NBA Midseason Awards: Top 10 Candidates For Coach of the Year

Tyler RobinsonContributor IIFebruary 18, 2011

NBA Midseason Awards: Top 10 Candidates For Coach of the Year

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't know what to do with it, then you probably aren't going to be very good.

    The likes of Phil Jackson (10 titles) and Greg Popovich (four titles) are in the running for the Coach of the Year award. There are also first year head coaches like Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams who are also vying for the award.

    Whether they've been coaching for 10 years or four months, there is one thing that they all have in common; they all get the most out of the talented players that they work with.

    Here are the top ten candidates for the NBA Coach of the Year Award.

10. Stan Van Gundy

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Team Record: 36-21, fourth in the East

    Stan Van Gundy led the Magic to the finals in the 2008-09 season and had the Orlando in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

    Orlando is once again a top contender out east. Van Gundy's squad is 36-21 and they are currently sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Magic look poised to make another deep playoff run and they dismantled the Lakers this past Sunday, 89-75.

9. Phil Jackson

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    Team Record: 38-19, third in the West

    Everyone is trying to find something wrong with the Lakers because they've lost a couple games as of late. 

    The Lakers are still third in the west, and they've still got the game's best player and coach. 

    Phil Jackson teams are always well coached to say the very least. He has ten championship rings, 'nuff said.

    The Lakers may be going through a little skid right now, but they'll be ready come playoff time.

8. Rick Carlisle

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Team Record: 39-16, second in the West

    The Dallas Mavericks are white hot right now, they've won nine of there last 10 games.

    Rick Carlisle won the Coach of the Year award back in 2002 when he was with the Detroit Pistons. 

    The Mavericks are 39-16 and have the west's second best record. Dallas was the second seed in last year's playoffs but were bounced by San Antonio in the first round (Can you believe the Spurs were a seven seed in last year's playoffs?).

    Carlisle is going to make sure that Dallas' regular season success translates in the playoffs.

7. Mike D'Antoni

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Team Record: 28-26, sixth in the East

    The New York Knickerbockers haven't made the playoffs since the 2003-04 season. Right now they are 28-26 and hold the sixth seed in the east. 

    D'Antoni's Run N' Gun offense that worked so well in Phoenix is now working in New York. The Knicks lead the east in scoring, putting up 106.2 points per game.

    For the first time in eight years the Knicks are relevant. 

6. Scott Brooks

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Team Record: 35-19, fourth in the west

    Scott Brooks was named Oklahoma's head coach in the 2008-09 season after P.J. Carlesimo started the 1-12. The Thunder would finish 23-59.

    Brooks turned the Thunder around in his first full season as a head coach. Oklahoma went 50-32 and earned the west's eight seed. They took on the Lakers in the first round and gave the eventual champs all that they could handle.

    The Thunder have only improved on last year's success, and they should be a force to reckon with for years to come with Brooks calling the shots.

5. Doc Rivers

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Team Record: 40-14, first in the East

    Doc Rivers has had Boston in the Finals two of the past three seasons, winning the title back in the 2008 season. The Celtics are looking to make another run at the title this season.

    Rivers and the Celtics are the class of the east. The Miami Heat made a lot of noise when the season started, but they've been silenced by the Celts.

    Boston is 3-0 against Miami's big three.

    Rivers won the Coach of the Year award in 2000 in his first season as Orlando's head coach. He could very well take the award this year if the Celtics continue at their current pace.

4. Monty Williams

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Team Record: 33-25, sixth in the west

    Expectations weren't very high for the Hornets when the season started. They missed the playoffs, there were rumors that Chris Paul wanted out, and their new head coach didn't have any prior head coaching experience.

    Monty Williams has already exceeded expectations for this season. The Hornets are 33-25 and are well are there way to the playoffs. 

    Williams commands the west's top defense, as the Hornets only allow 92.9 points per game. 

3. Tom Thibodeau

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Team Record: 38-16, third in the east

    Tom Thibodeau has the Chicago Bulls right on the heels of the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

    The first year head coach has the Bulls playing some of the league's toughest defense, as they are second in the NBA behind Boston, allowing 92.4 points per game.

    Thibodeau is 2-1 against the Heat and Celtics, and the Bulls took down the Spurs last night.

    The Bulls should be a force come playoff time, and Thibodeau deserves much of the credit for the Chicago's success.

2. Nate McMillan

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Team Record: 32-24, fifth in the west

    Once again Portland has been hit with injuries. It's really uncanny how one team could have so much bad luck. 

    The Blazers are sitting pretty at fifth seed out west despite everything they've had to deal with.

    Nate McMillan makes the most with less; he does so every year. Nobody gets more out of their players than McMillan.

    Can you imagine what he would do if the Blazers' roster was intact? 

1. Greg Popovich

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Team Record: 46-10, best in the NBA

    Was it ever really a question? 

    Greg Popovich has been coaching the Spurs since the '97-98 season. In that time, he's won four NBA titles; only Phil Jackson has won more in that span.

    This may very well be the best we've ever seen Popovich coach. His superstars are getting older and the rest of the league is getting younger, but the Spurs are the best team in the league.

    Year after year the Spurs are quietly one of the NBA's top teams, and they are there once again. Popovich has the Spurs looking as good as they ever did, and they are now the favorite to represent the west in the Finals.