Mike "Dumbleavy" Coach of the Year? It could totally happen. Trust me.

Samahn from Italia wrote in to say: "I saw this and immediately thought of 'bawful. Special wag of the finger goes to Chris Sheridan and Royce Webb of for predicting that Mike Dunleavy will get Coach of the Year. Wow...I'm speachless. This is the same guy who, well, you know. Please but shame on these two ESPN writers and forever ingrave them in the 'bawful archives!

Actually, that preduction may not be too far out there. Let's look at some recent CoY recipients:

1. Mike Brown (2008-09): Subsequently outcoached in the Eastern Conference Finals, marking one of the only times in league history a team had both the MVP and the Coach of the Year yet failed to reach the NBA Finals.

2. Sam Mitchell (2006-07): Subsequently fired by the Raptors only 17 games into the 2008-09 season after a 39-point loss to the Denver Nuggets.

3. Avery Johnson (2005-06): Subsequently fired following the 2007-08 season because the Mavs needed a fresh start. I'm sure those three consecutive humiliating playoff losses had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

4. Mike D'Antoni (2004-05): Subsequently "allowed to pursue employment opportunities elsewhere" by the Suns following the 2008-09 season and yet another painful playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

4. Hubie Brown (2003-04): Subsequently retired 12 games into the 2004-05 season because, dear lord, the man is an ancient mummy creature! And why spend your twilight years coaching the Grizzlies, you know?

5. Rick Carlisle (2001-02): Subsequently fired after the 2002-03 season so the Pistons could hire Larry Brown...and win the 2004 NBA title.

6. Doc Rivers (1999-00): Subsequently fired during the 2003-04 season after his Magic squad started the year 1-10. Note that he continued to suck in Boston until Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen arrived to save him.

7. Mike Dunleavy (1998-99): And we come full circle! Subsequently fired after the 2000-01 season. From the actual press release: "Mike Dunleavy was dismissed as coach of the Portland Trail Blazers tonight, taking the fall for an underachieving team that failed to win a playoff game despite an NBA-record $89.7 million payroll."

Did I mention that Jerry Sloan still hasnt' won a Coach of the Year award despite a 1137-751 (.602) record and 12 50-win seasons? Oh, and in 21 years of coaching in Utah, the Jazz have have a losing record exactly...once.

So, to sum up, the state of the NBA Coach of the Year award is an absolute joke. As such, it would not surprise me in the least if Mike Dunleavy won it this year...and was subsequently fired within two seasons. After all, as you can see, history tends to repeat itself.

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Blogger Dan B. said...
Equally as amazing is the picture of Stan "For the last time, I'm not Ron Jeremy!" Van Gundy in that link. It honestly looks like a mugshot.

Blogger npolaske said...
Didn't Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni win MVP and coach of the year in 2005, yet fail to reach the finals? And weren't they dismantled by the Spurs 4-1, after being down 3-0? I'd say they were embarrassed at least as much as the 2008-2009 Cavs.

Blogger DC said...
You basically can't argue about how good coaches are based on COY awards because, well, its recent history of winners for starters. The fact it's nothing more than a feel-good, popularity contest voted on by media members, a good chunk of whom are pretty clueless about the NBA. Most of the time, they choose whosever team has either won the most games that season or has made the biggest turnaround. Never mind key offseason player acquisitions and the like.

It's not to say all of the coaches you listed are bad. Some are good coaches who can drill some discipline into a team that sorely needs it - see Avery Johnson, Sam Mitchell, and Rick Carlisle. The problem is that unless you get your top players to buy into your system for the duration, this approach works only for the short term.

Blogger chris said...
So looking at this, my assumption is that "Coach of the Year" is given to the coach most likely to fail in the immediate future and find himself pinkslipped. In that case, has Zeke won it!?

Blogger clicc916 said...
I agree with Drake. COY recipients tend to be those with the greatest turnaround, and not necessarily the greatest coaching methods. I think it's because win-loss records and individual performances are easily quantifiable, while coaching methods are harder to prove.

