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'17/'18 NBA Coach of the Year

Every ranking discussion has the same flaw. We often talk about apples and oranges while comparing and ranking. Don’t get me wrong, that's a valid argument to have. But it requires you to say why do you think that an apple is, for instance, more valuable/better than an orange and usually your explanation to that question will lead to the most interesting conversation.

This NBA season was supposed to be boring. Cavs and Warriors will dominate, there may be a few interesting playoff rounds and we would get Warriors vs. Cavs part 4 with the Warriors winning another ring. This was a summary of almost every news outlet before the season. Not even close.

A lot of teams surprised and overachieved so we have more candidates for coach of the year than usual. I’m going to write about every coach and then at the end just say who I would vote for. This is not a ranking. This is an overview and in the end, I will say why I think an apple is better than all the other fruit.

Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors

At the end of last season, many saw Kyle Lowry out of Toronto, predicted a semi rebuild, and talked about DeRozan's limits due to a lack of a 3-point shot. They didn’t play a modern style of basketball and were a good regular season team but would fall short in the playoffs.

Lowry is in Toronto, there was no rebuild, DeRozan has become a perimeter threat and they are playing a different, more modern, brand of basketball. In his 7th season with the team, Dwane Casey not only got the stars to evolve but he is also coaching the deadliest bench in the NBA. There is only one thing they need to do to prove every prediction wrong, but there is a guy from Akron who still may be too much to handle.

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

The first game of the season and your max contract guy is out for the year. You have a rookie and a second-year guy starting, 80% of your starting five never played a game together before the season and you are sitting comfortably as the second seed in the East. Not to mention the 16 game win streak at the beginning of the season. You know, the time teams need to ‘’get to know each other before they start playing well’’.

There are a few things coaches use to compare each other amongst themselves. Plays you run after time-outs and out of bounds plays are amongst the ones at the top of that list. The logic behind it is simple: these are the ones where the coach has full control of what is about to happen. These are the plays that Brad Stevens truly shines in and is the envy of almost every other coach in the league.

Brett Brown, Philadelphia 76ers

The man should get a lifetime achievement award just for staying positive and having a smile on his face through The Process. Early into the season, you could read a comment here or there that as much as the franchise appreciated Brown's patience, its time for him to start racking up wins. Some doubted him. They were wrong.

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His best player can’t play in back-to-back games and is on a minutes restriction. His second-best player is a point guard with no perimeter shooting in this 3 point league and is probably shooting with the wrong hand. His no.1 pick just started playing after going through a bizarre shoulder thing that had 76ers fans watching every shootaround with a tear in their eye. Yet here they are, sitting as the 4th seed with 47 wins and if Embiid manages to return from his facial injury every team in the playoffs would gladly play someone else. This was the first season where all these players were truly available to Brett Brown and to manage all these disadvantages and make them gel as a team so quickly is truly impressive.

Nate McMillan, Indiana Pacers

Another team destined for the draft lottery, the Pacers dramatically ‘’lost’’ a trade with OKC and ‘’GAVE AWAY’’ Paul George for Oladipo and Sabonis. Let’s be real, as much as it’s not a secret Russell Westbrook isn’t really easy to play with and doesn’t maximize his teammates potential, no-one could predict Oladipo exploding into the player (and most improved player of the year) that he is.

That being said, what gives McMillan a legitimate claim is a fact he realized the player that he has on offense and gave him free rein. More importantly, the Pacers are where they are very much to the fact that a starting lineup of Bogdanovic - Collison - Oladipo - Turner - Young is currently the 7th ranked defense in the league.

Mike D’Antoni, Houston Rockets

Do I need to explain it? The only discussion that could be had is that this is just a team that’s perfecting what they already did last year with an upgraded roster with Chris Paul, PJ Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. It is very easy to forget that there was a lot of ‘’only one ball’’ talk when they traded for CP3. Might I add that Vegas just gave them the same odds to win in the Finals as the Warriors? Many coaches will say that that small jump from very good to excellent is the hardest thing to do in sports.

Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers

The team with two short guys (in NBA standards) at the perimeter is a top 10 defense. Whenever someone would doubt the Blazers, the ability of Lillard and McCollum to be a good defensive tandem on the perimeter would be the first thing they say. Yet here we are with defense being what stands out about the Blazers this season. Coach Stotts got the team to buy in, play his system and the results have paid off. The offense has actually been stopped and go this season, but that can be attributed to injuries. They are in the 3rd seed, better than the Spurs, OKC, Minnesota, and all the other teams that make the West so loaded. No one predicted this and a lot of the credit goes go to the coach.

Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz

They lost Hayward to the Celtics and Gobert was out for a significant portion of the season, yet the Jazz is again beating the odds and is currently the 4th seed. They play a rookie at the point guard position, and while a lot of credit goes to Mitchell himself for the spectacular seasons he is been having, can you honestly say that he would have such a season in Sacramento or Orlando? Coach Snyder keeps finding ways to get players to overachieve and play with a team-first mentality. This is not a roster you would say would be in front of OKC, Minnesota, or the Spurs, yet here they are, 5 games before the end of the season.

Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs

Before you roll your eyes, this is not a ‘’he should always be on the list’’ kind of thing. Pop did something different this year. His star player was acting in a way a Spurs player never does and he still managed to handle it without any drama. He also did something a coach rarely does. He admitted he was forcing Aldrige to be something he can’t be, admitted he was wrong, and changed the way they play. By the way, they are the best defense in the league, the only team holding opponents under 100 points per game, and if you are not a Spurs fan you probably wouldn’t be able to name their starting five. Just because we have seen him do it before doesn’t mean it’s not impressive.

COACH OF THE YEAR: DWANE CASEY

Change. That's my apple. What makes Casey stand out is his ability to change the way the team plays. That required him to convince accept his ideas and concepts can improve then convince DeMar that he should change and then everyone else can follow. As history teaches us this is the rarest thing you will see in an NBA coach and that’s why I value it more than other the achievements other coaches have done. A counterpart of that is coach Thibodeau in Minnesota. A defensive guru that only has a top 10 defense if it’s anchored by Kevin Garnett or Joakim Noah in their prime. Thibs spent his season off visiting teams, supposedly evolving his thinking, and then he just did the same thing he did in Chicago. We even reached a point where players publicly started to appeal to have their minutes reduced. Hearing that made me appreciate Dwane Casey even more. The second part of it is the bench. This is where coaching truly shows, developing, and empowering the role players to make all the difference in the world and the Raptors have the most dominant bench by far.

How do you like them apples?

Los Angeles Lakers forward A.C. Green

“You only missed 3 games in 15 years?!” — Byron Scott sits down with ironman A.C. Green

It's been two decades but Byron Scott still can't fathom former teammate A.C. Green's iron man streak.

Milwaukee Bucks head coach George Karl and Anthony Mason

“The huddles were the worst” — Ray Allen on chaotic Milwaukee Bucks with George Karl and Anthony Mason

It didn't take long for Ray Allen to realize bringing in Anthony Mason was a terrible idea

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

“I can tell you the truth and it won't sound like false modesty” — Michael Jordan on what made him a special basketball player

Tony Robbins asked MJ what made him the greatest player of all time, and he loved Jordan's answer.

Philadelphia 76ers forward P.J. Tucker

“As long as we’re winning, it doesn’t matter” — P.J. Tucker on his lack of shots on the Philadelphia 76ers

Tucker acknowledged the absence of James Harden is impacting his offensive output.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley and Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut

“He has zero technical fouls in 15 seasons, that’s amazing” — Andrew Bogut astonished by unbelievable Mike Conley stat

In almost 1000 NBA games, Mike Conley was the ultimate professional and Andrew Bogut is putting the spotlight on that.