Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy sang the praises of his Jazz counterpart, Quin Snyder, prior to their teams’ game on Wednesday.
“There’s always a lot of good coaching jobs done in this league but you’d have to put him in the top three or four in what’s he’s done with that team and bringing them [up] from last year,” Van Gundy said.
Certainly, Snyder would have to be on anyone’s short list for the NBA Coach of the Year award. The Jazz are cruising along at 18 games over .500 and have moved into fourth place in the Western Conference, ahead of the much-more heralded Clippers and Thunder. Utah suffered through numerous injuries last season and finished two games under .500, just missing the playoffs.
There are a few other coaches who have emerged as candidates for the honor as the regular season winds down. Certainly, the Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni has re-asserted himself as a major force in his profession. Following failed stints with the Knicks and Lakers, D’Antoni seemed to be at the end of his head coaching career.
D’Antoni got another chance in Houston and found the perfect situation because of its commitment to a high-powered offense and the 3-point shot. His decision to make James Harden the primary ballhandler has turned the Rockets into one of the league’s most feared teams, one year removed from a dysfunctional and disappointing season in which the Rockets finished with a .500 record.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is often taken for granted but he’s got his team in position to snatch away the top seed from the Warriors. San Antonio hasn’t missed a beat despite the retirement of Tim Duncan and a backcourt with only one player (Patty Mills) whose PER is above the league average of 15.0.
Over in the Eastern Conference, Wizards coach Scott Brooks has his team within striking distance of the top seed after it finished .500 last season. The Wizards have dealt with chemistry and locker-room issues in recent years but Brooks has them playing harmoniously.
Brad Stevens has continued to keep the Celtics on an upward trajectory, as they currently sit in the No. 2 spot.
The Heat’s stunning turnaround has moved Erik Spoelstra in the conversation. Left for dead at the midway point with an 11-30 record, the Heat have surged into playoff contention despite injuries to several rotation players.
That brings us to our question of the day: Who do you feel is most deserving of the Coach of the Year award and why?
Please take to the comments section to voice your opinion. We look forward to hearing what you have to say.