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Gregg Popovich has Rick Adelman’s support for COY

Mar 13, 2011, 3:00 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

Coach of the Year may come down to whether you’re old school or new school this year.

The expected favorite for the award is Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, who has brought Chicago around to what may be the best win-total improvement, seed improvement, and clearly defensive improvement in the league this year, in only his first season with the Bulls. Thibodeau has helped Derrick Rose reach an MVP level (mostly bey admittedly staying out of the way and letting Rose do his thing), and made a defensive juggernaut out of a team featuring Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Kyle Korver, and Keith Bogans.

But his biggest competitor has the best advantage he can have. A superior record. Coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs is gaining more and more traction for his performance in leading the Spurs to a ridiculous 54-12 record. You can count Rockets coach Rick Adelman among those who think Pop’s done the job this year.

“I think Pop’s just done a great job this year,” Adelman said. “To me, the record they have, he’s the Coach of the Year, the way he’s put these guys together and the type of season they’ve had.

via Rockets notes: Adelmans COY vote goes to Popovich | NBA Basketball | – Houston Chronicle.

The award may end up coming down to whether Thibodeau’s Bulls manage to hold onto the top spot in the East which they now share a piece of after Saturday’s win over the Jazz. If they secure the top spot in the East after being an 8th seed speed bump last year, with a group of new pieces, that may be enough to win. But if the Spurs keep pace, voting against Popovich will be extremely difficult.

Thibodeau does have one other advantage. He’s coaching a team with significant roster changes, featuring three new starters from last season, guys who are playing together for the first time. Much of the bench unit has changed as well with Korver, Ronnie Brewer, and Omer Asik. Getting new guys to play this well together is extremely tough.

Just ask Erik Spoelstra.


  1. JL - Mar 13, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    Yeah, Doug Collins shouldn’t be mentioned at all (you should read that with a heavy layer of sarcasm)….Basically every point you made in support for Thibodeau you could make for Collins. Collins has been out of the game for years and the first year he’s back he takes a team that overall was 27-55 last year! The Sixers got no additions to the team except for Hawes and Evan Turner and after starting out 3-13 Collins continuously preached to his players to believe in him, (his players never quit on him!). Instead of having guys like Boozer and Rose to work with, Collins is now finally getting the most out of Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Lou Williams and Thad Young (I bet that most NBA fans don’t even know who Lou and Thad are). Meanwhile this team is arguably playing the best out of any team in basketball (last night’s game against the Bucks excluded). Imagine what Collins could do with talent like the Bulls possess, or the talent the Spurs (who haven’t won a game in Philly for 4 seasons!)….but your right, don’t even mention him as a possible candidate

  2. borderline1988 - Mar 13, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    There is no question that Doug Collins is doing a tremendous job in Philly. But it’s hard to root for the coach of a team that’s near the bottom of Eastern Conference playoff teams. Sure there’s more talent on Chicago than Philadelphia.
    But if you were to poll experts before the season, and ask them which is more likely: Chicago winning the East, or Philadelphia making the playoffs as the 7th seed?

    Chicago has some got some serious talent, but hands-down, the strength of their team is their defense and execution. Which is all Thibodeau.
    The strength of Philly is their transition game, combined with great athletiscm all over the roster which they use to break down defenses and offenses. Which is essentially what they are anyways, regardless of a coach being there or not. Again, I’m not discounting everything that Collins does, but Thibodeau means a lot more to his club than Philly does. As much as you can argue that Philly has less talent than Chicago, it’s also notable that Chicago has considerably less talent and depth than any of the other elite NBA teams (Boston, Miami, Lakers, Mavericks, and Spurs – scratch the ‘depth’ for Miami lol).

    Thibodeau was well known as the defensive genius behind Boston’s championship team. He has a unique combination of both being able to motivate, and understanding the X and O’s of basketball as well as anyone.
    Whether or not he’s deserving of COY, I think he’s the best all around coach in the league either way.

    • JL - Mar 14, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      you make very valid points in your comment. However, I wasn’t making the argument that Collins should be coach of the year over everyone, simply that his performance this year simply warrants his mention as a serious COY candidate. The complete exclusion of his very legitimate candidacy is the problem I have with this article, all three candidates make a legitimate and worthy case, but lets remember that there are THREE (and possibly more, I just happen to be a Sixers fan) legitimate candidates not only the two mentioned above.

  3. davidly - Mar 14, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    I think Popp, as usual, has done a stellar job with the level of talent he has, and Tivo is doing a good job winning. But San Antonio has had that team together for quite a while, so not much new there – and Chicago has had the potential for a couple of years now (bouncing the Celts in ’09), they just needed consistency. I’d go with Doug Collins as well. Or Skibby MaRew.

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