Scotty Brooks should be named coach of the year. He took what was a severely flawed roster and made it work by putting every player in a certain place. His predecessor, P.J. Carlesimo, had the Thunder play and extremely slow paced game in which the Thunder had an extremely stagnant offense and shot 0 to 2 threes per game, all by Earl Watson. Carlesimo also valued experience over youth, giving players like Earl Watson minutes over clearly better talented younger players like Russell Westbrook.
Then, Coach Brooks stepped in. He played the young players, and had them develop a sense of team. He took players with flaws and had them play to their strengths while covering up for their flaws with over goodness. For example, he plays Thabo Sefolosha, who can hardly score at all but plays defense wonderfully, next to Kevin Durant, who can score well but plays below-average defense. This allows them both to play to their strengths and makes their flaws seem less significant. All in all, any coach who takes a team from the depths of the lottery and can put them on the playoff map with minimal roster change definitely deserves the award, hands down.
And that coach for the 2009-2010 NBA is Scotty Brooks.
— SB Nation's Thunder blog, Welcome to Loud City
2. Scoot Skiles (7 Votes)
Let's see... What has Scott Skiles done for Milwaukee this year.
- Manage a roster full of young players? (check)
- Get the most out of previously underachieving veterans? (check)
- Have a roster that plays hard every night? (check)
- Put together a winning strategy (defense first, inside-out on offense) and execute it flawlessly? (check)
- Seamlessly integrate new players after the trade deadline? (check)
- Take a team pegged for the lottery to the NBA Playoffs? (check)
Scotty Brooks did a great job in Oklahoma City, but it's hard to imagine anyone being more qualified for this award than Scott Skiles. He was phenomenal this year.
— Andrew Sharp, SBNation.com
3. Nate McMillan (5 Votes)
Let's get something straight from the start: Nate McMillan is not your Coach of the Year.
He's not your coach of the year because you've heard more bad news than good coming out of Portland this season. You heard about the over-publicized argument between McMillan and point guard Andre Miller as the Blazers tried to adjust to their new personnel early on. You heard about Greg Oden going fetal on the court with a busted kneecap. You heard about Joel Przybilla following suit a few weeks later. You watched as every national telecast broadcasting Blazers basketball featured a CPR dummy with helpful arrows pointing to various team injuries: Roy, Outlaw, Batum, Fernandez, the centers. You've heard the story a thousand times of Portland being so short for practice players that Nate himself stepped in and promptly ruptured his Achilles tendon. He couldn't even do that right. Portland's aspirations this year were supposed to be paraded down city streets. Instead they were wheeled out on a gurney. Not all of this was Nate's fault, of course. But you don't want to mention a cursed man's name, let alone associate with him, let alone rank him the best coach of the season lest the curse prove contagious, falling onto you.
Nate McMillan is not your Coach of the Year because even Portland fans spent the first half of their season reviling him. The offense was too slow. The defense was a mess of over-used switches and under-played interior defense. Continuity gave way to confusion. How in the world could a 3rd-string center, a 2nd-string small foward, a brand new point guard, a star power forward, and the 10th-13th players on the roster (the only guys Portland had healthy at the time) not look like a well-oiled machine 10 weeks into the season? Worse, Nate was coaching a team with boundless potential! On such a young team everybody's a superstar. Nate must be blind not to see that young guys need more minutes. Nate must have designed an ultra-crappy system to make those young guys produce so scarcely when they did get time. Never mind that the youngsters McMillan has played consistently over the years--Roy, Aldridge, Batum, even Jarrett Jack--have flourished. People are still plenty mad at the short shrift given Sergio Rodriguez, clearly a superstar point guard in Portland...or Sacramento...or New York...or whatever European isle he ends up playing on next. Who would nominate a potential-sucking bum like that?
Nate McMillan is not your Coach of the Year because he's not at the helm of the surprise team of the season. That honor would belong to Scott Brooks in Oklahoma City. Never mind that McMillan's Blazers (without Brandon Roy) just beat the Thunder (with Kevin Durant) in the showdown game of the year for seeding position between the two teams. We expected more from pre-injury Portland. We suspected Oklahoma City was kind of lame. Shocking beats predictable even when that predictability involves excellence, even when predictability wins. You know what people used to say about Jerry Sloan before he got old enough to become an icon? The offense is too dry, too repetitive. Sure Utah wins a bunch but other teams made greater leaps. That's why Sloan wasn't your Coach of the Year either.
No...all Nate McMillan does is wring out every possible victory from his team year after year, adverse circumstance after adverse circumstance. The team's in a shambles after ditching Zach Randolph and losing Darius Miles. They won 21 last year with those guys, they'll win 10 without. Oops! They won 32. Now they've got Greg Oden but he's out for the season with microfracture surgery. I guess we have to wait another year for progress. Oops! They won 41. Now Oden's back but the West is so top-heavy with experienced teams that there's no way...oops! They won 54, in the upper echelon of the seeding race. Now half of their team is on crutches including two of three stars and the entire middle of the lineup. This team is going to fall apart. Time for the lottery again. Oops. 50-51 wins and a 6th or 7th place playoff seed. The guy just landed a jumbo jet safely on half of an engine. In most other professions they'd be showing him to his corner office and handing him the keys to his own marble-coated restroom. But remember this: the Blazers could have done better. The soda you had on that flight? It was slightly flat. The other airline's pop has more fizz.
So Nate McMillan is not your Coach of the Year.
WORST? Eddie Jordan
It's hard to put into words the pain and agony Sixers fans endured during the Eddie Jordan era. It began in pre-season when he refused to play Jrue Holiday in an exhibition game, claiming Nate Robinson and Chris Duhon would "ruin his psyche". Things got a little strange when he used nothing but riddles during his press conferences. Seriously, what does "We believe in harmony and effort" even mean?
He continuously threw his players under the bus, and never accepted any responsibility. According to him, if the Sixers lost, it was because "[they] lost the passion to compete", "It's leadership, or lack thereof", or my favorite, "the other team just made shots". It was always someone else's fault.
The list of problems I had with Eddie Jordan goes on forever. Whether it was his lack of a set rotation or his mind games, I despised everything he did. I won't even get into the "Princeton Offense" he runs or his "defensive" system -- which helped turn an above average defensive team (14th) into a terrible defensive team (22nd).
Now that the Eddie Jordan era is finally over -- and he should be fired by the time anyone reads this -- I'm relieved and surprisingly thankful. I'll never forget the season I watched 75+ games of Eddie Jordan basketball. I'll always have my 'Fire Eddie Jordan' t-shirt
, this picture
as my desktop background, and countless riddles to impress friends and co-workers at Christmas parties. And without Eddie Jordan I'd be gearing up for another first round exit, a draft pick in the mid-teens, and a mediocre 2010-2011 to look forward to. But thanks to Eddie Jordan I have a 5.3% chance of watching John Wall in a Sixers uniform for the next decade. Thanks for the memories EJ.