Tuesday, October 31, 2006

NBA 06-07 Preview: Coach
Isiah's Expectations Management

Running all day: My NBA season preview.
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Isiah Thomas is my prediction for NBA Coach of the Year.

OK, please stop laughing. After all, last year, I picked Pat Riley – before he even returned to coaching – and I'd say I wasn't too far off base, especially if ballots were allowed to consider the playoffs.

How many wins would you need to see from the Knicks to give Isiah the C.O.Y. award?

I actually have a number in mind: 24, precisely one more win that Larry Brown earned for the Knicks a year ago. The Knicks might owe LB $40 mil, but there would be no bigger F-U to Brown than to confirm that the Knicks' disgrace from a year ago was, more than anything, HIS fault.

And I think Isiah can do it, simply by NOT being Brown. I think the players will be motivated to reach "24" simply out of spite for their old coach.

Topping Brown STILL might not be enough to save Isiah's job*, but it's enough to salvage Isiah's pride.

(* - I have a little theory working that James Dolan will hire Billy Donovan away from Florida as soon as the Gators win their back-to-back title next spring.)

Runner-Up: Don Nelson. This is the bandwagon pick, and I'm happy to acknowledge that. From all available evidence, Nelson has taken his fingers and given the Warriors the coaching equivalent of the shocker. They averaged 98 ppg last season; in the preseason, they are 16 ppg ahead of that pace. He doesn't need to win the title to win COY; contending for the 8th playoff spot would be more than enough.

3rd: Scott Skiles
4th: Eddie Jordan

Comments Question: Who is YOUR prediction for NBA Coach of the Year? Who will be in contention? Who will be this year's surprise?

-- D.S.

13 comments:

CMFost said...

Watch out for Doc Rivers, I think the Celtics with a little extra motivation with the passing of Red and a weak division will run away and win there division with 52 wins.

Stooncer said...

Breakout team: Orlando
Coach: Dunleavy (should have won last year)
MVP: 1. LeBron, 2. Duncan, 3. Dirk

BTW, the passing of Red will have no effect on today's players with their "me first" attitude. He said it himself that the difference between players of today and the time when he coached was that players today are only focused on making money and not focused on winning championships. Paul Pierce sums that one up nicely.

Worldwide Reader said...

So Isiah gets his 24 wins - one more than Larry Brown. Still waiting to hear the logic behind 24 wins translating into Coach of the Year.

Anyone?

Dan Mega said...

If the media gets to vote on Coach of the Year, never count a New York or Boston coach out of winning it.

With that being said, my predictions:
Coach of the Year: Skiles
MVP- Dirk
NBA Finals Winner- Spurs

ChrTh said...

Did Dan just jinx the Knicks AND the Gators in one post?

BlackCapricorn said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Isiah? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Thomas? ha ha ha ha ha.

Whoo, Dan- gave laughbox a good workout there. Of course the Knicks will probably dissapoint me this year and get that 1 more victory but who ISN'T rooting for the Knicks to completey flame out and win 10 games?? The soap opera revolving around this team is the only reason it is interesting and the only reason I pay attention to the NBA at all. If they are a mediocre team instead of a spectacular disaster, why even bother with the sport?

Anonymous said...

Breakout team: Knicks (the Atl is sooo weak, anyone could break out, but only Zeke is motivated enough).

Coach: Avery Johnson should receive this award every year for dealing with team-killing Cuban's histrionics.

MVP: Melo.

I think LeBron is headed for a down year. He's gotten away from passing, and his stated goal is to make as much money as Forbes, so basketball is a means to an end. I predict he will slouch through the next couple years in Cleveland, until they hire another superstar or he finds a bigger paycheck in a major city. No one is going to blame failures on him for another 5 or so years, anyway, he's too much of a marketing machine.

Economically, he needs Yao (LBJ's learning Chinese for marketing reasons). So, they'll pair up before too long.

ChrTh said...

If the Bobcats make the playoffs (big If, but not entirely implausible because of the weakness of the East), Bernie Bickerstaff will come up in the conversation. Won't win, but he'll definitely get more votes than Isiah.

Anonymous said...

contenders:

nelson - if they make the playoffs
dunleavy - if the win the pacific
thomas - if they make the playoffs (else he is gone)

darkhorse: mcmillian, rivers

Myles! said...

"Paul Pierce sums that one up nicely."

wtf are you talking about? Paul Pierce is maybe the only guy on that team that you can definitively say *does* give a damn.

thirdstringjd said...

Dan - you have Chicago winning the East which isn't surprising since that is everyones pick (even though you admit that Nazr Mohammed will play BETTER then Big Ben this year). I dont even think the Bulls get head and shoulders better with Ben Wallace since they needed offense and added one guy who will give them almost zero on O.

What surprised me is you have the Nets with the second best record in the East. I hate NJ with a passion - I am a diehard Celtics fan, and I think they have some middle school kids coming off the bench for them but if they somehow end up with the 2nd best record in the East then Lawrence Frank deserves to be the COY.

Jingoist said...

Would it be lame to tout a new reality series with the same name as a current fictional show? If not, then "24" would make THE perfect behind-the-scenes reality show look at Zeke's road to redemption. Each episode could chronicle a win until the 24th- at which point the TV screen goes black, then flashes to Larry Brown still in his suit from the final game of the 05/06 season, up on a railing of the Empire State Building, looking down at the pavement 1,250 feet below him, unkempt hair and sport jacket blowing in the wind, contemplating if the $40 million buyout is worth living through this final humiliation.

Todd Ching said...

Dan, it's Halloween, not April Fool's Day.

Isaih as Coach of the Year is so utterly ridiculous that the only way I can rationalize that is that you were just looking to create a reaction by using some absurd claim, just to get a rise out of people. It's not necessarily ineffective, but it's a bit Fox News-esque of a tactic.

And you're still not forgiven for ranking Clemson ahead of BC.

-Todd (Boston)