Can You Match the NBA Coach to Their Current Team?

SPORTS

By: Gavin Thagard

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Bradjward

About This Quiz

NBA teams are built around superstars, but even with all the star power in the world, it takes great coaching to ensure the entire roster is on the same page, from top to bottom, as each player tries to find their role to help a team win. Without this structure, locker rooms can get chaotic and a championship season can easily go down the drain. After all, there's so much talent around the entire league that even small cracks will shine through when the best teams play one another. That's why a coach's job isn't just to draw up schemes and call timeouts. Instead, they have to be able to manage personalities and make sure the entire roster is working toward a common goal.

How familiar are you with the coaches around the NBA who are trying to pull together rosters to get wins? Some of these coaches are leading teams through a rebuilding period, where the priority is player development. Others have the responsibility of guiding a team that fully expects not only to reach the playoffs but win it all. Are you going to be able to match the coach to whatever kind of team they are coaching? If you think so, jump into this quiz and find out if you can lead your way to a victory.

Lloyd Pierce is leading which exciting young team as they try to make it back to the playoffs?

The Atlanta Hawks have several NBA players with star potential for Lloyd Pierce to coach, but much of that revolves around the continued success of Trae Young. After all, Young is on pace to make his first All-Star Game in only his second NBA season, but his individual success hasn't quite translated into wins.

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What team is considered to be in championship contention behind the brilliant mind of Brad Stevens?

After reaching game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018, Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics took a step back in the 2019 NBA Playoffs. Their setbacks were largely related to personality issues on the team that Stevens had a hard time dealing with.

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Two superstars joined which team in the 2019 offseason coached by Kenny Atkinson?

Kenny Atkinson took over the Brooklyn Nets in 2016 after leaving the Atlanta Hawks as an assistant. The Nets struggled his first two seasons in Brooklyn, but they finally reached the playoffs in the 2018-19 season, which was a big reason Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving decided to sign there.

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Do you know the team that decided to go into rebuilding mode with James Borrego leading the way?

Though James Borrego previously served as the interim head coach of the Orlando Magic, the Charlotte Hornets were the first team to actually commit to him longterm in 2018. Borrego barely missed the playoffs in his first season with the Hornets, coaching the team to a 39-43 record.

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Select the team that went out and found plenty of European talent for Rick Carlisle to coach.

Starting his career with the Dallas Mavericks in 2008, Rick Carlisle is one of the longest-tenured head coaches currently in the NBA. His long tenure resulted in a championship in 2011, the only title in Mavericks history.

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Michael Malone is trying to win a title on which team loaded with talent?

Under head coach Michael Malone, the Denver Nuggets finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference in the 2018-19 season. The team pushed through the first round to advance to the Conference Semifinals but lost in game seven to the Portland Trail Blazers.

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Can you identify the team where Steve Kerr has had to deal with a series of injuries?

Steve Kerr inherited a playoff team when he took over the Golden State Warriors in 2014, but he immediately turned them into a championship contender, even winning a title during his first season in Golden State. He went on to advance to four more Finals, winning two of them.

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Are you able to name the team that pushes the pace behind the philosophy of Mike D'Antoni?

With his fast-paced offensive style, Mike D'Antoni knows how to get his team to put points on the board. However, he's often been criticized for his team's defenses, which is a major reason he hasn't reached the NBA Finals as a head coach yet.

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A former head coach, where is Mike Brown serving as an assistant?

Mike Brown had the privilege of coaching LeBron James during the early part of "The King's" career, helping instill a defensive toughness into James. However, when James decided to move on from Cleveland, the Cavaliers decided to move on from Brown.

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Will you be able to pick out the team that Jim Boylen is trying to instill a championship work ethic in?

Leading an up-and-coming Chicago Bulls team, Jim Boylen decided to implement a time clock for players to punch in and out of work at the start of the 2019 season. His objective is to show the players just how much time they're actually investing in getting better.

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John Beilein is trying to make the young pieces fit on what roster?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have completely fallen apart with the departure of LeBron James following the 2018 NBA Finals. Hoping a modern offensive system would build success, the team hired John Beilein before the 2019-20 season started, as he is known for his offensive schemes.

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Considered a great developmental coach, which team is utilizing the brilliant mind of Jason Kidd as an assistant?

