Very few marquee players go on to become NBA head coaches. And of the ones that do, even fewer become respected head coaches. Some, like Jerry Sloan, are able to pull it off. But others, like Isiah Thomas…Well, you can just ask a Knicks fan about that one.
It has often been said that “those who can’t do, teach.” This is definitely true for many NBA coaches, most of which never made it to the Association as a player. Of the 30 head coaches in the league right now, just 12 played in the NBA, and just three of them were All-Stars. All of them played at least some college basketball, and 17 have some other kind experience playing pro basketball abroad.
That’s not to say that they weren’t talented players in their day, it just means that many weren’t the pro-level talent as players that they are as coaches. Here’s a complete ranking of NBA head coaches, based only on their playing careers.