Rick Carlisle: Trail Blazers’ Terry Stotts front-runner for Coach of the Year

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Who should win coach of the year?

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has his pick so far.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Carlisle might be throwing a nod to a former assistant. Stotts worked in Dallas until getting the Trail Blazers job, helping the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA title.

But Stotts legitimately deserves strong consideration for the honor.

Portland lost four starters — LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez and Nicolas Batum — and got significantly less experienced since last season. But Stotts still has this group in playoff position. His ability to integrate so many newcomers so quickly while elevating them has been incredible.

I see it as a four-man race between Stotts, Carlisle, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Celtics coach Brad Stevens. If forced to submit a Coach of the Year ballot right now, it’d be

  1. Popovich
  2. Stotts
  3. Carlisle