Mike D’Antoni is a pretty polarizing figure. He had great success as head coach of the Phoenix Suns and helped revolutionize the NBA game. His time as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks, however, were far less successful.
When he was hired to take over the Houston Rockets, no one was quite sure what to expect, but it has been excellent for both him and the Rockets. With the season winding down, most consider Mike D’Antoni the front-runner for the NBA Coach of the Year Award.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson had been critical of D’Antoni in the past, but he was clear in saying that the former Lakers coach should win Coach of the Year this season, via Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston:
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) April 4, 2017
D’Antoni’s system has turned James Harden into one of the frontrunners for MVP along with Russell Westbrook. The Rockets also brought in perfect additions for D’Antoni in players like Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson as well as trading for Lou Williams at the NBA trade deadline. He has done an excellent job at getting everyone to buy in as the Rockets rank second in the NBA in points per game and offensive rating.
Along with D’Antoni, Scott Brooks of the Washington Wizards, Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz, and Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat are sure to get some love for the award as well.
Magic, and general manager Rob Pelinka, both believe the Lakers have a future candidate for the award in Luke Walton though the Lakers have a long way to go before Walton could ever be considered.