There are 6 possible candidates but who deserves it more than the rest?
As teams continue to scramble for playoff positions in the last few days of the regular season, one thing is certain: the head coaches of the playoff-bound teams are already preparing themselves for more sleepless nights as they start preparing their respective gameplans in time for the postseason. Sure, the players are doing all the dirty work on the floor but devising the strategy on both ends of the floor, that's the job of the coach. And no matter how brilliant your coach if the players aren't listening to him, then the great gameplan is completely useless.
There are many great coaches who have been able to transform horribly-struggling teams into potential title contenders and this season saw many of those coaches. And that alone is one of the many reasons why this season's race for the Coach of the Year award is close. To give you a quick rundown, below are some of the best candidates to win this year's Coach of the Year plum:
1 - Mike D' Antoni- Let's begin with the coach who is coaching the best team in the NBA right now. Whether you like it or not, Mike D' Antoni had enjoyed success with a great point guard who can run his run-and-gun offense, something that Steve Nash when Mike D' Antoni coached Nash with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns won the best record in the Western Conference at one point and were close to reaching the NBA Finals
This season, the Houston Rockets won the best record in the entire NBA along with the homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. Thanks to D' Antoni's Brilliance that integrated Chris Paul into the offense and enabled James Harden to unleash his full potentials, the Rockets are in the perfect place to win the NBA championship this season.
2 - Brad Stevens- The season began with the Boston Celtics losing Gordon Hayward to a season-ending injury. Then, Kyrie Irving is expected to miss some games in the playoffs owing to a problem that occurred in his surgery last month. And despite those injuries, Brad Stevens has been able to guide the Celtics to a top 2 finish for the second consecutive season. This is due to the fact that Stevens has been able to bring out the best from young players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who led the Celtics in the absence of Irving.
3 - Nate McMillan- The Indiana Pacers are sitting tightly in 5th place in the East with a 48-34 record. This will mean that the Pacers will meet the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. To begin with, the Pacers aren't supposed to be this good and yet, despite trading away Paul George during the off-season last year, Victor Oladipo and the rest of the guys are heading into the playoffs with so much energy and part of the reason why the Pacers are successful is the fact that Nate McMillan has been able to preach consistency into his players
4 - Dwane Casey- Dwane Casey's Toronto Raptors have already clinched the East's best record despite the frequent struggles of stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. And despite the struggles of both stars, Casey has been able to get production from the rest of the team.
5 - Brett Brown- Okay, if there's one guy who deserves to win the Coach of the Year, it's Brett Brown. The Philadephia 76ers are on a 15-game winning streak with one more game left on their schedule. Keep in mind that the Sixers are full of young talent and with Joel Embiid missing the latter part of the regular season and possibly, the first round of the playoffs, Brett Brown has been able to lead Philadelphia into a playoff berth for the first time in almost a decade. Who knows? The last time the Sixers went on a 14-game winning streak, they won the championship. Imagine if they will finish the regular season with a 16-game winning streak while entering the playoffs as the third-seeded team in the East, the possibilities are unlimited.
6 - Gregg Popovich- Oh come on, guys. Just give the old man the Coach of the Year award. Why? He just led the San Antonio Spurs to their 21st consecutive playoff appearance and doing so without Kawhi Leonard. Now that's greatness, folks.
Prediction: Brett Brown will win the Coach of the Year.