Coach of the Year
Winner- Tom Thibodeau- Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls have emerged as a serious Eastern Conference contender and they are looking to capture the top seed in the Eeat. The Bulls have transformed from an eight seeded team to a upper echelon squad due in large part to Derrick Rose, but also the hiring of defensive minded coach Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau, a defensive maestro, changed the landscape of the Boston Celtics and he was the mastermind behind the Celtics’ defensive success in 2008 and 2009.
This season, Thibodeau is forcing his young Bulls team to make defense their top priority and his motives are clearly the reason why the Bulls are able to beat the top teams in the NBA. The Bulls currently allow the fewest points per game in the NBA, and they are definitely capable of knocking off an Eastern Conference powerhouse in the playoffs. Tom Thibodeau converted the Bulls from an offensive oriented team to a squad that prides itself not on scoring 100 points, but holding the opponent under 100 points.
Runner-up- Phil Jackson- Los Angeles Lakers
Phil Jackson has 11 NBA championship rings in his closet, but there are a lack of Coach of the Year trophies in that closet. Jackson is regarded as the best coach in professional sports, and he has a unique way in dealing with his team and its problems. Jackson is a stoic coach, and he has a laid-back attitude when sitting on his throne. Jackson has been consistent his entire career, and a 55-win season is nothing new to the Montana-native.
Although consistency is something worth praising, that characteristic has hurt Jackson in his quest for the Coach of the Year award. If any other coach were to lock-up a top seed in their conference or win 50+ games he would surely win the accolade, but since Jackson does it every season the feat is overlooked.
3rd Place- George Karl- Denver Nuggets
George Karl of the Denver Nuggets had been dealing with team issues for the entire season and he had to battle Carmelo Anthony rumors nearly every night. However, the resilient Karl never let the media faze him and he continued to coach his Nuggets. Once the “Melo-Drama” ended, Karl had to integrate several new players into his system, a process which can take several months. Many believed the Nuggets would falter and that the Carmelo trade would lead to the demise of the team. However, Denver accepted Karl’s philosophy and they are playing better basketball without ‘Melo than with him.