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Collins or Karl – Coach of Year

Posted By Christopher Rowe On Apr 5 2011 @ 4:08 pm In NBA,Philadelphia,Philadelphia 76ers | 6 Comments

Do not confuse the purpose of the Coach of the Year Award. Player of the Year, Team of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Scorer of the Year, Defender of the Year or Sixth Man of the Year are all VERY different awards. Coach of the Year really comes down to a very exclusive handful of top candidates.

[1]

Popovich

[2]

Thibodeau

Phil Jackson and his (yawn) Lakers have posted 55 wins while San Antonio’s Greg Popovich has 58. Tom Thibodeau has taken the Chicago Bulls with predominantly the same cast of characters (led by Rose, Boozer and Luol Deng) from an 8 seed with a .500 record to the Beast of the [3]East (56 wins). Chicago has won 14 of their last 16 but have also lost to Philadelphia during that stretch. Miami’s Erik Spolestra is required honorable mention but is also criticized because a trained monkey could take the Miami Heat to at least 50 wins. Nate McMillan has been mentioned as well though it is unclear exactly why that is the case …  More impressive even than the efforts of any of these or Doc Rivers perennial success with the Boston Celtics would be two very impressive candidates in two very different situations. Doug Collins and the Philadelphia 76ers  and George Karl with the Denver Nuggets.

[4] [5]Karl and Phil Jackson’s squads have the best record since the All-Star Break (15-4) but Denver was already rolling with a 35-24 record. The difference being that Denver has blown up the team and reinvented themselves on the fly while sending Carmelo Anthony to Madison Square Garden (after “Melo” spent 55 games whining about wanting to leave Denver). These new Nuggets seem to be as good or better than the old Nuggets. With the Nuggets original roster, Karl coached the No. 1 offense in the league. With a completely different kind of roster since the trade, Karl is coaching the No. 1 defense in the league. Case in point:

Nuggets efficiency

Timeframe Record Off. Eff. Rank Def. Eff. Rank Diff. Rank
Pre-break 32-25 109.7 1 107.2 23 +2.5 10
Post-break 15-4 108.8 7 96.6 1 +12.2 1
Overall 47-29 109.5 1 104.5 17 +4.9 7

Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions

[6]The numbers obviously say something about Anthony and the other players involved in the trade. Maybe just as impressive as the Nuggets’ No. 1 ranking defensively (10 point improvement) since the trade is that they’ve been almost as efficient offensively as they were with the guy that was averaging 25 points per game.

[7] [8]Doug Collins returns to Philadephia after decades serving the league as a player and a coach as well as a broadcaster and ambassador. Last year the Sixers (27-55)  finished13th in the Eastern Conference and fans watched in horror while Eddie Jordan’s Princeton offense failed miserably! What’s different for Collins and the Sixers this year? Atitude, teamwork, defense, attendance, wins and of course … Sam Dalembare.

[9]After totalling 27 wins last year, this year’s 76ers reached 27 wins before the All-Star break (second tream in NBA history). Collins and management didn’t overhaul the personnel as their only major moves were to export Samuel Dalembert and Allen Iverson while importing Spencer Hawes. Jodie Meeks was placed into the starting lineup and second overall draft choice Evan Turner would replace Iverson on the roster – though not in the starting lineup.

[10]The Sixers are 38-36 this season under [11]Collins and have improved in every facet of the game. The first 23 games of the season resulted in a 5-18 record before finally buying into Collins’ system. Will 76ers Coach Doug Collins win Coach of the Year?

·Yes  64.6%          ·No  35.4%

Total votes: 514 (and counting) – VOTE BELOW

[12]The key to Collins’ success this season has been getting the team to play tough defense and getting his bench players to work as hard, if not harder, than the starters. Tough defense breeds offense, and the Sixers players are really starting to see what Collins has been talking about. Whatever defensive scheme that Collins can come up with, the team is executing it in a way that can keep it in every single game it plays.

There aren’t many teams in the NBA that can play at an elite level on both ends of the floor. The Miami Heat are the only team that ranks in the top five both offensively (109.3, second) and defensively (100.9, fifth) for the season. Along with the Heat and Nuggets, the Lakers have ranked in the top five on one end of the floor before the All-Star break and on the other end of the floor since. L.A. was the fourth-best offensive team (108.6) before the break and has been the third-best defensive team (97.8) since.

[13]In my humble estimation, NBA Coach of the Year candidates should be:

  1. Collins, Philadelphia
  2. Karl, Denver
  3. Thibodeau, Chicago
  4. Jackson, LA Lakers
  5. Popovich, San Antonio

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