As the 2020-21 NBA season nears its midpoint, we’re rating the top performers so far.
Coach of the Year
Kurt Helin: Tom Thibodeau (Knicks)
This race is still wide open to me, with Quin Snyder of Utah, Monty Williams in Phoenix, and Doc Rivers of Philadelphia all fully capable of earning the top spot (followed by guys such as Nate Bjorkgren of the Pacers who could make the ballot as well). Thibodeau gets the nod not just because the Knicks are outperforming expectations — they are over .500 and sit as the five seed in the East at the break — but because he has helped change the culture in New York. The Knicks are gritty, play hard on defense, and are getting enough offense to win. Most importantly, this is something the Knicks can build upon.
Dan Feldman: Tom Thibodeau (Knicks)
Thibodeau has taken a rag-tag roster and helped put it into the thick of the playoff race. The Knicks are good defensively and good enough offensively. They play hard and deliberately, imposing their style on opponents. Thibodeau has even found rotation roles for rookies Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin.
The Spurs are also winning while playing youngsters. Gregg Popovich deserves credit for that.
Suns coach Monty Williams, 76ers coach Doc Rivers and Jazz coach Quin Snyder are having stellar years, too. But they also have better rosters. It’s always difficult to discern where a coach’s contributions begin and end.