Ranking The Early Top 10 NBA Coach Of The Year Candidates

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Ranking The Early Top 10 NBA Coach Of The Year Candidates

Ranking The Early Top 10 NBA Coach Of The Year Candidates
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Coach of the Year award is one of the more interesting of the accolades given out every year. Unlike the awards for the player, the fate of the future Coach of the Year is dependent more on things the candidates can’t control than the things they can. Their teams must meet a few basic requirements before they will be considered for the award.

First and foremost, their team has to be good. That makes sense, since a coach can’t be the best in the league if his team is one of the worst. Of course, wins and losses in the NBA are a function of the talent on the floor much more than they are the talent prowling the bench, but it just wouldn’t make any sense to give the award to the coach of a team that couldn’t win games. Let’s just say that the team has to at least make the playoffs for the coach to be in consideration.

But after that, it gets kind of dicey. The award hardly ever goes to the coach of the team with the best record. It certainly doesn’t go to the coach who has the most talent at this disposal. I guess the logic behind this is that it wasn’t the coach who earned all the wins if the team was supposed to win them. No, instead the award tends to go to the coach who leads his team to more wins than they were expected to have.

That means the sweet spot for predicting the Coach of the Year is to find a respected coach that has a team that could be really good, but could be disappointing too. That way, if the team exceeds expectations, the coach will get the credit.

It’s an odd award to predict, but these are the 10 coaches who have the best chance of being named Coach of the Year this spring.

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10. Rick Adelman

Rick Adelman
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves could be one of the surprise playoff teams this year. Rick Adelman is a respected, veteran coach who will get the most out of a roster that finally has its two superstars healthy at the same time.

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9. Mike D'Antoni

Mike D'Antoni
Danny La-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone loves Mike D'Antoni because he plays a system that is so fun to watch. The Los Angeles Lakers have no plans to tank this year, so if they find a way to sneak in the playoff the D'Antoni love will be off the charts.

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8. Kevin McHale

Kevin McHale
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

If Kevin McHale can somehow find a way to get Dwight Howard to live up to his potential, he deserves the award hands down.

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7. Gregg Popovich

Gregg Popovich
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the fact that he never gets the credit he deserves for the San Antonio Spurs run of success, there's always a chance the media will give the award to Gregg Popovich as a career achievement award. Winning his third Coach of the Year would tie him at the top of the list all-time — somewhere he belongs.

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6. Frank Vogel

Frank Vogel
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Vogel has been one of the most underrated coaches in the league the last few years. His team is on the short list to topple the Heat, so his name will stay at the top of everyone's tongue as long as the Indiana Pacers stay near the top of the standings.

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5. Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Jackson has everything going for him to win the award this year. He's a respected young coach with a team that is on everyone's short list of squads that are ready to break out. Problem is, plenty of teams have been on that list for a long time before they finally get there, just as the coach of the No. 2 team on this list.

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4. Erik Spoelstra

Erik Spoelstra
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are the favorite to win their third straight NBA title. That should help Erik Spoelstra win Coach of the Year, but it actually hurts him. When you're team is the most talented in the league, you never get the respect you deserve for winning championship as their coach.

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3. Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Thibodeau, winner of the award in 2011, leads the team with the best chance to unseat the defending champions this year. If they do, Thibodeau and his cutting-edge defensive schemes will be the reason.

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2. Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers have underachieved for years now. If they finally get a top seed in the Western Conference the year that Doc Rivers comes to town, he'll get all the credit.

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1. Scott Brooks

Scott Brooks
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Brooks and the Oklahoma City Thunder are the perfect storm for a Coach of the Year win. They have the talent to be one of the best teams in the league, but because of Russell Westbrook's injury and their early playoff exit last year, they're coming into the year under the radar. If they get back to being a championship contender, Brooks will run away with the award this year.