We’re still months away from the start of the NBA regular season, but this off-season has been an exciting thrill ride in its own right. We’ve seen LeBron James rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love traded for number one draft pick Andrew Wiggins, Pau Gasol move from Los Angeles to Chicago and Paul George suffer a gruesome leg injury derail his season before it even started.
With all of this player movement, it’s easy to overlook the vastly different coaching landscape across the league. Nine of the league’s thirty teams have a new head coach including: Lionel Hollins (Nets), David Blatt (Cavs), Stan Van Gundy (Pistons), Steve Kerr (Warriors), Byton Scott (Lakers), Jason Kidd (Bucks), Flip Saunders (T’Wolves), Derek Fisher (Knicks) and Quin Snyder (Jazz). But how will these new floor leaders fare next season?
Starting in the 1962-63 season, the NBA began awarding the Red Auerbach Trophy which is presented annually to the Coach of the Year. Last season Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich won the award for the third time in his career and the second time in the past three years, but does he have a chance to repeat?
Earlier this week a prominent offshore oddsmaker, Sportsbook.com, posted Coach of the Year odds for all thirty NBA head coaches with Popovich (+275) once again listed as the favorite. It’s interesting to see that Cleveland’s David Blatt, who coached Maccabi Tel Aviv last season, has the second best odds (+500) of winning the award.
The following table compares the current NBA Coach of the Year odds from one square book (Sportsbook.com) and one sharp book (5Dimes). As always, we encourage readers to shop for the best line before placing any bet.
|Coach||Team||5Dimes (10/10)||Sportsbook (8/26)|
|Gregg Popovich||San Antonio Spurs||+275||+275|
|David Blatt||Cleveland Cavaliers||+350||+500|
|Tom Thibodeau||Chicago Bulls||+650||+650|
|Doc Rivers||Los Angeles Clippers||+800||+800|
|Jeff Hornacek||Phoenix Suns||+1200||+1200|
|Rick Carlisle||Dallas Mavericks||+1200||+1200|
|Dwane Casey||Toronto Raptors||+1500||+1500|
|Steve Clifford||Charlotte Hornets||+1800||+1800|
|Steve Kerr||Golden State Warriors||+1200||+2000|
|Terry Stotts||Portland Trail Blazers||+2000||+2000|
|Derek Fisher||New York Knicks||+2500||+2500|
|Jason Kidd||Milwaukee Bucks||+3000||+3000|
|Kevin McHale||Houston Rockets||+3000||+3000|
|Scott Brooks||Oklahoma City Thunder||+3000||+3000|
|Lionel Hollins||Brooklyn Nets||+4000||+4000|
|Monty Williams||New Orleans Pelicans||+4000||+4000|
|Eric Spoelstra||Miami Heat||+3500||+5000|
|Randy Wittman||Washington Wizards||+5000||+5000|
|Brian Shaw||Denver Nuggets||+6000||+6000|
|Frank Vogel||Indiana Pacers||+7500||+7500|
|Stan Van Gundy||Detroit Pistons||+8000||+8000|
|Byron Scott||Los Angeles Lakers||+8000||+12500|
|David Joerger||Memphis Grizzlies||+12500||+12500|
|Brad Stevens||Boston Celtics||+20000||+20000|
|Flip Saunders||Minnesota T'Wolves||+20000||+20000|
|Brett Brown||Philadelphia 76ers||+25000||+25000|
|Jacque Vaughn||Orlando Magic||+25000||+25000|
|Michael Malone||Sacramento Kings||+25000||+25000|
|Mike Budenholzer||Atlanta Hawks||+25000||+25000|
|Quin Snyder||Utah Jazz||+25000||+25000|
With the exception of Orlando’s Doc Rivers in the 1999-2000 season, every single Coach of the Year recipient made the playoffs in their award winning season. Perhaps that explains the long odds for many of last season’s cellar dwellers.
It’s tough to identify value on a prop bet like this, but one intriguing name is Detroit’s Stan Van Gundy. In eight NBA seasons, Ron Jeremy’s doppelganger posted an impressive 371-208 record including seven playoff appearances and one NBA finals appearance (2008-09). Although the Pistons finished just 29-53 last season, there is plenty of talent on this team including Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, up-and-coming big man Andre Drummond and potentially unsigned RFA Greg Monroe.
Drummond, who stands 6’10” and 270 pounds, shares many similarities with Rockets center Dwight Howard. Considering Van Gundy’s success with Howard in Orlando, the 21-year old Drummond could emerge as one of the league’s premier players in his third professional season.
Factor in the lack of elite teams in the Eastern Conference and the Pistons look primed for a major turnaround. If Detroit can sneak into the playoffs with around 44 wins, that 15 game turnaround could be enough to land Van Gundy his first Coach of the Year award.
Who do you think will be named the 2014-15 Coach of the Year? Which coaches do you feel are being undervalued? Please leave any thoughts, comments or questions in the section below.