Should Mike D’Antoni win Coach of the Year?
Before last season you could have picked up your remote, gone through every single one of your favorite sports channels, watched every show, listened to 99% of the sports analysts that have studied the sport for decades, and make a substantial amount of money to give us their opinions, analysis, and predictions. Most of them didn’t even see the Rockets making the playoffs. “James Harden is great but doesn’t pass.” “Gordon and Anderson are always hurt.” “Beverly can’t score.” “Ariza is good but that’s it.” “Capela is young.” “Nene is too old.” “Mike D’antoni doesn’t coach defense.” These are some of the excuses that these analysts made for why the Rockets will not be a winning team. Bleacher Report even had the Rockets going 38-44.
Why it Should be D’Antoni
D’antoni either ignored all of those comments or used them as fuel, because he didn’t change who he was. He ran as much as every team he has coached and shot more 3-pointers than anyone in history. Mike made his team as he always has: an offensive fear for every other team in the league. Maybe what he deserves the most credit for is keeping things simple. Being somebody who has such a huge trajectory and track record, who supposedly had something to prove in this new opportunity, still put his ego to the side and understood what was best for his team. For his offense, he put the ball in the hands of one the best players in the league, James Harden. With the defensive side of the ball, however, he handed the duties over to Jeff Bzdelik.
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A perfect storm of common denominators come together very rarely the way the did for the Houston Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni. The ability to convince, adapt, defer, lead, apply, and so many other attributes are ones we can add to Mike D’Antoni’s season. However, it really comes down to one thing. Winning.
Mike D’Antoni reemerged this season in the NBA. He took a team not even projected to the playoffs to the 3rd best record in the NBA. We can point to so many other details like bringing Clint Capela along, getting Eric Gordon to come off the bench, or bring in Nene to be the vet of the locker room. Mike D’Antoni is and should be the Coach of the year, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.