Feb 22, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel greets guard George Hill (3) after a substitution during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Pacers beat the Bucks 110-100. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Numerous coaches are acceptable candidates for this season’s Coach of the Year award.
Always in consideration: Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, Eric Spoelstra
Honorable Mention: Jason Kidd, Mike Woodson
The Not-Fake Honorable Mention: Mark Jackson, Steve Clifford
My top three:
1. Jeff Hornacek
Feb 19, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (left) looks on as head coach Jeff Hornacek reacts in the first half against the Boston Celtics at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s be honest, raise your hand if you thought the Phoenix Suns were going to currently hold a playoff position at this point the year.
If you are actually awkwardly holding your hand up then you are either a liar, a very bias Suns fan, or need to be in Las Vegas right now.
The Suns went from a team predicted to reach a maximum of 20 wins, to a team currently being a true threat to holding a playoff spot. While you can point out the emergence of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, Horny is the true mastermind behind this flourishing team.
I think he has really given those guys an opportunity to develop their game.
He is not just meeting expectations: His team is currently 5th in points per game.
What’d you predict they’d be in August?
This rookie head coach just might get to put up another trophy with his two NBA Three-Point Shootout Champion trophies.
2. Frank Vogel
Feb 10, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel coaches on the sidelines against the Denver Nuggets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
I would stop there if I didn’t have to give some kind of explanation because, honestly, that is what will lead Vogel to a COY trophy.
His team is currently holding opponents to an incredible 90.9 points per game, all while holding the best record in the NBA. Let’s just see what he can do with Evan Turner and try to hold that top spot while shutting down opposing teams.
3. Terry Stotts
Feb 3, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts (L) argues a call with referee Jason Phillips (R) against the Washington Wizards in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 100-90. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
This was a toss up between Stotts and Pop.
Obviously I want to write Pop, but we all already know what he is capable of (and how he couldn’t care less about this silly award.)
The Suns are not the only ones to beat expectations; heck I didn’t even expect the Portland Trail blazers to make the playoffs this year either.
Although cooling down, there just isn’t away you can ignore this team. They are young and incredibly talented like the Suns—but slightly better.
They aren’t the best offense in the NBA for no reason.
Stotts definitely has that part locked down, but 27th in points allowed is quite awful. But Mike D’Antoni with the Suns had a very similar style, and that landed him with the award in 2005, so don’t be surprised if you see Stotts holding the award at the end of the year.