NBA Coach of the Year: Boston’s Ime Udoka the Front-Runner

With Loads of Fantastic NBA Coaching, Udoka Leads the Pack Early for "NBA Coach of the Year"

Plenty of Former Winners Showing Up in “Coach of the Year” Odds

It is hard to believe that it has been more than 40 years since a Boston Celtics coach has been named the NBA Coach of the Year.

While training camps haven’t even started, it is quite possible that the NBA Coach of the Year could return to Boston for the first time since Bill Fitch won the award following the 1979-80 season. That happened to be the rookie season for the legendary Larry Bird.

Here’s a look at the current NBA Coach of the Year odds:

Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics (+600 to win NBA Coach of the Year)

Udoka helped Boston to a 51-31 record during the regular season during his debut season.
There were some growing pains with an 18-21 start, but Udoka not only got Boston into the playoffs, but the Celtics also reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010 before falling to Golden State.
Most of the nucleus of that team should be back led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Taylor Jenkins, Memphis Grizzlies (+1000 to win NBA Coach of the Year)

Ja Morant is one of the NBA’s most electrifying players, but the true test of Jenkins’ coaching ability is that Memphis was able to win games even when the talented guard was sidelined.

Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, and Jaren Jackson are other key players on a team that can get up and down the floor with anybody in the NBA.

Tyronn Lue, Los Angeles Clippers (+1000 to win NBA Coach of the Year)

Lue won two NBA titles as a player and another one as a coach. Now he is looking to help the Clippers take that next step and escape the rather large shadow cast by LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Clippers are coming off a mediocre 42-40 season. It didn’t help that perennial All-Star Kawhi Leonard missed the entire 2021-22 season.

Leonard returns to the team with Paul George. They are not alone.

Norman Powell averaged 21.2 points in five games with the Clippers last season. Veteran point guard John Wall was recently signed while Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris, Terance Mann, and Luke Kennard are among other key players. With so much talent, it is no surprise to see Lue among the top contenders for the NBA Coach of the Year Award.

Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks (+1200 to win NBA Coach of the Year)

The odds for the Mavericks would be even higher if not for Jalen Brunson joining the New York Knicks.

Still, joining Luka Doncic are double-digit scorers Spencer Dinwiddie, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Dorian Finney-Smith.

Add in Christian Wood, who was acquired from the Houston Rockets, and Wendell Moore, a first-round pick out of Duke, and this is one talented team.

Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets (+1200 to win the NBA Coach of the Year)

Denver will get Jamal Murray back after he missed all of last season while Michael Porter Jr. was limited to just nine games. They will team with Nikola Jokic to form a talented nucleus. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13.2 points per game for Washington last season), veteran guard Ish Smith, the sweet-shooting Bruce Brown, veteran post player DeAndre Jordan and first-round pick Christian Braun and this is a scary team.

If Malone’s Nuggets can put everything together, he can be the first Denver winner of the NBA Coach of the Year since George Karl following the 2012-13 season.

Monty Williams, Phoenix Suns (+1200 to win the NBA Coach of the Year)

It will be worth monitoring to see what happens with former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton.

A team with Ayton, Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder, Mikal Bridges, Landry Shamet, Cameron Payne, and Bismack Biyombo won’t lack scoring options.

Nobody has won the coach of the year candidates award in back-to-back seasons so will Williams be able to make some NBA history?

Checking in on Former Winners

Williams is not the only one who previously won the award showing up in the odds.

Toronto’s Nick Nurse is at +1800, Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks was the NBA Coach of the Year with Atlanta following the 2014-15 season. He comes in at +2000. Detroit’s Dwane Casey is at +3000, three-time winner Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs‘ odds are +4000 while two-time winner Tom Thibodeau (+5000) could match Popovich, Pat Riley, and Don Nelson with a record third Coach of the Year award.

Did we forget somebody? That’s right, how about Steve Kerr of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors He comes in at +1600. Kerr last won the award in 2016.

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