As the NBA season winds down, let’s take a look at the coaches who deserve to win coach of the year. Some of the obvious names include Steve Kerr of the Warriors, even though they are having a down year to their standards, Mike D’antoni of Houston, Dwane Casey of the East-leading Raptors, and Brad Stevens of the Celtics among a few others. The one that truly deserves the award the most is Brad Stevens.
Brad Stevens is the coach of the year in mind because of what he has been able to do with players missing a lot of time. He has had to plug different players into the starting lineup almost all season because of injury. Like many basketball fans know, the injury bug didn’t waste any time attacking the Celtics. It struck five minutes into the season opener with the Cavs and got Gordon Hayward, who was starting his first season in Boston after signing over from the Jazz, and he hasn’t been able to play since. Other players that have been plagued by injuries this season are:
(most recent injuries)
Kyrie Irving-16 games missed (knee) 24.4 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.8 rpg
Gordon Hayward- 75 games missed (ankle/leg) 2 points in the opener
Marcus Morris-26 games missed (ankle) 13.6 ppg, 1.3 apg, 5.5 rpg
Marcus Smart-22 games missed (thumb/thigh) 10.2 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.5 rpg
Al Horford- 8 games missed (illness/ankle) 12.8 ppg, 4.8 apg, 7.4 rpg
Jaylen Brown-11 games missed (concussion) 14.0 ppg, 1.6 apg, 5.1 rpg
Daniel Theis-13 games missed (meniscus) 5.3 ppg, 0.9 apg, 4.3 rpg
With missing that many players for long periods of time and the most experienced vet left having 7 years of experience at most to go along with 4 rookies and still have a shot at the top spot in the Eastern Conference shows that Brad Stevens should be the coach of the year. Not only does Coach Stevens have the team 2 games out of the top spot behind Toronto, he has been able to find ways to get production out of his young players, most notably Jayson Tatum, who was thrust into the starting lineup following the injury to Hayward.
Even with having 7 players who are big contributors missing games, Coach Stevens has guided the team to a 53-23 record so far and like I stated before, a shot at the top spot in the conference. Don’t get me wrong, the other coaches are very deserving of the award, but Coach Stevens has been able to find success with a very limited lineup option and fewer big-time players.