The 2012-13 NBA season is rapidly approaching its final stages, meaning it's finally time to make serious predictions for this season's awards.
While most fans generally focus on player awards at seasons end, this article is solely dedicated to the Coach of the Year honors.
Unlike past years, this season's COY race has incredible depth, as numerous coaches have emerged as candidates for this year's award.
Let's take a look at this season's top candidates for Coach of the Year.
It almost feels wrong to rank Scott Brooks this low, but it is completely warranted.
Since winning this award back in 2010, Brooks has consistently produced successful seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, going 149-63 over the past three years.
While one would consider Brooks an obvious great coach and a potential COY, the league has seemed to develop an unwritten rule in recent years of not awarding repeat winners.
Since 1986, no coach has ever won back-to-back COY awards or taken home this award with the same team in less than a span of nine years.
Brooks consistency is looking like it will once again fall on deaf ears. Unless the Thunder are able to win out the rest of the season or do something else extreme, don't expect him to take home this year's COY honors.
Winners of their last nine games, the Nuggets have emerged as the potential dark horse for this year's NBA title, making Karl a candidate for this season's COY award.
Karl has been able to put out effective rotations on a game-by-game basis and unlike other teams, has been able to rack up wins without a superstar on his roster.
Although Karl deserves a lot of credit, he won't win this year's award.
The Nuggets' mediocre performance on the road (15-19) will ultimately be the factor that dismisses Karl as a serious candidate.
Since taking over the Indiana Pacers in 2011, Frank Vogel has revitalized Pacers' basketball, bringing them back to their winning ways.
As the head coach for the Pacers, Vogel has led the team to two winning seasons and has them on the verge of another with their current record of 39-24.
Vogel has preached defense and rebounding since becoming head coach, as the Pacers currently place first in the league in rebounding (45.6), first in defensive efficiency (95.6) and second in total points allowed per game (89.7).
Vogel is starting to look like the next up-and-coming coach and could take home this award in the near future.
Like Karl, expect Vogel to be considered for COY but not seriously, as the team has also struggled away from home (14-17).
Mark Jackson and the Golden State Warriors have been a pleasant surprise this season—currently holding the sixth seed in the West with a record of 36-29.
Before Jackson's hiring in 2011, the Warriors struggled ranking 13th in offensive efficiency and 27th in defensive efficiency.
In a little under two years Jackson has started turning things around, as the team currently ranks 10th in offensive efficiency (103.4) and 16th in defensive efficiency (102.9).
With help from the front office, Jackson has been able to bring success back to Oakland by putting a great mix of youth and talent on the floor. The Warriors are leaps and bounds better than last season's squad that put up a 23-43 record.
Jackson is one of the main reasons for this turnaround and the team should continue to see an upward trend for years to come.
While the Knicks have simmered down as of late with a current record of 38-23, Woodson still deserves a look at this year's COY award.
Since becoming the full time head coach of the Knicks late last season, Woodson has all but entirely changed the culture of the team.
As a defensive focused coach, Woodson has gotten the Knicks to buy into a new mentality, as the team ranks seventh in the league in points allowed with 95.8 points per game.
Woodson has been the driving force that has made the Knicks a potential championship team and is a top five candidate for the COY award.
While I'm sure most fans won't agree with this ranking, credit is given where credit is due.
In the Heat's past two seasons, Spoelstra has lead Miami to two NBA Finals appearances and one championship. On top of these past accolades, the future continues to look bright as the team holds a 48-14 record this season and is currently riding a 19-game winning streak.
Spoelstra has been one of the few coaches in the NBA that has been able to provide a balance between a group of stars and should be recognized for it.
While the argument can be made that Spoelstra is just in the right place at the right time with LeBron James at the wheel, there is no sugarcoating his success.
Luckily, this drop off has been very minimal to almost nonexistent, as Lionel Hollins and the Grizzlies have turned in an impressive 14-4 record since Gay's departure. The Grizzlies currently sit as the No. 3 seed in the West with an overall record of 43-19.
Before the trade, Hollins was already receiving consideration as a serious COY candidate and has only strengthened this claim.
Hollins has been able to keep the Grizzlies playing at a high level on defense as they rank second in defensive efficiency (97.3) and first in points allowed per game (89.5). The fact that Hollins has been able to keep his team rolling in wake of losing arguably the team's best player is very telling and will land him some votes as this year's COY.
Thibodeau has done an impressive job all season long, leading the injury riddled Bulls to a respectable 35-28 record—without Derrick Rose.
Thibodeau has stressed the importance of defense and rebounding and his team has responded. The Bulls currently rank fourth in the league in defensive efficiency (98.9), third in points allowed per game (91.3) and sixth in rebounds per game (43.5).
With his coaching, Thibodeau has been able to keep the team afloat and in striking distance for a potential Rose return. What Thibodeau has been able to do without his superstar player is truly remarkable and warrants some praise.
If the Bulls can put together a solid number of wins in the remainder of the season, Thibodeau could earn this year's COY award.
If there were one coach that could be the exception to the NBA's unwritten rule of not awarding consistency, it would be Gregg Popovich.
Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs are once again leading the league in total wins with a current record of 49-16. While this record is already rather impressive in itself, the Spurs have been picking up wins in a very efficient manner.
The Spurs currently rank sixth in offensive efficiency (107.3), third in defensive efficiency (98.6), first in assists per game (25.1) and fourth in points per game (104.4).
On top of these incredible stats, Popovich has also been able to provide consistent minutes to almost every member on the squad. As of March 13th, 14 players on the Spurs' roster average double-digit minutes per game.
Popovich has once again proved to be basketball maestro and could become the first ever to get back-to-back COY honors.