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?