Mike Brown, the new favorite?
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. Joe Mazzulla, Mike Brown, Mike Malone, Jacque Vaughn, who else will win the prized statuette?
(Statistics from February 2)
#10 – JB Bickerstaff (-2)
Record: 31-22, fifth in the Eastern Conference
We start with our bouncer, the door holder of the ranking and our pick this month for JB Bickerstaff. The Cavs coach can still boast a very satisfactory record at the accounting level, but we feel that Cleveland is slightly behind the best formations in the East. Everything is starting to settle as the Cavs are still searching for the right formula to fuel at full strength. Barring a rare final rush, the old Jean-Baptiste won’t be in the running for coach of the year.
#9 – Rick Carlisle (-3)
Record: 24-28, tenth in the Eastern Conference
Rick Carlisle is still part of the gratin at the end of January but we don’t think it will last long given the Pacers’ descent into hell for a dozen games. Tyrese Haliburton on the sidelines, Indiana can’t even tie his shoelaces. The impending return of the point guard should restore some order to the house and, who knows, maybe the Pacers are even in the play-in race. The extension of Myles Turner in any case gives the impression that the end of the season will not be as chaotic as last year.
#8 – Will Hardy (starter)
Record: 27-26, ninth in the Western Conference
We left them with a rough end to the year 2022 but our friends in the Jazz are still there and most importantly still in the race for a spot in the Playoffs. Between the All-Star perfs of a Lauri Markkanen, the hot shooting of Jordan Clarkson, the nice surprises of the collective (especially Kessler), this Utah team is far from being the punching bag we all hoped it would be. For his first time on an NBA bench, Will Hardy quickly united his group. We now wait to see what the sequel has in store as the franchise was announced to be very active at the trade deadline.
#7 – Mike Budenholzer (+2)
Record: 34-17, second in the Eastern Conference
Will the twists of fate leave the Bucks? You have four hours. More seriously, Mike Budenholzer has had to tinker constantly in recent months. Khris Middleton just returned to form, now there’s Bobby Portis squatting in the infirmary, we’re still waiting for Milwaukee to be complete and 100%. Will this happen at the end of time? We wish them well, especially since there really is a way to get a new NBA Finals two years after the title. This will be even more true if the franchise makes some smart moves at the deadline (Crowder?).
#6 – Willie Green (-5)
Record: 26-26, tenth in the Western Conference
Head of our last ranking, it was a cold shower for Willie Green. No one could blame the former rear, who unfortunately saw his leaders chaining the passages to the infirmary. Between Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, it almost looked like a black cat took up residence in the Smoothie King Center. If the soldiers were able to fill the gap for a while, the truth eventually caught up with the Pels, who had a nine-game losing streak and now a place in the soft belly of the Western Conference. We are not taking anything away from the work done by Green but at some point the balance cannot be ignored.
#5 – Taylor Jenkins (-2)
Record: 32-19, second in the Western Conference
For two years Taylor Jenkins’ song may have been “always placed without a winner”. Again the Grizzlies guru should not be blamed even if Memphis has shown great irregularity in recent weeks, being able to match his all-time winning streak and not putting one foot in front of the other. Outside difficulties remain a problem to manage if this group wants to go far in the Playoffs. That’s also where we’ll be keeping a close eye on the trade deadline as the Oursons could receive reinforcements to help them make a run in the spring. (OG Anunoby?)
#4 – Mike Malone (=)
Record: 35-16, first in the Western Conference
Fourth in our ranking, Mike Malone is currently having a great season with the Rockies. Denver is number one in the West and close to the Celtics for the best record, the whole group is pulling, Nikola Jokic is close to the third consecutive MVP. In other words, everything rolled and in principle that would be enough to win the small statuette. We say good in principle because we left Malone at the foot of the podium in favor of three boys who each managed to shine despite a framework that was by no means a gift. The balance sheet necessarily counts but the narrative also plays a part in the final result.
#3 – Jacques Vaughn (+2)
Record: 31-20 (29-15 since taking office), fourth in Eastern Conference
Who would have thought that Jacque Vaughn would turn the Nets back into the best team in the League? At the time of his appointment, we would not have cut our hand. It must be said that the first steps of the favorite bearded man from Brooklyn as number one in Orlando did not mark the observers. However, the leaders’ bet paid off, and Vaughn got his players to live up to his word, finishing 2022 very strong with a big streak of victories. The rise has been slowed by Kevin Durant’s injury but it’s clear the Nets will be a legitimate contender by the end of the season in the East. Considering the turmoil within the franchise at the time of his arrival, much respect to Vaughn.
#2 – Joe Mazzulla (=)
Record: 37-15, first in the Eastern Conference.
He doesn’t leave our podium but on the second step we find this time Joe Mazzulla. Who still thinks of Ime Udoka today? Boston’s interim coach probably doesn’t do that much. His executives only praise his methods, aside from a few (rare) setbacks, the Celtics are on their way to the top of the League and are clear favorites to play in the NBA Finals again next June. It will also be interesting to see if Mazzulla can easily emerge for his first Playoffs. Right now, we’re not too worried about him strangely.
#1 – Mike Brown (+6)
Record: 29-21, third in the Western Conference
A first season reward for a King since 2010? Possible! Since Tyreke Evans and his Rookie of the Year title, no Sacramento player or coach has returned to the top. Mike Brown has an even greater record for Coach Of the Year. Bring the Kings back to the Playoffs? The challenge is huge. Putting them on the podium in the West in their first year? We are witnessing a real revolution in California and everyone is starting to love this long derided “Beam Team”. This is to say if Mike Brown has been able to turn things around since he came to the franchise.