TSL Top 5 Black NBA Coaches | With More Than Half Of NBA Coaches African-American, This List Is Serious

Top 5 Black NBA Coaches
(Photos: Getty Images)

Sixteen of the NBA’s 30 head coaching positions are held by Black men. That’s 53 percent and by far the highest percentage of any of the other major professional sports leagues. We have NBA champions, perennial playoffs, second-chance guys and young guns.

But who are the best of this group, thereby among the best in the entire league?

No. 5. Mike Brown, Sacramento Kings

The Kings are poised to finish above .500 and make their first playoff appearance in 16 seasons. That alone gets Brown on this list.

A perennial dumpster fire franchise. Brown has infused them with a little bit of that magic he acquired while in Golden State with the Warriors during their dynastic run.

The Kings have the fifth-best offense in the league and Brown has them playing with pace and movement. They are fourth in pace and first with the quickest offensive possession length in the league.

No. 4. Joe Mazzulla, Boston Celtics

Right off the bat, choosing a top five is extremely difficult. There are 11 coaches that won’t make the cut, and they are all good to varying degrees, but we are weighting this season heavily.

Taking over your first NBA head coaching job on the eve of training camp due to a scandal involving your boss, the former head coach Ime Udoka, is not the easiest thing to do. But Mazzulla has made it to the halfway mark with a team that looks poised to return to the NBA Finals.

They are atop the league in aNET rating and aORTG. The defense has also gotten back inside the top 10. Yes, it helps having a veteran squad led by MVP candidate Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. But those guys had to buy in to a new coach and message on the fly, and Mazzulla did that.

No. 3. Willie Green, New Orleans Pelicans

Last year’s run through the play-in tournament and a very competitive six-game series against the Phoenix Suns was no fluke. Green is a leader of men and is getting this year’s team to believe they can do more than just make the playoffs.

All-Star Brandon Ingram has been out of the lineup due to injury and budding superstar Zion Williamson is now out for at least three weeks, but the Pelicans continue to find ways to win.

They are third in the Western Conference with a statistical profile that suggests a deep playoff run. Fifth in aNET rating, eighth in aORTG, and fifth in aDRTG.

No. 2. J.B. Bickerstaff, Cleveland Cavaliers 

When LeBron James left for Los Angeles in 2018 things were bleak in Cleveland. Two consecutive 19-win seasons, followed by a 22-win season in 2020-21. Bickerstaff was a part of the staff for the second 19-win season and was head coach for the 22-win season. Then last year the Cavs made a leap and won 44 games with a tribe of young up-and-coming ballers under Bickerstaff.

The Cavaliers franchise is giving a clinic on team construction from the bottom up. They have developed players Darius Garland and Evan Mobley and traded for defensive stalwart Jarrett Allen and superstar Donovan Mitchell. The Cavaliers are on pace to win 49-50 games this year.

Th Cavs are second in aNET rating, 10th in aORTG, and second in aDRTG. Bickerstaff deserves a lot of credit.

No. 1. Jacque Vaughn, Brooklyn Nets  

Vaughn was last a head coach from 2012-15 of the Orlando Magic. Since then, he has been with the Nets organization as an assistant and interim head coach twice, until he was named permanent head coach on Nov. 9 (he was named interim on Nov. 1 after Steve Nash was fired).

Nets Governor Joe Tsai Being Urged Not To Hire Ime Udoka | With So Much Controversy, Jacque Vaughn Is The Stability They Need Right Now

Since Nov. 1 the Nets are a league best 23-7, including a league best 12-game winning streak. They are second in offense during that span, fourth in defense and first in net rating.

Vaughn is holding every player accountable, and they have bought in. His two superstars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, are now 100 percent focused on hoops.

On Nov. 15 when they gave up 153 points to the Sacramento Kings and dropped to 6-9 we were calling for them to blow it up. Vaughn and the Nets remained patient, and they’ve been rewarded.