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Though it isn't quite like the 1980s and the '90s—when Hall of Famers such as Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Chuck Daly and Jerry Sloan were coaching—the NBA still has its share of sideline visionaries. Here are the top coaches in the game today:
1 Gregg Popovich
The even-keeled Popovich treats his superstars the same way he treats his 12th man, a quality that has earned him unflagging respect in the locker room. Pop's ability to adapt—his first 13 years in San Antonio featured defensive-minded teams, the last three years have been more offense-oriented—is his greatest strength. On the job since 1996, Popovich is the longest-tenured active coach in a big four pro sport.
2 Doc Rivers
A players' coach, Rivers is a powerful presence on the sideline. Though he often tabs assistant coaches as offensive and defensive coordinators, Rivers is an underrated tactician, particularly at the end of games. He has led the Celtics to six Atlantic Division titles in his eight years on the bench.
3 Rick Carlisle
Carlisle blends an unflappable sideline demeanor with meticulous attention to detail. A student of Daly and Larry Bird, he places a premium on execution with complicated—but effective—offensive sets.