Top Five Candidates For NBA Coach of the Year 2024

In the best basketball league in the world with superstar talents like Nikola Jokić, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant it would be easy to think coaching doesn’t matter. Yet every year we see that it does. Whether it’s the ability to adjust and come up with a new scheme or navigating the omnipresent storm that is the course of a season, coaching matters. 

Here are the top candidates heading into the season.

5. Frank Vogel, Phoenix Suns

Coaches with superstar-laden rosters never get credit for the team’s success. Such is life. But this Suns team is an interesting one. They have an identity offensively and will largely play the same way they did last season. But if this is somehow a top-10 defense, Vogel will get a lot of credit. 

Particularly if he’s able to reach big man Deandre Ayton in a way no other coach has been able to. 

4. Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

Widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the league, if not the best. He’s only won the award once, in 2017 when he was named Co-Coach of the Year. Like all awards, they are regular-season-based, and the Heat pace themselves ahead of the playoffs. But you cannot deny Spoelstra’s tactical brilliance, pragmatism, and his ability to know exactly what the team needs. 

If the Heat land Damian Lillard they will win a bunch more regular season games than they normally do, and that would push Spoelstra over the top in voting. 

3. Rick Carlisle, Indiana Pacers

He won the award in 2002 as head coach of the Detroit Pistons. He’s held in high esteem by his peers and many in the media. This Pacers team is young and is led by All-Star Tyrese Haliburton, who can make the jump to All-NBA status. 

Carlisle’s defensive schemes will feature guards like Bruce Brown and Andrew Nembhard. The Pacers finished 11th last season and below .500. If they finish above .500 and make the play-in, Carlisle will be a finalist. If they manage to get the No. 6 seed and avoid the play-in he could win it. 

2. Mark Daigneault, Oklahoma City Thunder

Last year’s runner-up led the Thunder to a surprise play-in appearance. This year the Thunder will be a top-6 seed. The Thunder run good action on offense and play connected defense. They ranked 12th last season in aDRTG. 

As long as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is healthy, wing Jalen Williams continues to ascend, big Jaylin Williams develops and Josh Giddey and Chet Holmgren also develop, this team will be good. 

1. J.B. Bickerstaff, Cleveland Cavaliers  

What Bickerstaff has done in Cleveland has been incredible. The franchise was left for dead after LeBron James left and went to Los Angeles. Slowly GM Koby Altman rebuilt the draft cupboard and found the right coach to create the culture they wanted. 

Two seasons ago the Cavaliers were ninth and made the play-in. Last season they finished fourth and made the playoffs. They finished second in the league in aNET rating. If they crack the top three this season Bickerstaff will be hard to deny. 

Back to top