New York Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year for second time
For the second time in his career, and 10 years separated, Tom Thibodeau was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year on Monday.
The New York Knicks coach, who drove the group he grew up watching to a 20-win improvement this season, defeated Phoenix Suns mentor Monty Williams by a sum of 11 points, while Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder finished third. It was the second time Thibodeau won the honor in his first year with a new team, after doing as so with the Chicago Bulls in 2011.
“Anytime you get an award like this, I’m obviously honored, but it’s more a reflection of our group and our organization,” Thibodeau said on “Inside The NBA” in accepting the award.
A few the players he had as a part of that Bulls group, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson, were veteran mentors on the current year’s Knicks crew, which went from being required to vie for one of the top spots in the NBA’s draft lottery to acquiring home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
“The thing about Derrick and the people that have been around him, and Taj, the same can be said for him, is they’re team-first guys,” Thibodeau said. “When Derrick was MVP of the league at 22, he was a great teammate, he had great humility, and he’s been in a number of big games, but he’s also been through a lot of adversity, so I thought it would be great to have a veteran who has been through a lot of things to help set the tone with veteran leadership for the group.”
While the Knicks proceeded to lose to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, it was as yet a fruitful season in Gotham, as Julius Randle – who was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player a month ago – turned into an All-Star, RJ Barrett moved forward in his second season and Immanuel Quickley immediately contributed as a rookie for the Knicks, who had a top-five defense all season.
“Julius was special,” Thibodeau said. “He set the tone from day one, but RJ Barrett made a huge leap this year, and then we’ve got two young guys that brought great energy every day and got better each and every day in Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin. The whole team, from top to bottom, they were very special, they were very tight, hard-working and gave everything they had each and every day.”
Williams really had all the more first-place votes (45) than Thibodeau and was named on 96 voting forms to Thibodeau’s 95. Yet, Thibodeau edged him out by virtue of getting several a second-place votes.
Williams wasn’t upset to finish second, particularly since the champ was Thibodeau. The two worked when they were assistant coaches with USA ball.
“It’s pretty cool to watch someone I’ve worked with win an award like that,” Williams said Monday night, after his Suns beat the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series.
Williams helped lead the Suns to the NBA’s second-best record after Phoenix hadn’t made the end of the season games since 2010, as the combination of the acquisition of Chris Paul and the improvement of the team’s stable of young players – drove by All-Star monitor Devin Booker, previous No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges – helped at long last make something happen. The Suns will would like to make it to the NBA Finals for the first time since Charles Barkley led them there in 1993.
Williams earned the respect of his peers, too, winning the National Basketball Coaches Association’s version of the award a month ago.
Snyder, presently in his seventh season with the Jazz, driven Utah to the NBA’s best record, developing a system around the unique talents of center Rudy Gobert, whom the club has encircled with a ton of shooting – and Snyder has given them the go-ahead to allow it to fly at whatever point conceivable.
That mix permitted the Jazz to be the solitary team to complete the regular season in the main five in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and get done with the league’s best record for the first time in franchise history.
Those three coaches were trailed by Philadelphia 76ers’ Doc Rivers, who got the lone other first-place votes. Atlanta Hawks mentor Nate McMillan, Brooklyn Nets mentor Steve Nash and Nuggets mentor Michael Malone additionally got votes.
Like a year ago, the NBA has reverted to its traditional rollout of the awards during the end of the season games as opposed to having an large awards show at the end of the postseason because of the continuous COVID-19 pandemic.