I agree that Jerry Sloan should be COTFLTD- Coach Of The Freakin' Last Two Decades, because really, he's been that good and that consistent, even WITHOUT Stockton and Malone.

Which leads me to my last point. Any coach can become COY by obtaining a star player(s). He doesn't even have to coach well *cough* Doc Rivers *cough* Mike Brown. Total Farce Award.

Anonymous flip said...
I agree with Drake that not all those coaches are terrible ones, but some did not deserve to win it over, say Popovich or Sloan.
Mike Brown's win last year was the worst, in my mind, because the team was terribly horribly coached, but Lebron was there, so they won a lot of games.
Until Sloan wins one, this award is a joke. Like Bawful wrote, the team has had a losing record once, when 4 starters missed significant time. Pretty impressive...
Thank the heavens that Isiah never won one. Coach Sloan might have gone on a killing spree if that happened...

On another note, all the awards are popularity based awards. Once the ball starts rolling in the press about who should win it, there's no stopping it, no matter what happens later in the year.
Kobe last year (not saying he didn't deserve it), Nash both years, Malone over MJ, the list goes on and on.
There's no directive on how to vote, the whole thing is really loose.
For instance, is the MVP the best team's best player or is it the player that brings the most to his team, which would be significantly worse if that player was replaced by an average one?
How would you vote if you could? Best player or most important player for any team?

Blogger 49er16 said...
Another guy that I can't believe hasn't won the CoY is Rick Adleman. Took the Blazers to two finals. Turned the Kings into contenders and last year took the Lakers to the limit with a banged up Rockets team.

Note: Look at what happened to both the Kings and Rockets after he left.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
To further illustrate how silly the COY voting is, Phil Jackson and Greg Popovich have won the award only once each.

Blogger Dooj said...
Blake Griffin is injured already. Don't know for how long (looks minor).

Blogger Beez Kneezy said...
the awards should only be voted on by peers. coaches, assistant coaches, players (maybe limit it those with some tenure and not regularly associated with basketbawful articles), and GMs.

Blogger chris said...
I'd ask "what are the standards for a Basketbawful equivalent of 'coach of the year'" seems like the existing award will do just fine, prorated a year forward.

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
Dunlevy can't win it because the Clippers are too stupid to ever fire him.

Anonymous Stockton said...
Fact is, there is NO parameter to mesure the COY. Either is the overachiever, or the most wins, it's never the same reason.
Sloan made a 42-40 season (altough missing the playoffs) with a team whose stars were Raja Bell, Kirilenko, Carlos Arroyo and Ben Handgloten. That team was predicted to win less than 10 games.

Blogger chris said...
Stockton: Of course, Doc Rivers pretty much did the same thing with the Magic noted...DID win the award. So how was he more qualified than Sloan to do this? Because he made an Antoine Walker-like shot from midcourt to win a game once in his career, as shown on The Lighter Side of Sports yesterday!?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
It's been so long now, that giving Sloan the award would look like a cheap apology for all the years he didn't get it.

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Another year, another Clipper jinx. Don't give me hope, crappy ESPN analysts.

Bawful: You getting Bill Simmons'(s?) new book? I'll need a review from the only man I trust on basketball. Also, Henry Abbott. It pretty much ends there.

Blogger Hans said...
pretty rough post in terms of spelling, grammar, etc.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
49er16 said...
Note: Look at what happened to both the Kings and Rockets after he left.

Adelman is still with the Rockets. Did you mean the Blazers?

Blogger Dan B. said...
Buck Nasty, I'm no Bawful, but I'll throw in my two cents. I've got Simmons book on preorder, but it's through Amazon so I'll probably be waiting until the end of the week before I get it. (Which is fine by me -- I'm still finishing off Chuck Klosterman's new book)

Simmons says some stupid things at times (during a draft diary, he famously suggested Emeka Okafor should go before Dwight Howard. Needless to say, he regrets that call), but he also has a writing style I really enjoy, and he DOES know his shit when it comes to basketball. The excerpts they've been posting for the past week on have been pretty good. (And the rest of the book should be even more interesting since he won't have Disney's censors breathing down his neck). Then again, I'm also one of the people who actually likes it when he writes/podcasts about his random buddies like JackO and House, so that probably invalidates my opinion.

