In the 1995 movie, Apollo 13, the flight crew is on a damaged ship. As they are circling around the moon Actors Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon are looking at the lunar surface in awe. Paxton says, “I would sure like to be down there and do some prospecting” Actor Tom Hanks, as if he is sensing their lack of focus and task at hand says, “Gentlemen, what are your objectives, mine is to get home.” In that moment, the crew snaps out of the fantasy and back into reality. This is what I am going to do with my latest article on the NBA’s Coach of the Year. On the surface or on paper,some of the finalist appear to be a good choice, but as we inspect further you will “snap” back into reality and see the truth about these nominees. Some of my words may be harsh, but we must stop being a society where everyone gets a trophy. The NBA has the greatest athletes in the world, lets act like it and only reward the best of the best.
Coach of the Year:
Mike D’Antoni (Houston Rockets 55-27):
The Rockets had a fine season, but, in 13 years as a coach, D’Antoni has never been to an NBA finals. If you look at the history of the NBA, Over the past 30 years, other than Larry Brown, (who won a title with the Detroit Pistons in 2003-04) If you don’t win a championship in your first ten years as a coach, the odds are almost impossible. D’Antoni is the exact opposite of NFL Coach Rex Ryan. The Former Jets and Bills head coach only focused on one side of the ball… defense. D’Antoni only focuses on offense. If he is coaching your basketball team, that organization will never win a championship. He hasn’t evolved and developed on the bench. As we see, time and time again, as you advance in the playoffs, coaching makes a huge difference.
Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat 41-41):
When I heard Pat Riley’s protégé was nominated for COY, I had the same reaction as Tennis legend John McEnroe, “You can’t be serious!” The Heat started out 11-30 and finished the season 41-41. The man they call “Spo,” didn’t take over the team after they were 11-30, he coached the entire season. The Heat did not make the playoffs and the NBA is rewarding this man? Talk about everyone getting a trophy. Let;s remember something, Coach Spo, without LeBron James, has never been passed the 2nd round of the playoffs. In 2011, he was thoroughly outcoached by Rick Carlisle. The Dallas Mavericks beat a much more talented Miami Heat team to win the NBA finals is 6 games. There are at least 4 coaches who deserve this more than Spo.
Jason Kidd (Milwaukee Bucks 42-40):
With one of the youngest teams in the league, the Bucks made the playoffs. They did this with a rookie Point Guard, Malcolm Brogdon, their second-best scorer and rebounder Jabari Parker going down for the year after 51 games and their 3rd best player Khris Middelton playing the last 29 games of the season.
Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics 53-29):
He led the Celtics to the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Scottie Brooks (Washington Wizards 49-33):
Brooks took a dysfunctional team and made them a consistent group every night. He has helped John Wall mature and elevated his game.
Quin Snyder (Utah Jazz 51-31): Unless you live in Utah almost no one talks about the job Snyder has done. This is a young team on the rise that won 51 games in the brutal west. This is a team on the rise and their home court advantage will be huge over the next few seasons.
Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs 61-21):
For the 18th straight season, Pop has won at least 50 games or more. That is an NBA record that will never be broken. One of the main reasons is, no coach will ever be with the same team for 21 years in a row. As great as Pop has been, this may have been his greatest coaching performance. Out of all the teams that made the playoffs, other than the Portland Trailblazer and Indiana Pacers, I dare anyone to come up with a worse starting five than the Spurs. Tony Parker is way past his prime, Danny Green is a role player at best, LeMarcus Aldridge has been wildly inconsistent and their center is done by committee…¦ Dewayne Dedmon, Pau Gasol and David Lee. than Kawhi Leonard, is the only one on this roster that would start on any of the remaining final three teams (Boston, Golden State and Cleveland.) As limited as this team is, Pop lead them to the #2 seed in the Western Conference. On Paper they should be a 6 or 7 seed and maybe win 48 games. There is no doubt in my mind that the Spurs coach should be the unanimous winner for Coach of the Year.
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