Ranking the top Cleveland Cavaliers coaching candidates

The Cleveland Cavaliers have 3 names at the top of their coaching search, but who can actually bring this team to the Finals?
Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Six
Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Six / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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The Cleveland Cavaliers finally parted ways with their former head coach J.B. Bickerstaff after a year or more of speculation that he was on the chopping block.

Now the team looks to find a replacement and help the team go further than the second round of the playoffs. Having star talents like Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley on the squad can only last so long without improvement. The Cavs are looking to offer Mitchell an extension on his current deal, and a lot of this coaching search revolves around if Mitchell agrees to stay in Cleveland.

At this juncture, it seems that Mitchell staying longer in town is reasonable but then if he does, do the Cavalierss keep Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland who both have been speculated as being trade bait? That being the backdrop to this coaching search has amounted to a lot of speculation amongst analysts and fans.

The Cavs lacked a coach in the past with much experience, especially postseason experience so I'd speculate that the team wants to bring in someone with previous NBA head coaching experience, along with playoff experience.

Let's take a look at three coaches that are in the running from various reports, and which ones I'd rank as the best choices.

No. 3 Cavs coaching candidate- Kenny Atkinson

Kenny Atkinson, who's currently an assistant with the Golden State Warriors, has come out of the gates as the presumed front-running in this coaching search. He was a head coach with the Brooklyn Nets from 2016-2020. While he may seem like the coach to beat, I'd imagine the Cavs are spending time evaluating several legitimate candidates that could do the job.

The news around Atkinson centers on his ability to help a team that is in the early stages of a rebuild. However, Cleveland isn't a rebuild, and he's probably not ready to step in and lead the charge and take this team any further than Bickerstaff did in his four-plus seasons as head coach.

While this choice wouldn't be the worst of the bunch, Atkinson has a reason for skepticism with a lack of playoff success on his resume. Atkinson has a 118-190 record as a head coach. In the four years as the leader of the Nets, they had losing records in three of those winning 28 games in two separate seasons and only 20 in the other.