With the book closed on the 2017-18 NBA season, we’re making our picks for the individual end-of-year awards. Here, we hand out the hardware for the biggest influence on the sidelines.
COACH OF THE YEAR
The Boston Celtics leader is already one of the best coaches in the league, if not the very best, and it’s high time he gets the validation by walking away with the award.
Boston may have met preseason expectations by getting within a game of the NBA Finals, but everything that happened in the middle made the end result look that much more impressive.
And yet, that didn’t stop the Celtics from improving on their win total from the previous year – the fourth-straight year they’ve bettered their record under Stevens – to finish second in the standings, before taking LeBron James to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
If Stevens has a healthy roster to work with next season, it’s fun to imagine how much he’ll get out of it.
The NBA coaching scene can be a cruel world, as proven by Casey getting fired after leading the Raptors to a franchise-best 59 wins. Toronto ultimately were swept at the hands of LeBron for the second straight year, but not before Casey did wonders with a team that completely overhauled their style of play.
Quin Snyder (Utah Jazz)
Synder did a comparable job to Stevens, guiding the Jazz to 48 wins despite losing Hayward in the summer and then Rudy Gobert to injury for most of the first half of the season. He also helped develop Donovan Mitchell and got Utah to the second round of the playoffs without much star power.
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