Willie Green new favorite?

We tend to criticize them when things go wrong and they are often the first lock that jumps if the team is in crisis, but NBA coaches can also do a great job and this is an opportunity to offer them a little light through this ranking of Coach Of the Year or COY for close friends. Joe Mazzulla, Taylor Jenkins, Willie Green, who is the favorite to attack the year 2023?

(Stats as of January 3)

#10 – Chauncey Billups (starter)

Record: 19-17, seventh in the Western Conference

A newcomer who enters our ranking after having squatted the mentions. By leading Portland into the Top 8 in the West, Billups is currently belying all predictions. Most observers imagine the Blazers fighting to be on the low end of the play-in and the Oregon players are currently closer to a direct qualification than a passage through the dam. Defensively as offensively, we see progress at all levels, with the good integration of Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simons which has taken a real step forward. If the infirmary shows itself to be a little more lenient in the coming months, we could even have a nice surprise in April (qualification without play-in?)

#9 – Mike Budenholzer (=)

Record: 23-13, third in the Eastern Conference

We find Mike Budenholzer where we left him, that is to say at the ninth spot. If the Bucks attacked perfectly in December, with the return of long-term injuries and good results, the second half was much more difficult. Several heavy defeats (in Memphis and Boston in particular), executives who go back to the infirmary, not so easy these end-of-year celebrations in Wisconsin. There is obviously no fire on the lake but these repeated injuries spoil the real potential of this team. When everyone is in uniform, Milwaukee can turn into a steamroller and we have already seen it several times this season. Now, fate will have to be a little less harsh on the 2021 champion.

#8 – J.B. Bickerstaff (-2)

Record: 24-14, fourth in the Eastern Conference

Can we really blame JB Bickerstaff for something? Cleveland is the best defense in the country, the progress in attack is very clearly there, well helped it is true by the arrival of a Donovan Mitchell who plays as an MVP candidate. What does the Ohio coach lack to appear higher? Not much and besides Cleveland is only three games behind leader Boston. What plays especially against JB is the fact that those in front present quite unique cases, surprises that we did not expect or contexts that make us want to put them forward. A little cruel for Bickerstaff but you have to make choices.

#7 – Mike Brown (-3)

Record: 19-16, fifth in the Western Conference

Will the Kings go all the way? This is the question that is on quite a few lips in the West. Despite injuries, despite competition that does not weaken, Sacramento continues its merry way in its Conference, firmly established in fifth place. For his first season, Mike Brown could hardly have hoped for a better start, and the players in the purple jersey gave hope to a whole fanbase. We will still closely monitor the state of the leaders. De’Aaron Fox had some physical issues late in the year and Domantas Sabonis is playing with a hand injury. For the moment it holds, hoping that we can still say the same thing in April. The end of a long curse in Sactown?

#6 – Rick Carlisle (-4)

Record: 21-17, sixth in the Eastern Conference

We thought that the Pacers were a fall distraction but it seems that we have to reckon with them over time. Tyrese Haliburton in All-Star mode, the nice surprise Bennedict Mathurin, Myles Turner who is gently preparing his nice increase, Buddy Hield the sniper, all driven by a Rick Carlisle who is enjoying a second youth in Indiana. Nobody expected the Pacers at this level, except perhaps their most extreme fans. We are off to a very nice surprise and the tactician must obviously receive his dose of praise. The reconstruction of Indiana will have been very fast as the passes of its leader.

#5 – Jacques Vaughn (starter)

Record: 25-12, second in the Eastern Conference

Here is the bearded man of the moment in the East and we are not referring here to James Harden but to Jacque Vaughn. The former protege of Gregg Popovich took the Nets coaching cap without making a sound and since Brooklyn has only been gaining momentum. Forget the drama, the Big Apple players are focused on basketball and they are shaking the world in the League (12 wins in a row!). Kevin Durant is monstrous, Kyrie Irving is talked about for his basketball and nothing else, Ben Simmons finds his best feelings, the supporting cast responds present. The contrast with the start of the season is just striking and we feel that there is still a way to see higher. When we remember the awful setting in which Vaughn launched, frankly, we have to take our hats off.

#4 – Mike Malone (+1)

Record: 24-13, first in the Western Conference

Another successful season with the Nuggets and we will have to ask ourselves one day to wonder why the hype is so small when we think of Denver. Maybe Colorado which is not a seller, who knows. On the other hand, on the ground, it’s simply great. The prowess of Nikola Jokic certainly has a lot to do with it, but we have to give Mike what belongs to Malone. The group heads straight into the Rockies. The latest recruits have been fully integrated, the gradual returns of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are not hampering the dynamic as there are players around who are capable of taking over. Aaron Gordon is arguably having his best career season. In short, the collective sings, the results follow, give Mike Malone some love because he deserves it.

#3 – Taylor Jenkins (starter)

Record: 23-13, second in the Western Conference

The man who whispered in the ears of bear cubs. Already author of a big season last year, Taylor Jenkins proves that he is a very, very high level coach in Memphis. No matter the injuries, the hard knocks, the Grizzlies coach proves that he can adapt to anything. Offensively and defensively, it’s a fight to the death and what’s beautiful is Memphis’ ability to reinvent itself when an important player is missing. You got Desmond Bane on the sidelines for weeks? It’s managed. Jaren Jackson Jr. needs time to recover 100%? Not serious. Memphis is too full. One would almost want to say that the only danger for the Grizzlies is their ability to open it a bit too much. Isn’t that Ja Morant?

#2 – Joe Mazzulla (-1)

Record: 26-11, first in the Eastern Conference.

It was our number one in the last ranking but we still love Joe Mazzulla’s job in Boston. The small area of ​​turbulence during the holidays has somewhat calmed the furious madness that seized the Celtics but it remains excellent at all levels (Top 10 on offense and defensive rating). The group was also able to recover Robert Williams, which announces a probable rise in power in the coming weeks. It only took half a season for Joe Mazzulla to prove he was the man for the job in Boston. Despite the soap opera Udoka, despite the pressure to take control of the NBA finalist, the green ship is heading for the heights of the League and it is largely thanks to its guru. A name that will stick to Coach Of the Year until the end of the season, but where on the podium?

#1 – Willie Green (+2)

Record: 23-14, third in the Western Conference

How far will Willie Green go? We expected a young coach who would quietly make his mark in the NBA and it only took him one season to put everyone in his pocket. From the endearing little team of last year, NOLA is transforming itself into a real strike force in the West. Yet all has not been easy in the Bayou. Brandon Ingram has been squatting in the infirmary for weeks, McCollum and Zion have also missed a few games. Not enough to trip up the Pels, who can rely on a fully involved workforce and on nice surprises in spades (Trey Murphy, Herb Jones, Alvarado, Nance etc). Attack, defense, show, progress: it’s a masterclass that Willie Green brings us, purely and simply.

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