We tend to criticize them when things go wrong and they are often the first lock to jump when the team is in crisis, but NBA coaches can also do a good job and this is an opportunity to give them some light to offer through this ranking of coach Of the Year or COY for close friends. Monty Williams was the king of tablets and felt in 2022, who will succeed him this season? From Will Hardy to Joe Mazzulla, there are some good candidates.
(Statistics as of December 1)
# Honorable mentions: Taylor Jenkins, Chauncey Billups, Jacque Vaughn
#10 – Will Hardy
Record: 13-11, seventh in the Western Conference
With Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert gone, a workforce that was promised careful destruction, it would be an understatement to say that Will Hardy is at risk of having his job eliminated for his debut as a coach in Utah. Despite a group that was built a bit in a hurry and without general experience, the former protégé of Gregg Popovich knew very quickly how to impose his paw and build a very beautiful collective in Salt Lake City, who were able to take down even the top names. If we had to do these rankings a few weeks ago when the Jazz were at the top of their Conference, it’s a safe bet that this good Will would probably have been on the podium, but the recent losing streak has dampened the hype a bit. Since we promised hell in Utah at the start of the season, it deserves some respect with a spot in the Top 10.
#9 – Mike Budenholzer
Record: 15-5, second in the Eastern Conference
Despite still persistent sores within the workforce, the Bucks always arrive at their destination, which is to say, in first place in the Eastern Conference. After a fanfare start (9 wins in a row), Milwaukee has slacked off a bit, mainly due to some injuries to Giannis Antetokounmpo or Jrue Holiday. When everyone is healthy, this group really has the ability to crush their opponents and the best may be yet to come. Absent since the start of the season, Khris Middleton is expected this Friday against the Lakers. Oh, yeah, to get fifteen wins in twenty games with the franchise’s No. 2 on the sidelines, that’s pretty good, too.
#8 – Nick Nurse
Record: 11-10, seventh in the Eastern Conference
The years go by and Nick Nurse remains this tactician that we still appreciate so much on the Ontario side. We wondered at the start of the season if Toronto could go the distance against a filling Eastern Conference and for now the Dinos are doing the job. What is strong is that the injuries also did damage. Pascal Siakam spent some time in the infirmary, VanVleet also missed a few games and Scottie Barnes recently. When most of the leaders are absent, it is inevitably more complicated to win, but Toronto has reserves and other boys take the opportunity to show themselves. For example, we think of an OG Anunoby who seems to have passed a new milestone this season. Can’t wait for everyone to come out of the infirmary to see the real potential of these Raptors.
#7 – Monty Williams
Record: 15-6, first in the Western Conference
As Peer Coach of the Year in 2021 and selected by Journalists in 2022 after a historic season in Arizona, Monty Williams is in the running for a double. Positive point for the Suns guru, a very serious start to the season once again, despite a few minor problems managing the side. Chris Paul has already missed eleven games this season, Cam Johnson has quickly joined him in the infirmary and let’s not forget that Jae Crowder, last year’s holder, is in the closet. Despite everything, Phoenix remains the master of the Western Conference and seems to have found its cruising speed with a streak of six consecutive victories. It’s strong, it deserved to be underlined even if Monty leaves with a small malus. In the history of the League, no coach has ever kept his trophy from one year to the next … Can Williams change this sentence?
#6 – JB Bickerstaff
Record: 14-8, third in the Eastern Conference
And if Cleveland unleashed on us this big year what we’ve come to expect from them? Backed up by an MVPesque Donovan Mitchell, the Ohioans are off to a solid start to the season, despite some avoidable losses and a TrashTalk curse. JB Bickerstaff managed to make these Cavs attractive last year and the question that arose was whether he could manage a team that simply aims to win. A situation he never had to manage too much as a temporary worker or coach of a low-ranked team. For the moment we really want to answer in the affirmative even though there is still work to confirm over time. #encouraging.
#5 – Mike Malone
Record: 14-7, second in the Western Conference
Maybe it’s because of the lack of network in the mountains of Colorado (honestly, we don’t know) or because of the overall hype of the franchise, but Denver is off to a great start to the season. The recruitment has paid off and with the return of the injured the team can once again look towards the top of their Conference. Slowly but surely, Denver is establishing itself as a major contender in the West and the scariest part is that Nikola Jokic doesn’t even have to be great every night. We’ve often tended to give the Joker all the credit for the franchise’s recent results, but one day Mike Malone will have to get some credit. Always cited, never a winner, will the Rockies coach manage to pull out of the game this season?
#4 – Mike Brown
Record: 11-9, sixth in the Western Conference
Mocked for years for their inability to join the Playoffs (and more generally for a very disappointing level), the Kings are once again a team to reckon with in the West. Just this sentence is already extraordinary and we will therefore send hearts to the one who restored order in the house: Mike Brown. A coach initially known for his defense, Steve Kerr’s former assistant has so far failed to make Sacramento an iron defense (far from it), but the fire attack carried out by De’Aaron Fox allows the Kings to pass many teams to the grinder. No more repeated dramas in California, we sense a group that is alive and well, gaining momentum thanks to a recruitment that paid off (especially Kevin Huerter). Not sure that a spot in the Playoffs will be enough to make Brown the Coach of the Year, but it deserves a big line on the resume
#3 – Willie Green
Record: 13-8, third in the Western Conference
The Pelicans fled! On the back of a big end to the season and with the strengthening of Zion Williamson (excuse the bit), Willie Green of New Orleans is making a stronghold in the West. Spectacular, united, ready to give everything defensively, the Louisiana sweethearts have a good scarecrow head that no one wants to fall on. Small statistics do not show useless: they are in the Top 10 in offensive and defensive rating. Only Phoenix and Cleveland do as well. With a few less sores for the big names (Ingram, McCollum, and Zion are all already on the sidelines), this team has the potential to have a great season. And to think this is only Green’s second year on the bench… It promises a big career for the former fullback.
#2 – Rick Carlisle
Record: 12-9, fourth in the Eastern Conference.
And if Rick Carlisle became Coach of the Year again twenty years later? It’s a phrase no one would have bet a penny on at the start of the season. The Pacers? “Between thirteenth and fifteenth place in the East, anyway they want to rebuild”. Good ? Because right now, our farmmates look more like a Playoffs team than a Lottery team. In the wake of a Tyrese Haliburton-caliber MIP, the entire group seems to be stepping up. Myles Turner? Best year of his life. Benedict Mathurin? The rookie already seems to have a boulevard to be sixth man of the year. We can also mention Buddy Hield in the managers or the newcomer Nembhard who is a pleasure for his debut. Will this idyllic start to the year last? This is somewhat the big question that will determine Carlisle’s place in this ranking at the end of the season.
#1 – Joe Mazzulla
Record: 18-4, first in the Eastern Conference, best record in the NBA.
Without the slightest doubt, without the slightest dispute, he is the boss at the start of the season. Arriving at the controls of Boston to take over from a suspended Ime Udoka, Joe Mazzulla managed to pocket his entire squad in record time. His players constantly praise his methods and the Celtics have had a great first month and a half. The group is strong, sure of its strength, the Jay Brothers are developing at their best level, we almost forget that Rob Williams has not yet set foot on a field. This is the reinforcement that will allow the Greens to regain their defensive strength. For a first experience in the NBA and in the context we knew when he took office, what Joe Mazzulla is doing to us is very strong.