Session 2, The Awards Segment, Part 2:
The Brook-Lin scribes are actively watching the playoffs keeping our sights on which free agents perform well and putting on our thinking caps for what this summer will bring. As the team gears up for the offseason we conducted a series of roundtable sessions reflecting back on the 2017-18 season.
In this the second segment the scribes make their selections for NBA Awards 2017-18. Additionally, we also take a look at if and when any Brooklyn Nets might find their names included in the end of season awards. In part two of the four part Awards Segment we dive into top coaches, most improved players with a view to how Kenny Atkinson rates and whether Spencer Dinwiddie makes it a clean sweep as most improved Nets player.
Pick your top 3 Coach of the Year candidates
- Dwane Casey
- Brad Stevens
- Quin Snyder
Terry Stotts dons the three-slot for establishing a great principled defensive system that finally got luck to go its way after some years of opposing hot shooting, Mike D’Antoni earns runner-up for tweaking his famous early offense pick-and-roll system to accommodate his two star guards and thriving, and Brad Stevens wins the award for consistently inserting his players into their ideal roles on both ends of the court.
- Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors: Casey changed the culture of a team that desperately needed a shake-up.
- Erik Spolestra, Miami Heat: ‘Spo took a team of players who otherwise would’ve been lottery-bound to a six seed in the playoffs.
- Brad Stevens, Celtics: “The President” lost one of his top two players on opening night and was able to coax stellar performances out of extremely young players.
This year there are so many coaches who deserve hat tips. Dwane Casey gets the nod in the top spot and it’s deserved given the ‘culture shift’ and top East seed. But, part of the reason he’ll win I believe is because other top teams players will win awards and no other Raptors player will be in the mix.
The second and third spots were a more difficult selection for me. Brad Stevens, Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr. Erik Spoelstra and Quin Snyder and Alvin Gentry all maneuvered with key injuries to their rosters. Terry Stotts got his Blazers to perform well enough to land a home court seed in the Wild West and Brett Brown advanced the ‘Process’.
Ultimately my second and third picks are Quin Snyder and Brad Stevens.
Dwane Casey, Brad Stevens, and Quin Snyder in no particular order. Also shout out to Doc Rivers for somehow keeping the dumpster fire that was the Clippers this year close to the playoffs.
Where does Kenny Atkinson rank in NBA coaches?
I think Kenny is definitely in the top half of coaches league-wide. His player development skills are top-notch, and his after timeout plays are consistently excellent. I sometimes question his in-game rotations (which would be a primary area of improvement for him), but his offensive and defensive schemes are solid.
Atkinson comfortably fits in a tier among the top ten coaches in the NBA. He has a chance to be seen as perhaps one of the three or four best coaches if he continues to look good with evolving roster constructions and team expectations in the coming years. Atkinson has mastered the understanding of control of the three point arc on both ends of the court.