A week ago, the three NBA coaches who were leading the pack with the best chances to win Coach of the Year award included Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat), Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics) and Nick Nurse (Toronto Raptors). Let’s get right to it by looking at the updated odds to see where these coaches stand based on the performances of their respective teams over the past week (12/6 – 12/12).
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3.Erik Spoelstra (+500). Last week’s odds (+500)
The Miami Heat continued their hot start with wins over the Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls and a come-from-behind win against the Atlanta Hawks. Overall, the Heat have posted wins in six of the last eight games and have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 18-6. Furthermore, they are only one of two teams that have a perfect record at home (11-0). The Philadelphia 76ers are a surprising 13-0. Although they are a middle-of-the-road team in terms of scoring (12th overall – 112.0 points per contest), they are still a top-10 team in both offense and defense. For those of us who expect the Heat to hit a tailspin, we may be waiting for quite some time. Hats off to coach Spoelstra for helping his team challenge for one of the top spots in the conference.
2.Brad Stevens (+400). Last week’s odds (+400)
The Celtics had an impressive week as well, posting three wins in their past four games. After notching back-to-back wins against the Denver Nuggets and Cleveland Cavaliers, the men in green hit a speedbump against the Indiana Pacers. They concluded their week a 115-109 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. As of right now, the Celtics have the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 17-7 and like the Heat, they are ranked in the top 10 in both offense and defensive efficiency. The Celtics aren’t even expected to compete for the conference crown, let alone win the NBA championship. However, Brad Stevens had quietly guided this team to a solid start. How long can they continue to play at this level? Only time will tell.
1.Nick Nurse (+400). Last week’s odds (+300)
Although his odds have slightly dipped from a week ago, Raptors coach Nick Nurse remains the top dog in the COTY award race, even though his team didn’t have a week to remember. They kicked off things with a 110-108 loss against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Raptors followed that up with a slim one-point victory over a Chicago Bulls team that hasn’t been playing very well this season. The Raptors concluded its weekly slate of games with a home game against Kawhi Leonard and the LA Clippers. As many of you probably expected, the Clippers came out on top, and in a big way, defeating the Raptors 112-92. As a result, the Raptors dropped to 16-8 on the season and they now have the fifth-best record in the conference. While the Raptors aren’t an offensive juggernaut, they continue to excel at the defensive end of the floor. They are ranked 7th in points allowed and they have the seventh-best defensive rating at the league, yielding 103.7 points per 100 possessions. Additionally, they are holding opponents to just 41.5 percent shooting from the field, which is the second-lowest conversion rate in the league. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why Nick Nurse continues to lead the pack for the prestigious award.