A look at the nine new coaches in the NBA entering the 2014-15 season, and ranking them in order of who has the toughest gig to who has the best.
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9. Byron Scott, Lakers
This is the position Scott always wanted, and now on his fourth coaching job, he finally returns to the team for which he once starred during the Magic Johnson-led Showtime era. But what he is returning to is a whole lot of uncertainty, particularly regarding resident superstar Kobe Bryant. Aside from Bryant's age and recent major-injury history, the Lakers have a whole lot of guys who don't really get stops defensively. This is a pressure-filled job with perhaps the league's widest and most vocal fan base. And a team that's not built to win big right away. Good luck, Byron.
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8. Jason Kidd, Bucks
Kidd finally seemed to stabilize and begin to prove himself as a coach toward the end of his first season with the Nets, then things got weird again. How he ended up in Milwaukee is still somewhat of a mystery, still seems somewhat surreal. And nothing quite like ticking off the people of Brooklyn. Mostly, though, the Bucks have a young roster that is a few years away. No. 2 overall draft pick Jabari Parker and the gang could probably use a veteran, secure coach. Right now, Kidd looks like anything but.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsBrad Penner
7. Flip Saunders, Timberwolves
To Love or not to Love, that is the question. Actually, it appears that there's no way star forward Kevin Love returns to the Timberwolves for the upcoming season. So the real question becomes what Saunders can receive in return. He's hoping for No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins from the Cavs. Saunders is also the president of the Wolves, so it's largely up to him what they receive in return for Love. Either way, he appears to be taking over a team that will have to spend the entire season finding its way.
6. Stan Van Gundy, Pistons
Van Gundy is also in charge of the basketball operations, and as of Thursday, his biggest offseason acquisitions have been guards Jodie Meeks and D.J. Augustin. Big man Greg Monroe, meanwhile, remains unsigned. Van Gundy will certainly get the most of this bunch, and with the likes of Brandon Jennings, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith, things could probably be worse as far as individual talent goes. But unless the chemistry issues are resolved, Van Gundy may find himself longing for the days of Dwight Howard free-agency madness in Orlando.
5. Lionel Hollins, Nets
After all the offseason madness, the Nets should be thrilled. They essentially replaced a coach with no experience who was learning on the fly (Jason Kidd) with a guy who led a team to the Western Conference Finals two seasons ago before getting canned (Hollins). Truth is, Hollins should've been the Nets' hire last summer. No matter, he's in Brooklyn now, and the things at the very least will be more professional. For instance, you won't see Hollins needing to spill a drink to force a timeout. But aside from Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and maybe Brook Lopez, the overall roster remains iffy.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
4. Quin Snyder, Jazz
Expectations are low again in Utah, and that should only help Snyder as the youth develops. The Jazz can be patient while installing Snyder's philosophy and the front-office's plan. Really, that's all any coach ever wants -- some time to teach. Snyder was an assistant under Mike Budenholzer with the Hawks last season, and folks around the league are lauding the Jazz's hire. Snyder is viewed as a strong communicator and fair leader whose teams move the ball and take good shots. In Utah, he should be able to run things as he wants minus all the scrutiny.
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3. Derek Fisher, Knicks
It's true Fisher is a first-time coach in the league's largest market. But it's also true Fisher acted as a coach on the floor for his entire 18-year career. It's also true Fisher knows what team president Phil Jackson wants, and that's the Triangle offense. Fisher is plenty familiar with Jackson, with the Triangle, and with how to play the game and get along with teammates. The Knicks also have a true star in Carmelo Anthony. That's the good news. The bad? The Knicks don't have a whole lot else. So this truly is dependent on the coach.
2. Steve Kerr, Warriors
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee and a winning program are nice places to start if you're a first-time coach. So Kerr has that much going for him already. He also has a mild-mannered and calming personality that enabled him to win friends and influence people during his time as a general manager in Phoenix. On top of that, Kerr is one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history, which gives him a pretty good idea of how Curry and Thompson approach the game. There certainly will be a learning curve, but right now, this looks like all rainbows and unicorns.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY SportsKyle Terada
1. David Blatt, Cavaliers
One of the most intriguing hires in league history became more intriguing when you consider Blatt and the Cavs landed LeBron James. That tends to make a coach's transition, like, a lot easier. Blatt was successful overseas but admittedly will have to make some adjustments in the NBA. It's a longer game and faster game than he's coached recently, and there are more games to boot. But along with James and Kyrie Irving, it seems as if the Cavs will also soon have Kevin Love. Blatt's job? Get everyone enough shots, which is his specialty. Other than that? Well, just don't blow it.