There is a large field of deserving candidates for NBA Coach of the Year this season.
Brad Stevens has the Celtics as the two seed in the East without Gordon Hayward. Gregg Popovich has the Spurs in the playoff mix without Kawhi Leonard. Dwane Casey has the Raptors at the top of the East after getting the existing roster to buy into a new offensive philosophy. Terry Stotts has the Trail Blazers with a top five defense and a likely three seed. Mike D’Antoni has the Rockets on top of the entire NBA. Quin Snyder has the Jazz likely making the playoffs in the West despite that team being ravaged by injuries (and having lost Hayward last summer). Nate McMillan has turned around things in Indiana with Victor Oladipo.
I delve into the Coach of the Year debate in this latest PBT Extra. Among voters, most of the discussion for the top spot seems to be between Boston’s Stevens and Toronto’s Casey. In a Twitter poll I did for this video, a plurality of you were in the Casey camp: Dwane Casey 43 percent, Quin Snyder 36 percent, and Stevens 15 percent.
A stunning number of people on Twitter questioned why Popovich was even on the list. Which is idiotic. Again, this is a coach getting his aging team to the edge of the playoffs without the MVP-level star, it shows what a master he is — Popovich is still the best coach in basketball. He will not win COY this year (my bet is on Stevens), but if you don’t have him in the conversation you’re doing it wrong.