No one seriously expected the San Antonio Spurs to be where they are right now. They’re sitting at 37-14, two games behind the Thunder in the West and a serious contender for the NBA Finals. They’ve fought through injuries and a tough schedule that is no doubt wearing on an aging Tim Duncan to quiet the haters once again.
A huge part of their success is thanks to head coach Gregg Popovich. Coach Pop continues to win, no matter what the odds. So where does this put him in terms of the Coach of the Year race?
Pop does it year in and year out. He deserves to be at the top of the ballot every season, and yet he’s only been coach of the year once. It seems like there’s always a more popular pick, and this year is no different.
It’s tough to pick the guy with the fourth best record in the NBA for coach of the year, no matter how much adversity he’s overcome, but you can pick the guy with the best record who has overcome just as much. Tom Thibodeau is crushing it in Chicago. His team has played without NBA MVP Derrick Rose for a good chunk of the season and they’ve lost several other supporting cast members to injury as well and they’re still sitting with the best record in the league. The Bulls are going to give Miami a solid run in the playoffs, when most people thought the Heat would be a lock for the Finals. Thibs easily gets my vote.
In my mind, Pop comes in second, maybe slightly ahead of Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks. Brooks has brought that young Thunder team so far in just a couple of years, it’s unbelievable. But he got rewarded for that progress last season by winning Coach of the Year, and honestly he’s done what’s been expected of him this year. The Thunder have stayed healthy and reached everyone’s very high preseason expectations. And then there’s Erik Spoelstra in Miami, but let’s be honest, he doesn’t do that much coaching.
So it’s a two-man race between Popovich and Thibodeau in my mind. I give the edge to Thibs right now, but if the Bulls were to tank the end of the season, and the Spurs were to pass the Thunder, then we’ll have a different conversation. Either way, what Pop has done here in San Antonio this season and in all his previous years is amazing. Everyone knows he’s one of the greatest coaches of all time, he doesn’t need an award to prove it.
Come on. For years and years the Spurs have been a defensive Juggernaut...to the point of being called boring by the majority of NBA watchers. But Pop has completely refocused his approach towards the game and, using most of the same players, turned his historic defensive mindset to an offensive mindset, this year being near the top in PPG average. Can you name any other coach who has 'changed direction in mid-stream' and been so overwhelmingly successful? Hmmm?
Ooooh. D-Rose has been injured most of the year and the Bulls still have the best record........IN THE EAST.
Who cares. Can you imagine if the Spurs were in the Eastern Conference? We'd probably have half as many losses as we currently do.
So, the Bulls managed to beat the crap out of a bunch of bottom feeders in the LEASTern Conference. Take a look at the Standings in the West from 6-10. Only 2 games seperate the Mavs at 6th from the Suns at 10th. And Portland is technically not out of the race at 11th.
The LEASTern Conference? Please. 1-7 is pretty much a lock and you have the Knicks and Bucks fighting for 8th. And then it's over.
Completely unimpressive (the job the Thibs has done). I would actually argue that George Karl deserves more consideration for COY honors. He's kept the Nuggets afloat in the West WITHOUT EVEN ONE all-star caliber player. You take their best player (Gallanari?) and put him on any other playoff team, and he's a 2nd or 3rd option, depending on the team. Karl has done is it with basically a team of role players. Masterful job.
Pop has the Spurs one game in the loss column away from being 1st in the West. All while Tim and Manu are avging 28 and 23 mins per game, respectively. And Tony is averaging 33. Not exactly a league leader in that regard.
Couldn't disagree more about Thibs.
Pop, Karl or even Doc Rivers (post-all star break Celtics are playing wonderful defense) are way more deserving of the honor.
Not likely thibs wins back to back. History says nobody on this list gets it. The award doesn't go to the same coach twice. In 50 yrs there have been 40 different winners
Forgot to throw in that we did it in the deeper western conference and we only trail Chicago by 3 games which means we even have a shot at taking the best record in the league.
We are playing better and are deeper than the team that won 61 games last year
I agree that it comes down to Thibs and Pop, but I think Pop gets this one. The Bulls are exactly where everyone thought they'd be this year. Did anyone not expect the Bulls to finish in the top two in the Eastern Conference? Then you have the Spurs, where every pundit and blogger alike stated that the Spurs were too old, too small and that our title window was shut. Now we are a legitimate contender! We lost Manu for a substantial amount of time as well
@russman138 Exactly! You can say all you want about thins but pop easily gets it. Number 6 down from the east is a joke. Where in the west the top 9 teams all could make the western conference finals, or even the playoffs. You can only assume it's going to be Chicago or Miami. In the west it could be anyone. Pop also only really has the big 3. The rest are still fairly new and young but somehow he's made that our strong point. He's molding them into what he wants them to be. Pop is the greatest nba coach ever. No bias whatsoever