The announcement came Tuesday afternoon with a press conference to follow where Gregg Popovich will be uncomfortable answering media questions.
Spurs headman Gregg Popovich has been named NBA Coach of the Year. Mike Monroe of the Express-News was first with the report but the league has now confirmed it.
And it’s a good call. When the Spurs were winning titles last decade they were a great defensive team that had enough offense to beat you, but as his core aged the role players shifted that formula no longer worked. So in the past couple years Popovich has helped the Spurs evolve into an offensive powerhouse — they play at a faster tempo, they move the ball and guys work off the ball, the steps are taken to get guys the ball where they can succeed (Tim Ducan where he can drive or go to the bank, Matt Bonner spacing the floor, Tony Parker off picks and getting to make decisions). Popovich has been a master at putting guys in places where they can succeed and he has been at his peak with that the past couple years.
There were other guys who had great years. Second place in the voting went to the Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau, who did a better job this season than last when he won the award — he was without Derrick Rose much of the year, not to mention Rip Hamilton and he got role players to win the East. Frank Vogel got as much out of the Pacers roster as could be expected and he came in third. Lionel Hollins of Memphis finished fourth and Doc Rivers of the Celtics fifth in the voting.
You can’t really be unhappy with Popovich as the call. He earned it this year, he has earned a bunch more as a lifetime achievement award. This is a good call.
UPDATE 5:02 pm: It’s official, Tom Thibodeau is your Coach of the Year. He will be honored before the Bulls game Monday night.
As we said, this is well deserved. The Bulls had a roster with eight new players yet melded into a defensive power that finished with the best recoed in the NBA.
Philadelphia’s Doug Collins was second in the voting, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich was third and Denver’s George Karl was fourth.
11:52 am: The Chicago Bulls are having a press conference at 3:30 (eastern) today for a “major announcement.”
That means either Derrick Rose is going to be named MVP or Tom Thibodeau is going to be named Coach of the Year.
Looks like it is Thibodeau’s turn, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, who tweeted this.
Tom Thibodeau has won NBA Coach of the Year, the Tribune has confirmed.
It is possible Rose winning will be announced at the same time.
This is well deserved. The Bulls got 21 games better season over season, and improved to be the best defensive team in the NBA. Rose also credits the growth in his game to the pushing by Thibodeau.
Thibodeau will accept the award, if they can pry him out of the film room for a couple of minutes.
Coach of the Year may come down to whether you’re old school or new school this year.
The expected favorite for the award is Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, who has brought Chicago around to what may be the best win-total improvement, seed improvement, and clearly defensive improvement in the league this year, in only his first season with the Bulls. Thibodeau has helped Derrick Rose reach an MVP level (mostly bey admittedly staying out of the way and letting Rose do his thing), and made a defensive juggernaut out of a team featuring Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Kyle Korver, and Keith Bogans.
But his biggest competitor has the best advantage he can have. A superior record. Coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs is gaining more and more traction for his performance in leading the Spurs to a ridiculous 54-12 record. You can count Rockets coach Rick Adelman among those who think Pop’s done the job this year.
“I think Pop’s just done a great job this year,” Adelman said. “To me, the record they have, he’s the Coach of the Year, the way he’s put these guys together and the type of season they’ve had.
via Rockets notes: Adelmans COY vote goes to Popovich | NBA Basketball | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.
The award may end up coming down to whether Thibodeau’s Bulls manage to hold onto the top spot in the East which they now share a piece of after Saturday’s win over the Jazz. If they secure the top spot in the East after being an 8th seed speed bump last year, with a group of new pieces, that may be enough to win. But if the Spurs keep pace, voting against Popovich will be extremely difficult.
Thibodeau does have one other advantage. He’s coaching a team with significant roster changes, featuring three new starters from last season, guys who are playing together for the first time. Much of the bench unit has changed as well with Korver, Ronnie Brewer, and Omer Asik. Getting new guys to play this well together is extremely tough.
Just ask Erik Spoelstra.