Early on when I got the tweet that Scotty Brooks would be named NBA's Coach of the Year I had mixed emotions. First of all, it was announcing the obvious. The second feeling I had was that I hope Jerry Sloan gives him a nice gift once Brooks gets fired in another few seasons. You see -- the way CoY is given now, it's given to the flashiest, less substance filled coach in a bad situation. It's a foundation that cannot last -- it's building a house upon sand. Sloan, on the other hand, has built something here in Utah (probably under the watchful eye of Grand Master Masons like George Washington and Abe Lincoln) on Precambrian rock. Jerry Sloan is also Metal.
I've been an NBA fan for 28 years. Sure, some years I was more interested in Saturday morning cartoons, or girls; but my lack of hands on parenting has led me to watch a lot of sports -- none more than the NBA. Over this period the average number of wins for a coach in his Coach of the Year season is 54. Scotty Brooks won 50 games this season, and he joins 11 other Coaches to win this award under those circumstance. Jerry Sloan has 9 seasons of at LEAST 54 wins. It would be 10, but that was the lockout year, where the Jazz were on pace to win 61 games out of 82. I will name names.
Don Nelson (who has won it 3 times in my NBA following life) won it once by winning 51 games. He's such a great coach that he's quit on the Knicks when he was the head coach there, got fired and sued by the owner of Dallas, and doesn't even coach anymore, despite collecting a check from Golden State (his second turn there).
Mike Fratello won it with the Atlanta Hawks, who reached 50 wins under the firepower of one really good scorer, and some solid role players. Hmmm, does this sound like the OKC Thunder? He's been calling games for a while now.
Mike Schuler won it with Portland, and 49 games. I don't know enough about him to make fun of him.
Don Chaney -- really -- won a COY award, he got 52 wins with the Houston Rockets. This guy is horrible at his job.
Del Harris won a COY award in 1995 by winning 48 games. Del Harris is such a good coach that he's been an assistant these last few seasons on some really bad teams.
Mike Dunleavy won a COY award with the Portland Trailblazers -- while winning 35 games. This guy has been fired so many times that jokes about him cannot be made. Producing a list of facts from his life is joke enough.
Doc Rivers won a COY award with Orlando, and they won a stellar 41 games that year. He was later canned. During the season.
Rick Carlislealso won a COY award, this one with Detroit and 50 wins; but was also fired. Like Doc he's extended his 15 mins by being selected to coach a vet heavy team that's built for the playoffs.
Hubie Brown won another COY award with Memphis in 2004, after winning 50 games. I respect Hubie Brown, and we all should. That said,I don't think he did the best coaching job that year.
Sam Mitchell won it in Toronto after coaxing his Raptorsto 47 wins. I miss watching his post game interviews on RaptorsTV.
In addition, a lot of "winners" tend to get fired after winning: Byron Scott, Sam Mitchell, Avery Johnson,Mike D'Antoni, Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown, Doc Rivers and Mike Dunleavy won the award -- and left the team they won it with shortly after. The only winners who recently won it and have remained with their teams are Mike Brown (who does as much coaching for the Cavs as I do) and Gregg Popovich.
Jerry Sloan has held onto his job with the Jazz since Ronald Reagan was handing the keys to the White House to George H. W. Bush. So, in a few seasons when Scotty Brooks gets canned from his current job, I hope Jerry sends him an autographed John Deere hat or something.
PS. Yes, this is the logical analog to the Jeff Van Gundy is Hip-Hop meme