April 24, 2007

Avery Johnson 3rd in Coach of the Year voting


Johnson, who won the award last season then guided the Mavericks to a 67-15 regular-season record in 2006-07, finished third in the voting. Toronto's Sam Mitchell won the award, and Utah's Jerry Sloan finished second in the voting.

This is quite ridiculous. If a coach deserved to win back-to-back awards, it would be Avery Johnson. He took a team that blew a colossal lead in the Finals and turned them into a better team. Sure, they were expected to be good and many expected them to be #1 in the West, if not the NBA. They did those things, but does that mean that we should shrug off his efforts? No. The Mavs could have gone 1 of 2 ways - the NFL way, in which the losing championship team sucks for many years, or the way he did take them, crafting the team in a way that improves their strengths and masks their weaknesses as much as possible. Not only that but they recorded the best record in the league, the best record in franchise history, started 0-4 and still ended up with the 4th-best record in NBA history with many many record-breaking stats, including four 10-game+ winning streaks. Dallas has turned itself into a beast and much of that is because of all the work Avery Johnson puts in.

Hard to understand this one, although everyone goes for the surprises. It's always a vote for the "surprise" which is dumb. Sure, nobody expected Toronto to be as good as they were, but they ended up getting the #3 seed in the East, which means nothing these days. Just because they had the biggest turnaround of any team in the league, does that mean the coach should get the award? Of course not. Turnarounds are nice, but it goes beyond coaching although that plays a great role. If Toronto actually did anything worthwhile, maybe I would reconsider. But they haven't. Sloan was expected to be in the running and there he was, also ahead of Avery Johnson with the Utah Jazz. Another surprise-type move, though not as much. The Jazz were much better than people gave them credit for and I would have given Sloan the award at the halfway point of the year, but not the entire team. The Jazz were the hottest team in the league at the start. They were simply amazing for a while. Now they are #4 in the West, but basically being treated as the #5 since they don't have home-court advantage. They dropped the first 2 games to the Rockets. Sloan has always been a good coach, and he should have been given consideration. But the Jazz didn't pan out the entire year, so it doesn't make sense that he should get more votes than Johnson, as he should have gotten more votes than Mitchell.

1) Johnson
2) Sloan
3) Mitchell

That's how it should have been, folks.