Joe Mazzulla has a title for his first season?
We tend to criticize them when they make mistakes and they are often the first lock to jump if the team is in crisis, but NBA coaches can also do a great job and this is an opportunity to offer them some light through this ranking of Coach Of the Year or COY for close friends. Monty Williams is the king of tablets and felt in 2022, who will replace him this season? From Will Hardy to Joe Mazzulla, there are some great candidates.
(Statistics from December 1)
# Honorable Mentions: Taylor Jenkins, Chauncey Billups, Jacque Vaughn
#10 – Will Hardy
Record: 13-11, seventh in the Western Conference
Gone are Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, a workforce that promised careful destruction, it would be an understatement if Will Hardy risked having his work cut out for his debut as a Utah coach. Despite a group that was built a little hastily and lacked the usual experience, the former protégé of Gregg Popovich very quickly knew how to impose his foot and build a very good collective in Salt Lake City, capable of taking down even the top name If we had to do this ranking a few weeks ago when the Jazz were at the top of their Conference, surely this beautiful Will would probably be on the podium, but the recent losing streak has calmed the hype a bit. Since we promised hell in Utah at the beginning of the season, it deserves some credit with a spot in the Top 10.
#9 – Mike Budenholzer
Record: 15-5, second in the Eastern Conference
Despite constant injuries within the workforce, the Bucks always arrive at their destination, namely first place in the Eastern Conference. After a happy start (9 consecutive wins), Milwaukee eased up a bit, the fault mainly of some injuries for Giannis Antetokounmpo or Jrue Holiday. When everyone is healthy, this group really has the ability to crush their opponents and the best may be yet to come. Absent at the start of the season, Khris Middleton is expected this Friday against the Lakers. Ah well yes, slamming fifteen wins in twenty games with the number 2 of the franchise on the sidelines, it’s pretty good too.
#8 – Nick Nurse
Record: 11-10, seventh in the Eastern Conference
The years have passed and Nick Nurse remains this tactician that we greatly value on the Ontario side. We were wondering at the start of the season if Toronto could come close to a crowded Eastern Conference and right now the Dinos are getting the job done. The strong is that injuries have also done damage. Pascal Siakam spent some time in the infirmary, VanVleet and Scottie Barnes also missed a few games recently. Inevitably, when most of the leaders are out, it’s more complicated to win but Toronto has the reserves and the other guys are taking the opportunity to show themselves. We think for example of an OG Anunoby who seems to have passed a new milestone this season. Can’t wait for everyone to get out of the infirmary to see the true potential of these Raptors.
#7 – Monty Williams
Record: 15-6, first in the Western Conference
Elected Coach Of the Year by his peers in 2021 and the journalists’ pick in 2022 following a historic season in Arizona, Monty Williams is in the running for the double. Positive point for the Suns boss, a very serious start to the season again, despite some small problems to manage in the side. Chris Paul has already missed eleven games this season, Cam Johnson is quickly joining him in the infirmary and let’s not forget that Jae Crowder, last year’s holder, is in the closet. Despite everything, Phoenix remains the master of the Western Conference and seems to have found its speed cruising on a six-game winning streak. It’s strong, it’s worth underlining even if Monty leaves with a small malus. In the history of the League, no coach has kept his trophy from one year to the next… Can Williams change this sentence?
#6 – JB Bickerstaff
Record: 14-8, third in the Eastern Conference
And if Cleveland brings it out on us this big year we’ve come to expect from them? With an MVPesque Donovan Mitchell backing up, the friends in Ohio are off to a solid start to the season, despite some avoidable losses and a TrashTalk curse stint. JB Bickerstaff managed to make these Cavs likable last year and the question that arises is whether he can manage a team that wants to win. A situation he doesn’t have to manage as much as a temporary worker or coach of a low-ranking team. For the moment, we really want to answer in the affirmative even though there is still work to be confirmed over time. #encouraging
#5 – Mike Malone
Record: 14-7, second in the Western Conference
Maybe it’s because of the lack of network in the mountains of Colorado (honestly, we don’t know) or because of the general hype of the franchise, but Denver is having a great start to the season. The recruitment has paid off and with the injured returning, the team can once again look towards the top of their Conference. Slowly but surely, Denver is establishing itself as a big contender in the West and the scariest thing is that Nikola Jokic doesn’t have to be spectacular every night. We tend to give the Joker all the credit for the franchise’s recent results, but some day Mike Malone has to be given the credit. Always talked about, won’t the Rockies coach be able to pull out of the game this season?
#4 – Mike Brown
Record: 11-9, sixth in the Western Conference
Mocked for years for their inability to make the Playoffs (and more generally for a very disappointing level), the Kings are once again a team to be reckoned with in the West. This sentence is already rare and therefore we send hearts to the one who restored order in the house: Mike Brown. The coach initially known for his defense, Steve Kerr’s former assistant has so far failed to turn Sacramento into an iron defense (far from it) but the fire attack brought by De’Aaron Fox allows the Kings to put many teams through the mill. No more repeated drama in California, we feel a group that lives well, that gains momentum thanks to a recruitment that paid off (especially Kevin Huerter). Not sure if a spot in the Playoffs is enough to make Brown Coach Of the Year but it deserves a big CV line
#3 – Willie Green
Record: 13-8, third in the Western Conference
The Pelicans have flown! Behind a big finish to the season and the strengthening of Zion Williamson (excuse the little), Willie Green is making New Orleans a stronghold in the West. Spectacular, united, ready to give it their all defensively, the Louisiana darlings have a good scarecrow head that no one wants to fall for. Small statistics point out that they are not useless: they are in the Top 10 in offensive and defensive rating. Only Phoenix and Cleveland do as well. With few injuries to the big names (Ingram, McCollum and Zion are all squatting in the infirmary), this team has the potential to have an impressive season. And to think it’s only Green’s second year on the bench… It promises a great career for the former fullback.
#2 – Rick Carlisle
Record: 12-9, fourth in the Eastern Conference.
And if Rick Carlisle is Coach Of the Year again twenty years later? It’s a phrase no one would have bet a penny on at the start of the season. The Pacers? “Between thirteenth and fifteenth place in the East, they still want to rebuild”. Ah, good? Because right now our farmer buddies look more like a Playoffs team than a Lottery team. In the wake of a Tyrese Haliburton caliber MIP, the entire group seems to have stepped-up. Myles Turner? Best year of his life. Benedict Mathurin? It looks like the rookie has a boulevard to become the sixth man of the year. We can also mention Buddy Hield among the executives or the rookie Nembhard who was happy in his debut. Will this idyllic start to the year be affected? It’s a pretty big question that will determine Carlisle’s place in this ranking at the end of the season.
#1 – Joe Mazzulla
Record: 18-4, first in the Eastern Conference, best record in the NBA.
Without the slightest doubt, without the slightest argument, he was the boss at the start of the season. Arriving at the controls of Boston to take over from a suspended Ime Udoka, Joe Mazzulla managed in record time to put his entire group in his pocket. His players continue to praise his methods and the Celtics have had a great first month and a half. The group is strong, sure of its strength, the Jay Brothers have evolved to their best level, we almost forget that Rob Williams still hasn’t set foot on a field. This is the reinforcement that will allow the Greens to regain their defensive strength. For a first time experience in the NBA and the context we knew when he was in office, Joe Mazzulla is doing us very well.