11:33am: Kerr has officially won the award, the league announced via press release. Terry Stotts finished a close second, with Gregg Popovich third. The Trail Blazers have yet to pick up their team option on Stotts’ contract for next season, though that figures to be a formality at this point.
10:59am: The NBA will announce Steve Kerr as the winner of the Coach of the Year award, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Kerr missed the first 43 games of the season while recovering from multiple operations on his back, but it appears voters were willing to overlook that in the wake of Golden State’s 73-9 record overall, the best in the history of the league. The Warriors adapted seamlessly to his absence, going 39-4 under acting head coach Luke Walton, who was also eligible for the award.
Kerr, 50, maintained a consistent presence around the team in practices while he was recovering, and it was clear the relaxed tone he set during last year’s championship season remained. He finished second in last year’s voting to Mike Budenholzer. Golden State finished 34-5 this year after Kerr returned in January, though an ankle injury kept presumptive MVP Stephen Curry out of a Game 3 loss to the Rockets in the first round, and a knee injury that will sideline Curry for at least the next two weeks threatens Golden State’s bid for a repeat championship.
Regardless, Kerr has become one of the NBA’s most well-regarded coaches even though he’s only been at the gig for two years. He followed up 15 years as an NBA player with stints as the Suns GM and as a broadcaster, but multiple NBA teams wanted him to hire him as head coach two years when he decided to try the profession. The Knicks lost out to the Warriors in the pursuit of Kerr, despite the presence of Phil Jackson, who coached Kerr on the Bulls in the 1990s, as team president in New York. The Knicks instead hired Derek Fisher, whom they fired midway through this season.
A panel of NBA writers, broadcasters and other journalists voted on the award, with five points for a first-place vote, three points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote. Below, see how each vote-getter ranked, with first-place votes noted where applicable, and click here to see a ballot-by-ballot breakdown.
- Steve Kerr (Warriors) — 64
- Terry Stotts (Trail Blazers) — 37
- Gregg Popovich (Spurs) — 10
- Steve Clifford (Hornets) — 7
- Dwane Casey (Raptors) — 6
- Brad Stevens (Celtics) — 5
- Dave Joerger (Grizzlies) — 1
- Doc Rivers (Clippers)
- Luke Walton (Warriors)
- Erik Spoelstra (Heat)
- Quin Snyder (Jazz)
- Rick Carlisle (Mavericks)
- Mike Budenholzer (Hawks)
- Billy Donovan (Thunder)
Who was your Coach of the Year? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.