Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Nate McMillan finishes ninth in Coach of the Year voting

If the Blazers could have kept the mojo that they had during the 13-game winning streak rolling throughout the rest of the season, Nate McMillan would have been a near unanimous choice for the Red Auerbach trophy. But evidently finishing at 41-41 despite being the third-youngest team in NBA history in the most difficult conference in NBA history is only good enough for three third place votes in the Coach of the Year voting.

No one (except for the 55 people who didn't give him their first place vote) would argue with Bryon Scott being named COY. Taking that team from 39-43 last year to 56-26 this year is a stupendous feat for any coach (though having a healthy CP3 and Peja didn't hurt). Going from out of the playoffs to a legit championship contender in one year, with no substantive roster changes, is commendable.

However, I am surprised at how few votes Coach McMillan received. It's hard to argue with Doc Rivers (though seriously, I could coach that team to 50 wins), Rick Adelman or Maurice Cheeks and Jerry Sloan being above McMillan in the voting, but it gets a bit shady after that.

Phil Jackson? Did he convince the Grizzlies to give away Pau Gasol for next to nothing? Kobe may be a pain sometimes, but inflated ego or not, he's still the best player in the game. Was Jackson's performance from the high chair on the sidelines really that impressive this season? I think not.

Eddie Jordan did a commendable job with the Wizards without Gilbert Arenas, but they only won two more games than the Blazers, in the East, with Antwan Jamison and Caron Butler.

Stan Van Gundy I can live with. They're only going as far as Dwight Howard takes them, but Van Gundy has done a fine job integrating Rashard Lewis into the system. 52 wins is hard to argue with.

The COY race might have been as contentious as the MVP voting this season. So many great accomplishments, but I thought for sure Nate McMillan would finish further up the list.


NateDogg said...

Casey, Thanks for the COY update. Good points about a tough west and a young squad who still posted a .500 record. I don't like to toot my own horn but, I called COY awhile ago. I commented on your 01/17/08 blog that if it wasn't Nate then Byron Scott had to be the man. I, like yourself gave some credit to CP3 but gave B. Scott his dues.

Casey Holdahl said...

That's a nice pick Nate, though Byron had to be the odds on favorite for most of the season.