Who’s Coach of the Year bid got better/worse after the first round of the playoffs?
Here are this year’s candidates for the award along with their first round results:
Boston – Brad Stevens – Beat Bucks 4-3
Portland – Terry Stotts – Swept by Pelicans
San Antonio – Gregg Popovich – Lost 4-1 to Warriors
Toronto – Dwayne Casey – Beat Wizards 4-2
Utah – Quin Snyder – Beat Thunder 4-2
Brad Stevens worked his wonders again, taking down Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks for a first round victory. Although it took them 7 games to do so, the Celtics are still without All Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. The emergence of Terry Rozier as well as the return of scrappy defensive guard Marcus Smart were key in Boston’s success.
Portland’s regular season success came as a big surprise, and so did their postseason meltdown. Terry Stotts fine-tuned the Blazer’s defense to match up with CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard’s offensive prowess to go on a winning streak that landed them the 3rd spot in the competitive West. Credit should be given to the Pelicans for how their stars performed on the big stage, but Portland has no excuse for not taking even one game in the series. All of that regular season glory was forgotten in a four game instant.
Gregg Popovich may retire soon as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. Kawhi Leonard’s injury really set back the Spurs’ team, but they were able to make the playoffs in a very competitive Western Conference nonetheless. Unfortunately, Lamarcus Aldridge’s heroics were only enough to steal one game away from the Warriors on their way to a first round exit.
Toronto continues to prove the skeptics wrong and will undoubtedly be tested once again by Lebron James and the Cavs. Dwayne Casey has been at the forefront, and the best bench in the NBA is anchoring the Raptors to a potential NBA championship. (If they can get by the King of course)
Overrated as a team or not, a series win over OKC is impressive, especially when your leading scorer is a rookie. Quin Snyder is performing magic in Utah with a team most thought wouldn’t sniff the playoffs after the departure of Gordon Hayward. Not only did they make the playoffs, but they eliminated an All-Star heavy roster in the first round in impressive fashion.
If we are still keeping track of Coach of the Year resumes, we now have our top 3. Only time will tell how they are able to guide their teams for the remainder of the postseason.
Featured Photo Source: slamonline.com
Stevens Photo: nba.com
Stotts Photo: blazersedge.com
Popovich Photo: bloomberg.com
Casey Photo: express.co.uk
Snyder Photo: chicagotribune.com