The NBA announced Tuesday that Gregg Popovich won the Coach of the Year Award. Doc Rivers finished fifth in the voting. (ESPN Boston)
Rivers earned 26 points with 1 first-place vote, 4 second-place votes, and 9 third-place votes. San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich won the Red Auerbach Trophy with 467 points (77 first-place votes), while Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau was second at 315 points (27 first-place votes). Indiana’s Frank Vogel (161 points) and Memphis’ Lionel Hollins (50 points) joined Rivers in rounding out the top 5.
Rivers helped the Celtics overcome a series of season-ending injuries. He encouraged his players to stay the course after they limped to a 15-17 record at the All-Star break. He had the balls to insert Avery Bradley into the starting lineup in replacement of a Hall of Famer. He moved Kevin Garnett to center even though the team wasn’t thrilled with that idea, put Brandon Bass into the starting lineup alongside Garnett and generally pulled the right strings all second half of the season, leading the Celtics to a better second-half record than any other team despite a thin bench that has very little in the way of offensive firepower.
All that being said, Rivers didn’t have a real Coach of the Year case. Not when he was still in charge during Boston’s underachieving first half. Not when Gregg Popovich just keeps the San Antonio Spurs running like a machine regardless of how old his stars become.