NBA / Jun 10, 2011 / 1:30 pm

Rick Carlisle Is The Best Coach In The NBA. Discuss.

Rick Carlisle

Rick Carlisle

During Game 6 in Dallas last night, Jeff Van Gundy said “the best predictor of future behavior is prior acts.” (I went back to my DVR at midnight and fast-forwarded through almost the entire first half to find the exact quote.)

Why did I waste 30 minutes of my life searching for this?

Because Rick Carlisle has coached three teams in the NBA, and he always makes them better. A lot better (see the below graphic). And don’t let the seemingly failed stint in Indiana fool you. Were it not for the Malice at the Palace in 2004, the Pacers had a legit shot at a title. He also got hosed by Detroit, which won the trophy the very next season. Until Dirk un-softened this season, Carlisle never coached a phenom. Popovich had Duncan. Jackson had Shaq & Kobe. Riley had Shaq & Wade. Rivers had KG.

Rick Carlisle

Back to the JVG quote.

Carlise’s “prior acts” are consistent and impressive. Assuming Dirk can play at this level for one or two more seasons, and Mark Cuban keeps spending money, his future looks bright. Keep in mind, Carlisle is only 51. It seems quite plausible Carlisle retires with 1,000-plus wins and a couple trophies.

A few more random notes from last night:
Tyson Chandler‘s grandfather’s name is Cleophis Threadgill, which, obvi, demands a sub-conversation about the best grandfather-names of all time.
Mark Jackson is surgical with his 15-second-slow-highlight-kick-it-to-commercial-on-a-catchy-note commentaries.
Juwan Howard, the last and most worthy of the Fab Five, might get a ring.
– JVG bats about .250 when it comes to witticism, and the above quote shouldn’t distract from his general inanity. Another gem from last night: JVG requested a DVD compilation of every jumper in Dirk’s career.

Got beef with this? Tweet me @sollylieb.

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  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Shock Exchange

    Rick Carlisle’s team is one game away from winning the NBA championship. Next years someone else will win it, so someone else will be the best coach in the NBA. Is that how it works?

  • Tre

    ^^^ where does the article claim Carlise is the best coach?!?! I did read the part where he says “Rick Carlisle has coached three teams in the NBA, and he always makes them better. A lot better (see the below graphic).” But nothing saying he’s the best coach…..did I miss it?!?!?

  • Sam

    Hand down, man down!

  • http://www.dimemag.com panchitoooo


    the artice is titled “Rick Carlisle Is The Best Coach In The NBA.”

    so yeah you missed it…

  • Big Freeze

    Rick is a great basketball coach. Buy don’t pretend he doesn’t have great players. He has a legit superstar in Dirk, a bunch of former all-stars, and of course…the Jet! But compared to Spoelstra, Carlisle may be the best coach ever in any sport.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Grandfather’s name: Clifford Ergood

  • http://www.twitter.com/sollylieb Solomon Lieberman

    Thanks for the comments, guys.

    After publishing, I realized this post went live without a perspective from my consigliere, aka Frozen Chozen. No excuse. Apologies.

    As it turns out, Froze’ and I disagree on this piece. “Carlisle’s numbers are compelling, but I maintain that a coach can have only so much impact on an NBA team,” explained Frozen.


    Have a good weekend,


  • seriously

    Until Dirk unsoftened this season? What Dirk have you been watching? The guy put up a 30-10 during their 2nd round loss to the Nuggets while getting mugged by K Mart, Nene, and Birdman.

    He might have been soft at the start of his career and I’ll give you 07 vs the Warriors but he’s been tough as nails for more than just this season

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    Don’t agree that Juwan Howard is the most worthy of the Fab Five. I was always pulling for C-Webb to get a ring

  • Ian

    after what dirk did to the 06 spurs no way hes soft or has been since then
    but no pop is the best

  • Stephen Martin

    Best Grandfather’s name. Gunnar Sigsmund Klemmedson.