This NBA season features one of the deepest races for Coach of the Year in recent memory. With teams all around the NBA putting up vastly improved seasons compared to last year, it's only right to assume that the guys on the sidelines wearing suits deserve a solid shout-out. With that in mind, let's identify five coaches in hot contention for top honors this year.
5. Tom Thibodeau
Despite looking like a seedy villain in a Netflix original series, Tom Thibodeau has coaxed the absolute maximum out of his young Timberwolves. Now in the third spot in a brutal Western Conference, Thibs has done a terrific job with the team no matter how you slice it.
Gotta deduct points for the Jimmy Buckets injury though. The guy shouldn't be getting 37 minutes per game in a system so physically draining.
4. Mike D'Antoni
The reigning COTY has a legitimate argument for a repeat, something that hasn't been done since... ever (Gregg Popovich won two in thre years, but never went back-to-back). D'Antoni has reinvented the Rockets as the most trigger-happy team from deep in NBA history, and it has paid dividends. They're No. 1 in the NBA -- even above the Golden State Warriors -- and things look good for them in the pivot toward the playoffs.
3. Brad Stevens
Last season, Brad Stevens was ROBBED of his Coach of the Year trophy by D'Antoni. The best player on his team was Isaiah Thomas (look at him now!), yet he still found a way to take his Celtics to the East's No. 1 seed above the Lebron-Kyrie-Love Cavaliers.
The C's now sit in a comfortable second place in the East despite soldiering on without Gordon Hayward, and Stevens has squeezed more than anyone could have imagined out of young guns like Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart. Don't be surprised if another deep playoff run is in the cards.
2. Dwane Casey
It's a shame that there's no award for "most improved coach." If there were, it would without a doubt belong to Dwane Casey.
The Raptors boss has finally moved the team away from an unsightly iso-heavy style while simultaneously turning a bunch of former no-names into the best bench in the NBA.
Don't look now, but they're atop the Eastern Conference. Who could've possibly guessed?
1. Gregg Popovich
I have no idea how the Spurs are currently No. 4 in the West. Their roster is what ought to be a wasteland. It's filled with vets past their prime and unproven young guns. But somehow, they're in contention.
And did I mention that Kawhi Leonard has played nine games all season, making himself into a massive distraction along the way?
The only way that the Spurs are anywhere near this good is Gregg Popovich. Give this man coach of the year again, because despite already having won it three times, he deserves it again.