.
Despite having a young roster and not one All-Star among them, the Grizzlies are still in the playoffs.
In fact, they took Game 1 from the one-seeded Utah Jazz.
GRIZZLIES STEAL GAME 1 VS. JAZZ 🔥
Dillon Brooks: 31 PTS, 7 REB
Ja Morant: 26 PTS, 11-20 FG pic.twitter.com/fMWEdGKZ20
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 24, 2021
They are fighters in every sense of the word.
The credit should be bestowed onto their head coach, Taylor Jenkins.
For two straight seasons, Jenkins has put this team in the best position to win games.
Last season, they were two games away from making the playoffs.
Now this year they had to beat two teams to get into the playoffs, which they ended up accomplishing.
This Grizzlies team is coached extremely well.
Coach Jenkins has found the ability to play young guys in big pressure moments and win games.
You hardly ever see a rookie like Desmond Bane hitting clutch shots.
Give that man Jenkins an extension.
1. Nate McMillan, Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks came into this NBA season with somewhat high expectations.
They were looked at as a team that should definitely make the postseason.
However, that didn’t look likely in the beginning of the season.
Under former head coach Lloyd Pierce, the Hawks were 14-20.
They looked flat and disengaged.
That all changed when the front office decided to fire Pierce, and promote Nate McMillan.
Coach McMillan took the Hawks from bad to good very quickly.
They finished 27-11 under McMillan and finished fifth in the Eastern Conference.
"There's strong momentum toward the Hawks making Nate McMillan their permanent head coach."
— Stadium (@Stadium) May 21, 2021
Now they are in the playoffs tied 1-1 with the New York Knicks.
Nobody saw this coming when the first few weeks of the season passed.
Now under McMillan, the Hawks are a threat to make it out the first round.
Coach McMillan deserves that interim tag to be removed and to get an extension with the franchise.