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL: Maybe Sloan and other elite coaches actually seek NOT to earn the being so consistently successful year after year that they avoid consideration?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Buck Nasty: And Justin Kubatko. (basketball-reference). And Roland Beech. (82games).

Re: Bill Simmons - the best thing he ever did for me was show there is atleast one good use for Twitter.

chris: This probably comes as no surprise as a Suns fan, but I couldn't give a crap how many Coach of the Year awards Sloan, Jackson, or Popovich win, but probably not as little as they care themselves. They will still routinely out-coach whoever the crap is coaching my team.

Blogger Bakes said...
Hey Bawful, I think Steven Nash needs to win the MVP for his performance in this commercial:

I liked Nash as a person (aside from a basketball player) before this cause he seemed like a cool guy, but now he's been elevated to the "freaking awesome" status. Seriously, brilliant. I'd like to propose that any time a basketball player follows through with an and-one that he do the "Steve Nash Dance" in celebration.

word verif: nocricri, as in "After watching Steven Nash's and 50 Cent's hilarious commercial, how could you nocricri with laughter?"

Blogger Mintz... said...
This post deserves a sad trombone.

Blogger said...
If the Clips win 40 games and/or makes the playoffs there is no way they don't give him the award

Anonymous RT said...
Erik Spoelstra really needs to watch out if he wins COY, especially if the team turns out to be a contender. He will subsequently and voluntarily need to resign due to family reasons if that happens.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow it seems Blake Griffin has a stress fracture on his patella and could miss 6 weeks. Did anyone not see this coming sadly enough? Hope he makes a full recovery.

Blogger Unknown said...
Lost in the CotY argument is when the same team's GM wins Executive of the Year. Like Sam Mitchell and Bryan Colangelo back in 07. Going back to 2005 when D'Antoni won CotY, the Suns also had the MVP in Nash AND the EotY in Colangelo. Why should guys like Mitchell and D'Antoni win the award when they were given enough tools so that they could have slept on the bench and won 50 games? Does any of this cross voters' minds?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
It really is totally incredible how cursed the Clippers are (and given their owner, how totally deserved that curse is). How many articles did we see when the Clips got the #1 pick about how Blake Griffin should "run for ze hills". I don't know who God is rooting for, but it's pretty obvious he's rooting against the Clippers. As always, they are who we thought they were.

Anonymous Stockton said...
Reasons to win COY
- overachieve (sloan did it)
- having best record (sloan did it)
- make playoffs without "stars" (sloan did it)
- being the most handsome (Sloan... oh, ok)

I like reading his chronicles, but sometimes he is just full of BS! His man-love for Chris Paul is amazing (he once described Deron Williams's pick and roll skills as a drunk guy trying to dance in prom night), not to mention his passion for Durant (altough the Blazers SHOULD HAVE drafted him).

Anonymous Stockton said...
Of course guys like Sloan (and Stockton) don't give a crap about prizes. For them it's all about the game, and of course, winning!

Blogger Kurtis said...
please...... PLEASE write something about how blake griffin broke his kneecap before the season was able to start


are they who we thought they were?

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Aaaaaaand out for six weeks. Awesome. I blame ESPN.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Great stuff from notmikedunleavy on Twitter:
Don't worry, Clips fans. Griffin will be back right around the time Baron gets hurt. Then Bassy can run the team!
No backsies! RT @chadfordinsider Griffin out 6 wks. I want my Clippers playoff prediction back. Clips are cursed.

