The Curse Of The NBA Coach Of The Year Award

By: 05.25.10

With yesterday’s firing of Mike Brown, who just last season was named the 2008-09 NBA Coach of the Year, it made me begin to think that winning the award could be more of a curse than a blessing. And after looking at the last five winners, you begin to see – as they say in the Twitterverse – a “trending topic.” Ever since the 2005-06 season, all the previous winners (except this year’s) were fired within the next two seasons. Check it out.

2005–06: Avery Johnson, Dallas Mavericks, 60–22 (Fired April 30, 2008)
2006–07: Sam Mitchell, Toronto Raptors, 47–35 (Fired December 3, 2008)
2007–08: Byron Scott, New Orleans Hornets, 56–26 (Fired November 12, 2009)
2008–09: Mike Brown, Cleveland Cavaliers, 66–16 (Fired May 24, 2010)
2009–10: Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City Thunder, 50–32 (???)

If the award is suppose to be given to the best Coach in the NBA, or at least the one who has done the best job that season, why do they lose their jobs so quickly? I think the problems – in most of these scenarios – are the expectations. The franchise immediately begins to have a false sense of where they are headed, and some of these franchises believe that they are now Championship contenders and don’t allow time for their team to grow.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that coaches should be recognized, but these franchises/GM’s need to not look solely at the coach as an immediate scapegoat for a team not living up to instant expectations. And in all honesty, for Jerry Sloan to never have been named “the best coach in the NBA” makes me re-think the credibility and validity of the award altogether. I just hope that this trend doesn’t continue, and if so, good luck to Scott Brooks and the Thunder…

What do you think? Why do NBA Coach of the Year award winners get fired so quickly thereafter?

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