• OTG Staff

Roundtable: Who Is the Coach of the Year?


It's time for another roundtable, we've been dishing these out over at OTG more times than Russell Westbrook records a triple-double. Okay, maybe not, but it feels pretty damn close to that. A better example may be the revolving door of head coaches over in Sacramento or the amount of knee injuries Derrick Rose has suffered. Hopefully, one of them landed and hit home with you, the reader. This roundtable we discuss who our choices are for Coach of the Year, proudly, we all don't agree.

Jake Hirsohn - @JakeHirsohn

Mike D’Antoni, Houston Rockets

Consider this a shot across the bow to all the worshippers of above-averageness across the league.

“The Celtics lost Gordon Hayward and are still good!”

“The Pacers are so much better than we thought they would be!”

Snooze button. The Rockets are the greatest offensive team in history and are making a legitimate run at the Golden State Warriors’ throne. Reward greatness, not unexpected goodness.

Mike D’Antoni is your back-to-back Coach of the Year.

Mike Ciervo - @4th_mike

Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers

Ok, ok, maybe I’m caught up in the hype of the Blazers winning 10 in a row, but when you take a deep look at the roster, how this team is 41-26 has to be attributed to the coaching and the team buying into Stotts’ defensive brand of basketball. One of the best pure shooting defenses in the league that also allows the least amount of assists per game, Portland has leaned on the D all year, holding opponents to 103.2 PPG, 4th best in the NBA. Stotts’ platoon is also a top 10 rebounding team and has managed to get decent bench production from Shabazz Napier who is averaging his highest PPG of his career. Currently 3rd in the West, Stotts has put an exciting competitive team on the floor whose defensive philosophy and culture has elevated the team beyond pre-season expectations.

Jonathan Ebrahimi - @awrashoo

Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs

One could make an argument that Gregg Popovich should win Coach of the Year every season. He’s not only the best coach in the current day NBA, he’s also arguably the greatest coach of all-time. With that being said, this year it’s tough to argue against him. How many other coaches could lost their star player for the entire season and still keep their team afloat in the Western conference. There is still a very real chance of the Spurs finishing the season with the number 3 seed, and that is entirely due to Popovich’s brilliance. He gets the absolute most out of his players whether it’s Tony Parker or Patty Mills. Even the way Popovich has handled the media in regards to Kawhi’s displeasure with the Spurs has been masterful.

Dennis Dow - @dennisdownba

Dwayne Casey, Toronto Raptors

Dwayne Casey has done his best Gregg Popovich impression this year. He has used the regular season as a way to get his team ready for the postseason by playing his stars less minutes and giving big time minutes to his bench. His bench players have answered the call and the Raptors look poised to make a serious run for the Finals. Any coach that is willing to change this drastically in their approach to the game deserves a great deal of admiration. Casey took a chance that could’ve cost him his job and instead he has his team poised to finish with the best record in franchise history

Jac Manuell - @TheJManJBT

Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors

The Coach of the Year is essentially a Most Improved Player award but for the coaches. The winners are generally those who resurrect their own career, the fortunes of their team, or in Toronto Raptors’ coach, Dwane Casey’s case, both. Casey was rumored to be on the hotseat going into the 2017-18 season with general manager Masai Ujiri looking for an on-court transformation for the league’s only Canadian team. The fact that such a change came from the franchise’s longest tenured coach is testament to Ujiri and the front office but more importantly, Casey himself.He’s inspired the new offensive system that has earned his team the league’s third best record, and their defense hasn’t been too shoddy either. Earlier in the year I predicted Brad Stevens would win Coach of the Year honors and he still might. It’s just hard to argue against a man who helms a team projected to win 60 games while many NBA pundits had already written him and his team off.

Evan Dyal - @EvanDyal

Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors

For Coach of the Year give me Dwayne Casey of the Toronto Raptors. Casey in his seventh season did a great job of reinventing the Raptors offense in the offseason. He put more emphasis on ball movement and three-point shooting, and it has paid off. Casey has done an excellent job developing his young players, giving them confidence and experimenting with different lineups throughout the season. He has also got players like DeMar DeRozan to improve his three-point shooting and passing, and he got Jonas Valanciunas to hit threes. Toronto is now the one seed in the East and a legit finals contender, Casey deserves a lot of praise for that.

Michael Sanchez - @imlaotino

Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors

It still boggles my mind seeing the Toronto Raptors atop the East standings. Even though Casey still has another year left on his deal, he’s coaching like it’s a contract year for him. Just when you think the Raptors have hit their ceiling as playoff fodder for Cleveland, Casey has managed to coach them up to another level. The Raptors are the only team that are top 5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. He has not only made a great defensive team better, but he has also revamped the offense emphasizing more ball movement to lessen the load on DeMar Derozan. His coaching fate is still tied to his playoff success, but if nothing else, Casey has managed to cool down his seat that seems to get warmer by the year.

Kory Waldron - @Kwalhoops

Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors

Alrighty then, first off let me just give an explanation to why this gif above was selected. I've been known as a Raptors hater, to a degree, they tend to make me look like a fool whenever I start to say they're a threat in the East. Which then leads me to bashing everyone up and down the roster. Perhaps my blessing is bad luck for them, anyways, this gif is me sucked back into believing in the Raptors. Although I'd love to say Nate McMillan from the Indiana Pacers, I simply can't. Dwane Casey has truly done a terrific job this year, he's reshaped the offense where ball movement now occurs. The defense has remained tough, and the bench actually contributes! DeMar DeRozan learned how to drain threes, Kyle Lowry may actually be healthy come late April. A NBA Finals appearance for the Raptors should happen with the current layout in the East and with that, Casey should win Coach of the Year, the Raptors are not extinct.

Kyle Zwiazek - @Kyle_Zwiazek

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

Brad Stevens is someone who does not get enough credit for his skills as a coach. This is finally the year that he wins Coach of the Year, even though he could have won the last two years. Stevens has taken his team and put his players in the right position to win every night. People thought the Celtics would be solid this season, but Stevens has them in contention to make it to the NBA Finals.

Dominic Roney - @Domroney

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

Brad Stevens and the Celtics season started off with only four players returning from last year’s roster, only one of them a previous starter, Al Horford. To top that off, the big name free agent in Gordon Hayward goes down for the season, in the first minutes of the first game. How does Stevens answer back? A 16-game win streak. Stevens has taken a new group of guys, the majority of which are very young, and turned them into a legitimate championship contender, even without Hayward. Boston sat at the 1st seed for most of the season and sit only five games back from the 1st seed now. Stevens has kept the Celtics alive and thriving throughout all the adversity thrown at them and has shown this is a team to take seriously come playoffs. If this team comes out as the 1st or 2nd seed and at the very least makes it to the Eastern Conference Finals, Brad Stevens should be a shoe in for Coach of the Year. The only exception is Dwane Casey. If Casey can coach Toronto to the Finals, then it would make sense for him to win it. But until that happens nobody else comes close to Stevens in this race.

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