Many of the NBA head coaches we see today are former players. The likes of Steve Nash, Doc Rivers and Steve Kerr have all taken to the court as players back in the day. Having played themselves, they understand the game and the struggles that come with it better than anyone.
Many players end their careers by becoming coaches or assistant coaches. A number of NBA savants have become versions of coaches themselves, running the floor and setting up teammates.
5 active NBA players who could become great coaches someday
A head coach must ideally be humble and inspiring. He should be able to deal with star athletes and develop young players all while studying the game to make his team better.
Analyzing all those qualities makes you wonder who in the current NBA would possibly make a great coach someday.
Here is a list of 5 active NBA players who have what it takes to become great coaches someday.
#5 Stephen Curry
Most people would not have Stephen Curry on their list of potential coaches, but he makes a strong case for it.
The Golden State Warriors superstar is a 12-year NBA veteran who is one of the finest players of this generation. He is not only regarded as the greatest shooter ever but is also credited with changing the way the game is approached and studied. If he ever decides to coach players, you can be sure that he will get their respect.
Both offensive and defensive strategies in the NBA changed in a few years because of Curry's ability to shoot the ball. He has a highlight reel filled with pretty dimes, and his no-look or behind-the-back passes are a sight to behold.
Steph Curry doesn't get enough credit for letting Kevin Durant join his established team in 2016 and even acknowledging that the latter is the better player. Not many players would agree to be the second man on their own team. At the time, the Golden State Warriors were a team that the two-time MVP built from the ground up.
The 33-year-old knows how to deal with pressure and how to perform in clutch situations, having won titles, faced Game 7s, broken records and won 73 games in a season.
Stephen Curry has no controversies or scandals and is one of the most humble and loyal superstars in the league. He has the respect of his peers and has inspired a generation of young athletes all around the world with his game.
Curry has all the qualities needed to become a great NBA coach. If he ever decides to become one, the team he coaches would be incredibly lucky.
#4 Draymond Green
Considered a basketball genius, Draymond Green is one of the finest point-forwards of this era. He is a player that his teammates trust with the ball as he almost always makes the right decision.
Despite having teammates like Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and formerly Kevin Durant, the prettiest pass would still always come from Draymond Green. His ability to find an open man and run an offensive play is exquisite.
In addition to being a solid playmaker, Green is known as the Golden State Warriors' heart and soul. He is the main voice in the locker room and is the first person to point out the flaws in a teammate's game. He reportedly mentors and trains young players while also drawing up defensive strategies for the team.
Draymond Green is also one of the best defenders in the NBA. It's not just because he can lock up a player; he is one of the most defensively aware players in the league.
Green's playmaking prowess, defensive awareness and leadership qualities are one of a kind, and he would make an excellent NBA coach.
#3 Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo is one of the smartest players in basketball. He is the closest to becoming an NBA coach as he is 35 years old and could retire anytime soon. He is a two-time champion with the Boston Celtics and LA Lakers and has played alongside some of the finest players in the association.
Rondo is often regarded as "the coach on the floor" as he has a pass-first attitude. He gets called to coaching meetings and is often drawing up plays for the team.
Rajon Rondo was one of the most important players in the 2020 NBA Finals, as his veteran experience and assists helped the LA Lakers get their 17th title.
In 2019, Rajon Rondo spoke to Sam Amick of The Athletic about his love for the game and how he learns from his coaches. He said:
“If you can talk to (LeBron as the coach), you can talk to anybody. (Vogel’s) delivery, his communication, is great. That’s what I think I’m learning (about) for my future, if I want to go that route. I take notes every day. I’m trying to learn from coach. Sometimes I’ll write them down. Sometimes I’ll take a picture of the scouting report, what his philosophy is before the game and take a couple things I love about what he does and just continue to grow as a player.”
Rajon Rondo admitted to taking pictures of the scouting reports and writing down notes. He was apparently offered a coaching role by coach Vogel last year.
Former teammates and coaches will all attest to Rondo's hunger to learn and study the game as he intends to become a coach one day.
#2 Chris Paul
A 10-time All-star with 8 All-NBA selections and 9 All-Defensive selections, Chris Paul is a basketball virtuoso. He elevates those around him constantly, and his pass-first attitude is what makes him a playmaking genius.
Last season, the analysts gave the OKC Thunder a 0.2% chance of making the playoffs. However, Chris Paul led a young and hapless squad not only to the postseason but also to the 5th seed in the tough Western Conference. He was the only All-Star on the team and was also 34 years old as he led the team in most categories.
Chris Paul, also known as 'CP3', is also a beast defensively. He holds the NBA record for the most steals titles, with six, and is also fifth all-time in-box +/-.
Paul makes an immediate impact when he is on the floor as he is the quintessential point guard, who is always putting his teammates first.
CP3 has made the "Top Point Guards" rankings almost every year in the past decade, and his talents are invaluable.
Chris Paul has taken the formerly lottery-seeded Phoenix Suns to the 2nd seed in the Western Conference this season. He has also improved the touches and overall performances of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
With a career average of 9.4 assists per game, the four-time assist leader will certainly be an incredible coach once his playing days are over.
#1 LeBron James
LeBron James is one of the smartest minds in basketball and is widely regarded as the greatest player of this generation.
Former coaches and players have called him a basketball savant, and it is often said that he is two to three steps ahead of the opposition. He draws up plays, executes strategies and does almost everything for the team on the court.
LeBron James has faced scrutiny and pressure even before his NBA debut. However, he has not only met everyone's expectations but has far exceeded them.
The 36-year-old knows all about carrying a team to the promised land. He has the most playoff buzzer-beaters in league history and the most playoff points ever.
King James has led the Cleveland Cavaliers, the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals and has made the final stage of the competition a whopping 10 times in his career.
LeBron James has four league MVPs, four Finals MVPs and several other accolades. His basketball IQ is off the charts, and he approaches the game in a way that no other player does.
Even a self-proclaimed LeBron skeptic like NBA analyst Skip Bayless cannot deny James' basketball IQ. Bayless said:
"As I say over and over on this show, LeBron James has the highest IQ in basketball, and to me, in making off the court career decisions, no athlete has ever been smarter longer than LeBron."
LeBron James would certainly be one of the greatest coaches in the NBA if he ever decides to become one.