NBA 2020-21: The NBA Coach of the Year is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since the 1962–63 NBA season. The winner of this prestigious award gets the Red Auerbach Trophy, which is named in honor of the head coach who led the Boston Celtics to nine NBA championships from 1956 to 1966.
The winner is selected at the end of the regular season by a panel of sportswriters from the United States and Canada, each of whom casts a vote for first, second, and third place selections.
Prediction for the Coach of the Year
Monty Williams, Phoenix Suns
I’m pretty high on the Phoenix Suns this season. It’s hard not to be after they went 8-0 in the bubble, but they had one of the best offseasons in the league, trading for Chris Paul, signing Jae Crowder, and filling out their bench with the likes of Langston Galloway, Damian Jones, and E’Twaun Moore.
That’s still not enough to put them in the same class as the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers, but they should absolutely be a playoff team, and it wouldn’t shock me if the Suns are in the mix for homecourt advantage.
With Williams being the one pulling the strings, he’s going to have a strong case for Coach of the Year if the Suns live up to their potential.
Toughest snub for me: Erik Spoelstra. It’s crazy that he’s never been named Coach of the Year.
Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers
After the LA Clippers blew a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Semifinals last season, Rivers received a ton of criticism as a head coach who is all too familiar with surrendering playoff-series leads. When he and the Clippers made the “mutual decision” to part ways and Rivers landed the 76ers job, I felt it was the perfect fit for him.
The Sixers are coming off of a season where they fell tremendously short of their expectations heading into the year. Former head coach Brett Brown couldn’t find a way to get the All-Star tandem of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to click and the team’s ceiling was limited because of that.
I believe that Rivers will be the guy to get that duo going, as well as his former player Tobias Harris, who played at a near-All-Star level under Rivers with the Clippers.
With new team president Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand surrounding Simmons, Embiid, and Harris with shooters – something Philly has failed to do in the past – I’m expecting a bounce-back year for the 76ers.
If they finish among the top teams in the Eastern Conference, all signs will point to Rivers as Coach of the Year.
Mike Malone, Denver Nuggets
He might have been on the hot seat had the Nuggets gotten bounced in the first round of the playoffs in the bubble. Instead, they rallied from 3-1 deficit twice to get to the Conference Finals where they were overmatched by the eventual champion Lakers.
The Nuggets showed fight and guts in the back-to-back series and battled as tough as they could in the West Final. They proved they’d go to bat for their coach and Malone showed he could motivate them to do so. But he also showed he could make adjustments in a series.
I don’t know who needs to read this but Mike Malone can coach. And now that that’s been established it would be great to see him be rewarded with a great season that ends with him being recognized as the Coach of the Year.
In my opinion, the Nuggets have a real shot at once again finishing in the top three of the Conference and if that’s the case Malone should get some recognition.