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2017 PBT Awards: Coach of the Year

Houston Rockets v Chicago Bulls

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 10: Head coach Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets complains to referee James Williams #60 during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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Kurt Helin

1. Mike D’Antoni, Rockets

2. Gregg Popovich, Spurs

3. Brad Stevens, Celtics

This was D’Antoni’s to lose from the middle of the season on, and he did nothing to give it away. However, leaving Scott Brooks and Eric Spoelstra off this list was difficult, Brooks, in particular, I believe deserves a lot of credit for the turnaround in Washington. That said, Popovich did an amazing job this season with a team that saw big changes (no Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol in) and Brad Stevens has built something impressive in Boston.

Note: Helin has an official ballot this year.

Dan Feldman

1. Mike D’Antoni, Rockets

2. Gregg Popovich, Spurs

3. Erik Spoelstra, Heat

I’m not totally certain Mike D’Antoni made the most coaching contributions to his team this season. It can be difficult to parse where coaching ends and playing begins. But he definitely the clearest coaching contributions. D’Antoni has beautifully implemented distinctive up-tempo spread attack with the Rockets, and they’re better for it.

Gregg Popovich might be the NBA’s best coach, but he shouldn’t win this award every year, because on teams stocked with returning veterans, he doesn’t need to utilize his full expertise every year. But to form so many offensive-minded players into an elite defense is a special coaching job.

I don’t understand how this Heat roster went 31-10 over any stretch this season. I sure don’t understand how they did it after a 10-31 start. Erik Spoelstra kept Miami focused and then built improvement.

Dane Carbaugh

1. Mike D’Antoni, Rockets

2. Steve Kerr, Warriors

3. Brad Stevens, Celtics

This race is all about how well coaches have been able to mix new stars into their teams. Both Kerr and Stevens have had to do that this season, and now that we’re post-LeBron in Miami, I think we as a league have a greater respect for how hard it is to plop a bunch of All-Stars onto a team and watch them win cohesively. But the star this year has been Mike D’Antoni, whose old system has been turned up to 11 with James Harden. It’s even quicker, and goes even heaver on the 3-point shot. Houston lost Dwight Howard but are the same record-wise without him. Give him the trophy.