First crack on the pounding rock of public perception.
The NBA announced Tuesday morning that Spurs head coach/grumpy curmudgeon Gregg Popovich has been voted as the Coach of the Year for 2013-14.
The news comes as no surprise, as ‘Pop is widely considered the best active coach, and one of the greatest to ever put dry-erase marker to a clipboard. His San Antonio Spurs finished the regular season with the best overall record in the league at 62-20, all whilst massaging the minutes for his aging roster. No Spur averaged more than 30 minutes per game (Tony Parker came the closest at 29.9, but as he’ll tell you, he’s fine, Pop), yet a total of 6 Spurs averaged 0ver 10 points per game. Pop was even able to coax less-than-horrible seasons out of the likes of Marco Belinelli, Patty Mills, Boris Diaw, and to top it off he coaxed a 22-point, 6-rebound game out of Austin freaking Daye! Congratulations Pop, on a job well done.
The relevant news here in Raptorland is that our very own head coach, Dwane “the Rock” Casey (how has that nickname not caught on?) came in fifth place in the ranking, finishing a few dozen points back of Charlotte’s Steve Clifford/the Car Czar (Yes, I watch Happy Endings). The full set of votes are tallied below:
Personally, the honor comes as somewhat of a surprise, as judging by the collective sentiment around here parts, benching Landry Fields is an offense punishable by death. However, 32 sportswriters who had a ballot clearly didn’t see it that way (what morons!). Rather, they found Casey’s steady guidance — having to cope with a major trade, managing two sophomores in the starting lineup — was crucial to the Raptors’ unforeseen success this season, and deemed his efforts worthy of recognition.
If you are so curious, a full list of ballots submitted can be found here, but I’ll save you the time. The five writers who put Casey first on their ballot are:
- Canadice Buckner — Indianapolis Star (read her stuff for all your “Pacers’ sky is falling” updates)
- J.A. Adande — ESPN
- Eddie Sefka — Dallas Morning News (he’s probably a bit biased, given Casey’s history in Dallas)
- Ron Tillery — Memphis Commercial Apparel
- Vincent Goodwill — Detroit Free Press
The Toronto-based voters were The Star’s Doug Smith (everybody’s favorite around these parts), TSN’s Leo Rautins (also everyone’s favorite) and SN Radio’s Paul Jones. They had Casey ranked 3rd, 2nd and 2nd respectively.