Can You Match the NBA Coach to Their Current Team?

By: Gavin Thagard
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
Can You Match the NBA Coach to Their Current Team?
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.

13 - Doc Rivers Are you familiar with the team that's one of the best squads in the Western Conference under Doc Rivers?
Timberwolves
Jazz
Trail Blazers
Clippers
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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7 - Steve Kerr Can you identify the team where Steve Kerr has had to deal with a series of injuries?
Wizards
Knicks
Suns
Warriors
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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18 - Erick Spoelstra Erick Spoelstra coaches which team that's known for always putting in the work to be successful?
Heat
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.
Wizards
Kings
Suns

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8 - Mike D'Antoni Are you able to name the team that pushes the pace behind the philosophy of Mike D'Antoni?
Grizzlies
Pistons
Rockets
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.
Lakers

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17 - Nate McMillan Will you be able to place Nate McMillan onto the feisty team he coaches?
Pelicans
Magic
Knicks
Pacers
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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20 - Taylor Jenkins 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?
Spurs
Grizzlies
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.
Jazz
Raptors

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33 - Nick Nurse Nick Nurse is coming off a championship with which NBA team?
Spurs
Jazz
Raptors
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.
Trail Blazers

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11 - John Beilein John Beilein is trying to make the young pieces fit on what roster?
Kings
Wizards
Pistons
Cavaliers
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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16 - Dwane Casey The former head coach of the Toronto Raptors, select the team currently led by Dwane Casey.
Pistons
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.
Heat
76ers
Grizzlies

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24 - Mike Budenholzer The 2018-19 NBA MVP plays for Mike Budenholzer on which NBA team?
Raptors
Spurs
Trail Blazers
Bucks
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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22 - Alvin Gentry What team decided to stick with Alvin Gentry after a 2019 offseason where they completely revamped their roster?
Pelicans
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.
Suns
Bucks
76ers

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2 - Brad Stevens What team is considered to be in championship contention behind the brilliant mind of Brad Stevens?
Cavaliers
Bucks
76ers
Celtics
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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23 - Jacque Vaughn A former player turned coach, where does Jacque Vaughn serve as an assistant?
Heat
Celtics
Nets
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.
Warriors

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34 - Terry Stotts How familiar are you with the team that Terry Stotts is trying to lead past the Western Conference Finals?
Trail Blazers
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.
Jazz
Spurs
Wizards

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5 - Rick Carlisle Select the team that went out and found plenty of European talent for Rick Carlisle to coach.
Clippers
Mavericks
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.
Timberwolves
Thunder

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25 - Dave Fizdale Can you identify the team that replaced David Fizdale with Mike Miller as the head coach?
Raptors
Wizards
Knicks
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.
Suns

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21 - Ryan Saunders Ryan Saunders is trying to get the best out of the talent found on which team?
Spurs
Timberwolves
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.
Kings
Magic

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27 - Billy Donovan Despite changes elsewhere, are you familiar with the team that has kept Billy Donovan in place since 2015?
Jazz
Kings
76ers
Thunder
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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19 - Tyronn Lue Do you know where Tyronn Lue was hired by his former mentor as an assistant coach?
Pelicans
Thunder
Clippers
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.
Wizards

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3 - Kenny Atkinson Two superstars joined which team in the 2019 offseason coached by Kenny Atkinson?
Nets
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.
Pacers
Clippers
Spurs

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26 - Jay Triano Select the team that Jay Triano is trying to help rebuild as an assistant.
Hornets
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.
Raptors
Magic
Pistons

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4 - James Borrego Do you know the team that decided to go into rebuilding mode with James Borrego leading the way?
Raptors
Hornets
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.
Warriors
Pelicans

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30 - Steve Clifford Steve Clifford is known for inspiring which team to will themselves to a victory?
Spurs
Magic
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.
Wizards
Raptors

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14 - Frank Vogel Can you identify the team that's improved its defense significantly under Frank Vogel?
Suns
Lakers
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.
Pelicans
Raptors

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15 - Melvin Hunt Few assistant coaches connect with players as well as Melvin Hunt. Where does he coach?
Hornets
Bulls
Hawks
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.
Pistons

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31 - Brett Brown Do you know the team that has entrusted Brett Brown to carry on "The Process"?
Trail Blazers
Jazz
76ers
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.
Kings

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28 - Monty Williams Can you name the team that is desperate for success, which is why they hired Monty Williams?
Kings
Suns
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.
Jazz
Magic

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1 - Lloyd Pierce Lloyd Pierce is leading which exciting young team as they try to make it back to the playoffs?
Bulls
Magic
Hawks
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.
Heat

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35 - John Lucas A veteran coach in the league, where is John Lucas serving as an assistant?
Nuggets
76ers
Spurs
Rockets
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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6 - Michael Malone Michael Malone is trying to win a title on which team loaded with talent?
Nuggets
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.
Rockets
Trail Blazers
Jazz

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12 - Jason Kidd Considered a great developmental coach, which team is utilizing the brilliant mind of Jason Kidd as an assistant?
Clippers
Lakers
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.
Thunder
Magic

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9 - Mike Brown A former head coach, where is Mike Brown serving as an assistant?
Warriors
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.
Cavaliers
Knicks
Pelicans

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32 - Sidney Lowe Will you be able to match Sidney Lowe to the team where he's currently serving as an assistant?
Rockets
Cavaliers
Wizards
Pistons
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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10 - Jim Boylen Will you be able to pick out the team that Jim Boylen is trying to instill a championship work ethic in?
Magic
Heat
Bulls
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.
Bucks

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29 - Maurice Cheeks Where has the long coaching journey of Maurice Cheeks led him as an assistant in 2019?
Thunder
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.
76ers
Trail Blazers
Pistons

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37 - Gregg Popovich Gregg Popovich has already established his legacy coaching which NBA team?
Spurs
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.
Jazz
Celtics
Wizards

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36 - Luke Walton Can you identify the team where Luke Walton carried his fast-paced offensive style?
Jazz
Kings
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.
Wizards
Spurs

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39 - Scott Brooks Are you familiar with the team that Scott Brooks is desperately trying to get back into the playoff hunt?
Jazz
Pacers
Bulls
Wizards
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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40 - Quin Snyder Quin Snyder has created a defensive powerhouse with which NBA team?
Suns
Jazz
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.
Bucks
Heat

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38 - Lionel Hollins Will you be able to match longtime coach Lionel Hollins to the team he currently coaches for?
Clippers
Cavaliers
Lakers
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.
Nets

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