FanHouse's Coach of the Year Award
This turned out to be one of those seasons where it would be hard to be wrong in making a pick for Coach of the Year. Eight different coaches were named by our voters, and it was so close that we ended up with a tie for third place. But the one man that stood out above the rest was the one holding the clipboard to your right.
Here's how the voting shook out:
1. Stan Van Gundy
2. Mike Brown
3. George Karl, Nate McMillan (tie)
Van Gundy and Brown each received three first place votes and one vote for second, but Van Gundy made it onto all six ballots, while Brown was named on just four. The voting was identical for Karl and McMillan, with each receiving one second and two third-place votes.
Rick Adelman, Erik Spoelstra, Larry Brown, and Phil Jackson all received votes as well.
I think Matt Moore summed up the job Van Gundy has done pretty nicely:
"Is everyone aware that this team relies on Rashard Lewis at power forward, Hedo Turkoglu at small forward, and lost their starting point guard? And they're the three seed?"
Losing Nelson and keeping it together was precisely my reasoning for giving Van Gundy the nod over Mike Brown (whom I left off my ballot in favor of McMillan and Karl). Besides, Brown might have done his best coaching in the off-season, when he empowered an assistant coach that knows something about offense to take on a larger role. This isn't an award for making smart staff hiring decisions, however, and when you have a player like LeBron James, he can single-handedly make up for any coaching deficiencies that might otherwise be exposed.