Coaches changing jobs is an annual rite in the NBA, and one-third of the league’s 30 teams have changed coaches since last season ended. Here’s a look at the 10 coaches in new jobs:
KENNY ATKINSON, Brooklyn Nets
Atkinson’s only head-coach experience was his stint leading the Dominican Republic national team. But he played across much of Europe, and has spent almost a decade as an assistant with the New York Knicks and most recently the Atlanta Hawks. He’s one of only two coaches who will be serving as an NBA head coach for the first time, joining Memphis’ David Fizdale (if one doesn’t count the Lakers’ Luke Walton, who was the acting head coach in Golden State for the first half of last season).
SCOTT BROOKS, Washington Wizards
There’s eight active coaches in the NBA with more than 300 wins, and Brooks is one of them. He’s the 12th full-time Washington coach since the franchise’s last trip to the conference finals in 1979. He won a title as a player in Houston, was an NBA coach of the year with Oklahoma City, got the Thunder to the NBA Finals and never had a losing record in any of his six full seasons as a head coach. His hiring could seem like a steal for Washington, which has a young roster loaded with talent like John Wall and Bradley Beal.
MIKE D’ANTONI, Houston Rockets
He wants to run, run, run and any offense being controlled by James Harden would figure to thrive with that mandate. Houston is the fifth head-coaching stop for D’Antoni, who hasn’t taken a team past the first round since he got Phoenix into the Western Conference semifinals in 2007. D’Antoni’s last two stints, with the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers, didn’t go well. But Houston is looking for a return to the upper echelon of the West, and D’Antoni likely feels the same urgency.
DAVID FIZDALE, Memphis Grizzlies
It was an annual question in Miami: What would it take for David Fizdale to get a job elsewhere? The answer finally came this offseason, when Memphis decided Fizdale was the right person for the job there and ended his eight-year stint as a Heat assistant. He was one of Erik Spoelstra’s most trusted confidantes during the Heat run of four straight trips to the NBA Finals, has long had great relationships with players and already seems to have the respect of the Grizzlies’ locker room. There will be some growing pains for the rookie coach, though likely none he can’t handle.
JEFF HORNACEK, New York Knicks
Hornacek’s only other gig as a head coach came in Phoenix, where he started fast — going 48-34 in his first season. Problem was, he went 53-78 in the rest of his tenure there before getting fired and probably was a bit victimized by his early success. He was part of a Knicks makeover of sorts this summer, with the team landing Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to pair alongside Carmelo Anthony. It’s hard to imagine the pressure-cooker that is New York would bother Hornacek, who has been in the league as a coach and player for 30 years.
DAVE JOERGER, Sacramento Kings
In his three years in Memphis, he never had a losing season, never missed the playoffs — not even last year when injuries got to almost a comical point for the Grizzlies, won 60 percent of his regular-season games — and got fired, though neither side was upset about the breakup. Joerger was hired by Sacramento two days after the end of his Memphis tenure. Whether in the NBA or any of the minor leagues he coached in, Joerger has never had a team finish with a losing record. That 11-season streak will be tested now.
NATE MCMILLAN, Indiana Pacers
He’s fourth among active coaches with 478 wins, behind only Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers and Rick Carlisle. McMillan is going to be running a team for the 13th season, his first time in the first chair since he was fired by Portland 43 games into the 2011-12 season. It’s a third chance for McMillan, who also coached Seattle and has been out of the first round only once. If that continues, that won’t exactly appease the fan base in Indiana, which saw Frank Vogel jettisoned after winning 58 percent of his games in six seasons.
TOM THIBODEAU, Minnesota Timberwolves
Thibodeau has one losing season as a head coach, and that was in 1984-85 — at Salem State College in New Hampshire, his alma mater. That team allowed opponents to score 75.5 points per game and shoot 48 percent. Suffice to say, he’s gotten a little better at the teaching of defense since. It’s not disparaging to say Thibodeau is a hard coach to play for; he wears that as a badge of honor. But his five years as coach in Chicago were all winners, and he now has arguably the most talented core of young players in the league to mold.
FRANK VOGEL, Orlando Magic
Vogel had great teams in his six seasons at Indiana. It just so happened that in three of those years, his teams couldn’t solve the Miami Heat in their “Big Three” era — and then he lost Paul George for basically a full season to an awful broken leg. He gets a rebuilding project in Orlando, one that Scott Skiles couldn’t solve in his one season there before walking away. Vogel will demand a defensive commitment, though doesn’t do so at the expense of offense, either. And getting bounced by the Pacers may leave him feeling like he’s got something to prove again.
LUKE WALTON, Los Angeles Lakers
Depending on who’s counting, Walton’s career record is either 0-0 or 39-4. Walton had great success as the fill-in for Steve Kerr in Golden State when his boss was sidelined while recovering from back surgeries last season, and even got some coach of the year votes — an award that Kerr actually won. He’s only 36, which helps him relate to players. He has rings from being a Lakers player and a Warriors assistant, is the son of Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton and understands the enormity of the task that awaits in the post-Kobe Bryant era in L.A.