The NBA season is just about to kick off so let’s take a look at the 2016 NBA Coach of the Year Odds currently available at 5Dimes. The Coach of the Year is a very difficult one to bet on because the media rarely chooses the best coach, but more like the coach of the team who had the best season.
A good example of this is Gregg Popovich, the favorite at +550, who probably has no real chance of winning this award. Sure, the Spurs will win 50 or more games and be a threat come playoffs time, but the media won’t vote for Popovich. Why? There are a lot of factors. The press tends to vote for guys who led a big turnaround, new coaches who made a team better or the coach of the team that is just head and shoulders better than the rest. It’s rare that an established coach doing what he’s always done wins it.
This probably also rules out last year’s runner-up Steve Kerr at +550 who led the Warriors to the championship. Last season was his chance to win it, but if the Warriors come back and do the same thing they did last year it will be considered “same old, same old” for many voters. Even though winning 60+ games in back-to-back years is one of the hardest things a coach can do.
The early favorite, in my opinion, has to be Billy Donovan at +750. He’s a rookie NBA coach, but he’s coaching a team that could do big things this year. The Thunder have been one of the best teams in the NBA over the last few years, but were just ravaged by injuries last year. If they are healthy they could easily be a top-3 seed in the West. If Donovan improves them even a little bit offensively or defensively he could be a shoe-in for this award.
Another person I really like that the odds makers don’t is Alvin Gentry at +1500. He was a key catalyst in the Warriors championship run and, as I said in our MVP odds, I think he’ll be coaching the MVP in Anthony Davis this year. This could be a huge year for the Pelicans and if he can bring the same kind of visionary offense to New Orleans that he showed in Phoenix and Golden State, he could be the coach of a very good team which would put him in line for this award.
For a deep cut, how about Scott Skiles at +10000? There is a “Scott Skiles bump” when it comes to his team’s defensive performance after he gets the job there. With a team full of young, athletic players maybe he could somehow will them into an 8th playoff spot? If no other teams make a huge leap then the “new guy who makes a bad team good” is always a favorite narrative when it comes to Coach of the Year voting.
|Stan Van Gundy||+4500|