Jason Kidd was a Hall of Fame player at the point guard position, so he knows a thing or two about basketball. He actually received a head coaching job the same year he retired with the Brooklyn Nets, though it didn't quite work out in his first tenure as a head coach.

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Are you familiar with the team that's one of the best squads in the Western Conference under Doc Rivers?

The Los Angeles Clippers got a new breath of life in the 2019 offseason when they signed Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George, two superstars in the league. With Doc Rivers, a championship-caliber coach, leading the way, there's plenty of buzz surrounding the Clippers in the 2019-20 season.

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Can you identify the team that's improved its defense significantly under Frank Vogel?

The Los Angeles Lakers had to make some tough decisions after missing the 2019 NBA Playoffs. Knowing changes needed to be made, they fired head coach Luke Walton and brought in Frank Vogel, who wasn't a popular choice at the time of his hire.

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Few assistant coaches connect with players as well as Melvin Hunt. Where does he coach?

Melvin Hunt started his NBA coaching career as a scout for the Houston Rockets in 1999. He received his first assistant coaching job with the Rockets in 2002 before moving about the league, where he's coached for several teams from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Atlanta Hawks.

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The former head coach of the Toronto Raptors, select the team currently led by Dwane Casey.

Despite reaching the Conference Semifinals twice and the Conference Finals once, Dwane Casey couldn't overcome LeBron James in the Eastern Conference. This led to his firing from the Toronto Raptors in 2018, but he was quickly picked up by the Detroit Pistons, who needed new life in their own franchise.

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Will you be able to place Nate McMillan onto the feisty team he coaches?

Even though the Indiana Pacers haven't made it out of the first round under his tutelage, Nate McMillan has the team playing inspired basketball. He has yet to have a losing season with the Pacers and even reached the fifth seed going into the 2019 NBA Playoffs.

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Erick Spoelstra coaches which team that's known for always putting in the work to be successful?

Erik Spoelstra has been the head coach of the Miami Heat since legendary coach Pat Riley retired in 2008. Whether he's had all-world talent or a mixture of role players, Spoelstra has been successful with the Heat, implementing a coaching style that emphasizes hustle play on the court.

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Do you know where Tyronn Lue was hired by his former mentor as an assistant coach?

Tyronn Lue was interviewed for a head coaching job with the Los Angeles Lakers, but the team refused to commit to him longterm. Instead of accepting a shortened deal, Lue decided to go with the crosstown rival, the Los Angeles Clippers.

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How well do you know the team that decided to go in a new direction by hiring Taylor Jenkins prior to the 2019-20 season?

The Memphis Grizzlies gave Taylor Jenkins his first head coaching job in the NBA when they hired him prior to the 2019-20 season. Jenkins had previously served as an assistant with both the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks.

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Ryan Saunders is trying to get the best out of the talent found on which team?

Ryan Saunders started his coaching career right out of college, getting a job with the Washington Wizards after completing his graduate degree. When he was hired by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2019, he became the youngest head coach in the NBA at the age of 33.

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What team decided to stick with Alvin Gentry after a 2019 offseason where they completely revamped their roster?

After Anthony Davis requested a trade out of New Orleans, the Pelicans could've gone in a different direction at head coach. Instead, the team stuck with Alvin Gentry and decided to change out their general manager.

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A former player turned coach, where does Jacque Vaughn serve as an assistant?

Before joining the Brooklyn Nets, Jacque Vaughn had his chance as a head coach with the Orlando Magic from 2012 through 2015 but wasn't able to coach the team to a winning record. He finished his head coaching career with a 58-158 record.

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The 2018-19 NBA MVP plays for Mike Budenholzer on which NBA team?

Mike Budenholzer was twice named NBA Coach of the Year, first with the Atlanta Hawks in 2015 and again with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2019. Both seasons, he was also selected as an NBA All-Star Game head coach.

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Can you identify the team that replaced David Fizdale with Mike Miller as the head coach?

The New York Knicks missed out big in the 2019 offseason, failing to attract any of the major stars in free agency. That left David Fizdale in a tough position, coaching a lackluster roster, which is why he was eventually replaced by Mike Miller.

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Select the team that Jay Triano is trying to help rebuild as an assistant.

