NBA : 5 underrated coaches this season
These coaches are not likely to win the award in June, but are leading their teams to records that are way above expectations.
There are a number of coaches who can stake their claim for the Coach of the Year award this year. While a couple of teams have performed way below expectations, most of the head coaches in the NBA are doing a steady job of keeping their teams relevant in the short term, while managing their long-term goals.
In this article, we wish to give credit where credit is due - in the sense that these coaches are not likely to win the award in June, but are leading their teams to records that are way above expectations.
Obviously, the very purpose of the award is to do that, but with the Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics performing the way they are, Dwane Casey, Mike D'Antoni, and Brad Stevens are surely going to be in the conversation or on the ballot for the voting. The fact that the San Antonio Spurs are in the playoff race at all is a testament to Gregg Popovich's enduring excellence, and he is likely to be in the ballot as well.
Thus, we need to find a second tier of candidates for the award. Note: This list is unranked.
Quin Snyder - Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz resemble a sturdy playoff team with an identity thanks largely to Quin Snyder's expert coaching. They rank 3rd in the league in defensive rating and 5th in net rating with a spectacular 3.2 points per 100 possessions differential. The reason why Snyder makes this list is because they are doing it all after losing their best player (Gordon Hayward) in the offseason to free agency.
With a record of 38-30 and a stingy defense, the Jazz look one of the best bets to make the playoffs in the Murderers' Row that is the Western Conference playoff race. What is even more impressive is the fact that they have won 18 of their last 20 games, rejuvenated by Rudy Gobert's return from injury.
While Donovan Mitchell has been a revelation this season, a lot of credit has to be given to Snyder for giving the rookie the keys to his offense despite starting the season off on a bad shooting streak. Snyder has managed his wing rotations expertly, and Jae Crowder, who arrived in a trade for Rodney Hood, looks like a rejuvenated player on both ends of the floor under him.