There's no question that the NBA is a star-driven league, and the teams with the highest quantity of top-tier players are the ones occupying the spots at the top of the standings.
But coaches matter to a great degree, and even more so when the pieces on the roster don't seem to be a natural fit. Here's a look at the job every team's head coach has done to this point of the 2017 season, from the bottom of the standings all the way to the top.
Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn Nets: Incomplete
How can you possibly grade a first-year head coach in charge of a random collection of no-name talent that's a league-worst 9-42 on the season? You can't, and we won't.
Getty ImagesMaddie Meyer
Earl Watson, Phoenix Suns: B-
Watson has done an excellent job installing the right culture in Phoenix, which is essential for a franchise that's struggled to find an identity and will likely miss the playoffs for a seventh straight season. The roster is a tough mix of veterans and young players in need of minutes to develop, but there remains a question of whether he can get his guys to play team defense for more than just a few possessions on any given night.
Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers: B
Walton is starting from scratch and is developing his young talent the right way, while installing the necessary beliefs that may one day result in the team's return to glory. But a ridiculous 49-point loss to the Mavericks that was the worst in franchise history means there's still a ton of work to be done.
Brett Brown, Philadelphia 76ers: A
Brown has been handed a substandard roster for years as Philadelphia decided to Trust The Process, but now that he finally has a decent collection of healthy young talent, the wins are beginning to come.
Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota Timberwolves: C-
We have no doubt that Thibodeau will eventually put together a winning team in Minnesota, but even he'd probably tell you that the Timberwolves are taking longer than expected to adapt to his teachings.
Frank Vogel, Orlando Magic: C-
Vogel is an excellent head coach but was handed a relatively random roster in his first season in Orlando, and the results reflect that just past the halfway point of the season.
Carlisle has been one of the league's best coaches for several years and has proven it again this season by making a group of guys you've mostly never heard of more competitive than expected.
Dave Joerger, Sacramento Kings: C
Joerger gets a solid C mainly because we're not sure whether the dysfunctional Kings should be better or worse than they are.
Jeff Hornacek, New York Knicks: C
Coaching in New York is a minefield to be sure, and Hornacek has navigated it as well as anyone. From constant injury issues to the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors, he's pushing all the right buttons even if the results have been lackluster.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY SportsJasen Vinlove
Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat: A
The Heat have won 11 in a row, with guys like Rodney McGruder and Luke Babbitt in the starting lineup. Any questions?
Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers: B-
It's not the coach's fault that the offseason acquisitions of Festus Ezeli and Evan Turner haven't worked out as expected. But the Blazers are underachieving, even if only slightly -- and the blame has to fall somewhere.
Jason Kidd, Milwaukee Bucks: B+
We're not sure that this season by itself earns Kidd such a high grade, but the fact that he unleashed point guard Giannis on the league deserves some serious recognition.
Steve Clifford, Charlotte Hornets: B-
The Hornets are 23-28, a half-game out of the final playoff spot in the East. Glass half-full approach? Kemba Walker is an All-Star for the first time in his career. Clifford is doing what he can.
USA TODAY SportsJeremy Brevard
Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets: B
Malone is doing just fine and has adjusted to the fact that Nikola Jokic needs as many minutes as possible.
Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons: B
Van Gundy will be the first to tell you that he isn't doing the greatest job this season, as he's done on more than one occasion. But he has high standards for himself and remains one of the most solid head coaches in the league.
Fred Hoiberg, Chicago Bulls: D-
Hoiberg has no control of the locker room for the second straight season and fails to exert command over his players in any meaningful way. We've had players-only meetings, benchings and fines -- none of which should be necessary if any sort of clear communicaion exists.
Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City Thunder: B
Turning Russell Westbrook loose in the wake of Kevin Durant's departure was clearly the right decision.
Nate McMillan, Indiana Pacers: C
McMillan stepped into the head coach's chair after being an assistant last season and had to integrate new players alongside Paul George in the first half of the season. The Pacers are finally turning the corner, though that might be more about George's improved play than it is about the way the team has been coached.
Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta Hawks: C+
The Hawks lost key players in each of the past two offseasons and started off extremely slowly this year. They're 30-22, good enough at the moment for the fifth seed in the East. But does anyone belive this team can do real damage in the postseason?
David Fizdale, Memphis Grizzlies: B+
Fizdale managed to get Zach Randolph to accept a new role coming off the bench and has kept the Grit-N-Grind culture alive and well at the very same time.
Scott Brooks, Washington Wizards: B+
Success hasn't come quickly, but it's here now and Brooks deserves a ton of the credit for making things work. Washington had won 17 straight at home before Monday's epic overtime loss to the Cavaliers, and the Wizards appear to finally be on track despite the early-season setback.
Doc Rivers, L.A. Clippers: C-
It's not Rivers' fault that the Clippers have been facing injury issues, but the poor example he's set with the referees has trickled down to his players to the point where they seem to be targeted on a nightly basis.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsBrad Penner
Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors: A
Casey has gotten the maximum amount of production out of his Raptors teams, and it's not his fault that they simply don't have the talent required to take down the Cavaliers in a seven-game series.
Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz: A
Snyder has managed to secure victories even with guys like George Hill (pictured) and Gordon Hayward out of the lineup for extended stretches.
Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics: A
Stevens has done exactly what he was hired to do, which was to create a winning culture in Boston and a hard-working attitude among his players. It doesn't hurt that Isaiah Thomas has been playing at an MVP level this season, and at least some of that can be credited back to Stevens.
Mike D'Antoni, Houston Rockets: A+
D'Antoni has fully unleashed the powers of James Harden and is ultimately responsible for having his star player in the MVP conversation. D'Antoni moved Harden from shooting guard to point guard, and his offensive numbers have largely stayed the same -- except now, he's leading the league in assists.
NBAE/Getty ImagesFernando Medina
Ty Lue, Cleveland Cavaliers: B+
When you are tasked with managing the game's best player, your performance is judged differently than that of your peers. Lue has masterfully navigated his second season in charge and has had to deal with injuries, distractions and his star player spouting off to the media at the very same time. Despite all of that, the Cavaliers remain the best team in the East.
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs: A
Tim Duncan retired, and yet the Spurs are 39-12, just four games back of the Warriors for the best record in the league. Popovich is the guy every other NBA head coach aspires to be.
Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors: B
Kerr could do a better job of corralling Draymond Green so that he's less of a volatile figure in the grand scheme of things. But other than that, the Warriors have the best record in the league, and Stephen Curry has finally started to find his groove playing alongside Kevin Durant -- which should be a scary sight for the rest of the league.