On Wednesday, the National Basketball Coaches Association announced that Raptors headman Dwane Casey had been named the organization’s Coach of the Year.
That result was not controversial, as Casey had an excellent year in leading the Raptors to the best record in the Eastern Conference. The rest of the voting, however, raised some eyebrows. Here are the coaches who received votes from their colleagues:
- Brett Brown, Sixers
- Mike D’Antoni, Rockets
- Nate McMillan, Pacers
- Gregg Popovich, Spurs
- Doc Rivers, Clippers
- Quin Snyder, Jazz
- Terry Stotts, Trail Blazers
Notice who’s missing? That would be Boston Celtics wonder-boy coach Brad Stevens, who many people expect to win the main writer-selected Coach of the Year award. Zero of the league’s 29 other coaches voted for him.
It’s hard to know what’s up here. Do coaches resent the positive attention Stevens gets, despite his relative lack of tenure? Did each voter simply prefer someone else? Many of the guys who got votes are indeed credible candidates, but it’s hard to argue that Rivers, whose Clippers went 42-40 and missed the playoffs, had a better season than Stevens, whose injury-plagued Celtics went 55-27 and finished second in the Eastern Conference.
“The way that thing works is you get one vote. And I’m telling you, I looked at the sheet and there’s no way that I would have voted for me over any of the other 29 people,” Stevens said. “And the guy that should have won got it. And the other guys that got votes, they’re unbelievable.
“I’m stealing from those guys all the time. It’s so incredible to have an opportunity to be one of 30. And I think it’s a lot more important to just focus on competing with your team rather than trying to compare yourself to others. Because I’m telling you, if it gets to be a comparison contest, I’m screwed.”
Stevens can take comfort in the fact that if the award were voted on after the playoffs, he would almost certainly have a leg up on Casey, whose Raptors were swept by the Cavaliers.