The 2017-18 NBA regular season is going to be wrapped up in a couple days. It’s time for end of the season NBA awards. This year, the race for most NBA awards including NBA Coach of the year is too close. There are more than half a dozen coaches who have done something spectacular this season. We’ve narrowed it down to top 3.
1. Terry Stotts
The Portland Trail Blazers struggled in the first half of the season but were able to get themselves back up to the 3rd seed in the wild wild west. There’s a lot of reasons for their incredible second half of the season but the one standout reason is Terry Stotts. Stotts has been able to run the Blazers offense like clockwork this season all the while getting stops on the defensive end. They are a top 10 defense in the league and have finished the regular season with the 3rd seed and a 49-33 record.
Blazers have been able to play the best to their abilities while knowing their shortcomings. They have been able to hang with teams like Rockets and Warriors. Yusuf Nurkic has had a breakout season of sorts. The backcourt duo of C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard is still one of the best duos in the entire NBA and they have serviceable players in Evan Turner and Al-Farouq Aminu. More than that, they have a real shot at getting out of the first round of the playoffs this season. Stotts will be getting some votes for sure.
2. Dwane Casey
For a long time, Toronto Raptors was the team that carried the title of underachievers. This was the season that they would completely break out and come out at the top in the eastern conference. This Raptors team broke the all time Raptors franchise record of 57 regular season wins by winning 59 games. It isn’t just about the numbers, everything has changed up north.
Toronto was a team which until last season was heavily criticised for not playing like a unit and heavily relying on DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. Well, critics are all about praising them this season. Toronto sports the best bench in the league this season and the second best bench is no match for them. Both DeRozan and Lowry were given significant but limited roles by Dwane Casey. Both of these all stars saw significant dips in scoring but Casey was able to run an all-inclusive offense that ranks top 5 in the league. The Raptors are also a top 5 defense.
All of this sums up to an all time great regular season led by potentially the Coach of the year.
3. Brad Stevens
There aren’t a lot of coaches in the NBA that can carry their team to a 55-27 record after losing both their all stars to injuries. Well, Stevens is not part of that club. Even after losing Gordon Hayward on opening night and Kyrie Irving in March, the Celtics were able to hold their ground and end the regular season as the 2nd seed in the eastern conference.
In a span of just 82 games, Stevens was able to mould a young rookie Jayson Tatum into a legit NBA starter every team would want. The Celtics offense was just about mediocre but it was their third best defense that helped them win games when it mattered the most. A couple Celtics are sure to make the All NBA Defensive team. Terry Rozier stepped up in the absence of Kyrie Irving. Tatum and Brown are already elite wing defenders. The Brad Stevens offense runs at a snail’s pace which is enough to slow down the Rockets and Warriors of the league.
Brad Stevens has pulled off the best ‘Gregg Popovich’ impersonation the league has seen in a long time and that is worth the Coach of the year award.