Usually, this question is reserved for players up for end-of-season awards and honors: Certainly they were good enough, but they missed so much time with injury should they still qualify? It came up with Sixth Man of the Year voting this season with Andre Iguodala vs. Jamal Crawford (voters gave the award to Crawford).
This season, for the rest time anyone can remember, it applied to Coach of the Year. Steve Kerr’s Warriors won a record 73 games, in any other year that wins him the award going away. But Kerr missed the first half of the season following back surgery, and Luke Walton coached the team to a 39-4 record before Kerr returned to the bench. Sure, Walton had players in a system where Kerr had been the architect, but did Kerr miss too many games to qualify?
Nope. Steve Kerr is the NBA Coach of the Year, the league announced Tuesday.
The last Warriors coach to win the award was Don Nelson in 1992.
It’s hard to knock this choice — the Warriors set a record for most wins in a season. To keep a team that focused over the course of a season, especially the defending champions with a target on their back every night, is incredible. Kerr and Walton combined to do a fantastic job.
Here is the final order of finish, as voted on by 130 media members (number of first place votes in parenthesis).
Steve Kerr, Golden State (64)
Terry Stotts, Portland (37)
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio (10)
Steve Clifford, Charlotte (7)
Dwane Casey, Toronto (6)
Brad Stevens, Boston (5)
Dave Joerger, Memphis (1)
Doc Rivers, L.A. Clippers
Luke Walton, Golden State (interim)
Erik Spoelstra, Miami
Quin Snyder, Utah
Rick Carlisle, Dallas
Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta
Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City