In 2018, the Charlotte Hornets brought in a lot of brainpower to help push their team to the next level, which is why Jay Triano was added to the staff. Triano is a former head coach himself, who also has experience as an Olympics coach with the Canadian national team.

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Despite changes elsewhere, are you familiar with the team that has kept Billy Donovan in place since 2015?

Billy Donovan has coached several superstars during his stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder, including Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. The furthest he was able to go with this talent was the Western Conference Finals in 2016.

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Can you name the team that is desperate for success, which is why they hired Monty Williams?

The Phoenix Suns have not reached the NBA Playoffs since 2010, when they lost in the Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers. Since then, the team has had one winning season, which they hope improves under Monty Williams.

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Where has the long coaching journey of Maurice Cheeks led him as an assistant in 2019?

Maurice Cheeks has had three opportunities as an NBA head coach with the Portland Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons. The Pistons fired him after coaching only 50 games, at which point he joined the Oklahoma City Thunder as an assistant.

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Steve Clifford is known for inspiring which team to will themselves to a victory?

Steve Clifford is known for instilling a defensive prowess into the teams he coaches, which was evident when he took over the Charlotte Hornets in 2013. His tenure there ended in 2018, but he brought that same mentality with him to Orlando when the Magic hired him the same year he was fired.

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Do you know the team that has entrusted Brett Brown to carry on "The Process"?

The Philadelphia 76ers tanked for years to get high draft picks as they aimed to put themselves back into championship contention. When this stage, known as "The Process," was complete, the team stuck with Brett Brown to realize the fruits of their labor.

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Will you be able to match Sidney Lowe to the team where he's currently serving as an assistant?

The Detroit Pistons struggle to attract top talent in free agency, so they have to build through trades and the draft. However, to keep this talent, the team has to put coaches in place like Sidney Lowe to instill a winning culture.

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Nick Nurse is coming off a championship with which NBA team?

Nick Nurse took over a talented Toronto Raptors team in 2018 that had been to the playoffs for five straight seasons. After adding Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors immediately became a championship contender, and Nurse was able to capitalize on the talent by winning the 2019 NBA Finals.

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How familiar are you with the team that Terry Stotts is trying to lead past the Western Conference Finals?

Terry Stotts has been to the playoffs with the Portland Trail Blazers every season he has been with the team except his first. However, if he can't get the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals, his time with the team might be coming to a close.

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A veteran coach in the league, where is John Lucas serving as an assistant?

John Lucas played in the NBA from 1976 through 1990, which included three stints with the Houston Rockets. With plenty of knowledge of how to play the game, Lucas was brought in by the Rockets as a developmental coach in 2016.

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Can you identify the team where Luke Walton carried his fast-paced offensive style?

Luke Walton gained recognition as a coach when he took over for Steve Kerr on the Golden State Warriors while Kerr was out with back issues. Showing that he had the potential to lead a team, Walton eventually was given the head coaching job for the Los Angeles Lakers before moving on to the Sacramento Kings.

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Gregg Popovich has already established his legacy coaching which NBA team?

Starting with the San Antonio Spurs in 1996, Gregg Popovich is the longest-tenured head coach in the NBA, having spent his entire NBA head coaching career with the team. The Spurs have kept Popovich on for good reason too, as he currently has five NBA titles.

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Will you be able to match longtime coach Lionel Hollins to the team he currently coaches for?

With coaches like Lionel Hollins on the staff, the Los Angeles Lakers have plenty of coaching talent to shape their roster. Considering they're looking for a title this year, they'll need all the help they can get to surpass some of the other teams in the league.

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Are you familiar with the team that Scott Brooks is desperately trying to get back into the playoff hunt?

In three full seasons with the Washington Wizards, Scott Brooks has only missed the playoffs once and made it to the Conference Semifinals in 2017. However, the Wizards aren't headed in the right direction, so Brooks will be looked upon to turn things around quickly.

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Quin Snyder has created a defensive powerhouse with which NBA team?

Quin Snyder started his NBA head coaching career with the Utah Jazz in 2014. He came into the 2019-20 season with a 227-183 regular-season record, and with a roster stacked with talent, he'll try to improve upon his first-round loss with the Jazz in 2019.

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