Blogger chris said...
Apocalypse34: Don't forget when Elgin Baylor won Exec of the Year.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Somebody who has more free time than me needs to run the numbers on:

How many hall-of-fame coaches never won COY

How many COY winners never made the hall

Because most of the winners you named (cough!Sam MitchellCOUGH!!) are DEFINITELY not going to be in the hall with Sloan. I think coaches win that award because they somehow stand out, do something wildly different, or otherwise defy convention in some way to win the award.

Sloan does not defy convention, so it stands to reason that he never won the award. Running the pick and roll over and over and over and over and over and over is simply not "sexy" enough to win COY.

This is also a good argument that the award is meaningless.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
AK Dave: Honestly, you should just address those kinds of questions to me.

82 people have been admitted to the HOF as a coach.

51 people in the HOF have ABA/NBA coaching records.

Of those 51, 15 are HOF coaches. +1 for Hubie Brown, who was admitted as a contributor, but is important.

Of those 16, 4 coaches worked before the COY award existed (Alvin Julian, John Kundla, Ken Loeffler, and Frank McGuire).

Of those 12, 9 have earned atleast 1 COY award:

 - Red Auerbach - 1 COY
 - Hubie Brown - 2 COY
 - Larry Brown - 4 COY
 - Alex Hannum - 2 COY
 - Red Holzman - 1 COY
 - P Jack - 1 COY
 - Pat Riley - 3 COY
 - Bill Sharman - 2 COY
 - Lenny Wilkens - 1 COY

The remaining 3 are Chuck Daly (HOF '94), Jack Ramsay (HOF '92), and Jerry Sloan (HOF '09) without a COY award.

Other notes: There are 4 more people in the HOF as players who won 1 COY award each: Larry Bird, Harry Gallatin, Tom Heinsohn, and Dolph Schayes

Now, for the other side:

COY Award for ABA/NBA since 1962-63, so 58 total awards, given to 43 unique people.

There you go. Counting Hubie Brown, it's 9/12 = 75% of eligible HOF coaches have atleast 1 COY, and 9/43 = 21% of COY award recipients have made it to the HOF as a coach, or 13/43 = 30% total in the HOF.

All data from basketball-reference. Links not provided because my work just blocked blogspot, so I have to post from my phone =(

Blogger chris said...
AK Dave: This will easily answer both questions!

Let's see...excluding Larry Bird's playing career...

HOFers (so far) in the list of award winners: 7/39 (Hannum, Auerbach, Holzman, Riley, Wilkens, Jackson, Brown) - ONLY Riley has won the award a second time amongst that crowd

Likely future HOFers in the remaining crowd: 2/32 (Sloan, Popovich)

We're left with 30 coaches who did not or will not make the HOF, and yet have won COY. Including Dunleavy.

And of the 39, only 5 are from the top 10 coaches in NBA history (Brown, Jackson, Auerbach, Wilkens, Holzman).

Blogger chris said...
Crap, AnacondaHL, you beat me by one minute!!!!!!!

Blogger chris said...
Oh, and I forgot to realize Sloan was already in the HOF. So Anaconda's numbers are probably more accurate than mine, but we both are coming to the same conclusion.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
:flexes Internet muscles:

I'd like to dedicate this win to BlackBerry OS 5.0, whose reduced lag and cleaner typing actually makes me not feel like a dumbass using a touchscreen.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Nicely done, Gentlemen. Once again: my hat is off to you, sirs.

I suspected that many HOF coaches had also earned COY awards; it seems logical that the best coaches should at least contend for COY.

However, in light of this Post, it was plainly obvious that the inverse was not true: there are many, many flashes in the coaching pan who WOW everyone and then disappear once their team gets figured out, or the personnel they employed change, and their plucky, innovative tactics cannot be executed.

Again: I really think that COY is more about surprising people and getting noticed than it is for, uh, coaching.

With that in mind, Sloan will certainly go down as one of the greatest coaches ever, and I bet Sam Mitchell would trade in his award to be in the hall with Jerry Sloan.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Based on some of his moves, Sam Mitchell would probably trade his COY for a sack of White Castles.

Good to know you're alive, partner-namesake-from-Alaska. How's law skool?