The NBA announced today that Gregg Popovich was voted as the 2013-14 Coach of the Year, the third time he has taken home the Red Auerbach Trophy in his career and the second time in the last three years.
Popovich, who wins his second NBA Coach of the Year award in the past three seasons and third of his career, joins Don Nelson and Pat Riley as the only coaches to receive the honor three times. He totaled 380 points, including 59 first-place votes, from a panel of 124 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
The Spurs finished the regular season with the best record in the league at 62-20 and they also had the best point differential at +7.8. Under Popovich, the Spurs have been and continue to be a machine, pumping out 50-plus wins like nothing.
The Spurs are still led by three Hall of Famers in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but as has become Popovich's style he rested those players as much or more than he ever has, yet they won anyway regardless of who suited up.
Popovich presided over a balanced roster which featured no player who averaged 20-plus points, nor 30-plus minutes, with Tony Parker's 16.7 ppg and 29.4 mpg leading both categories. He ended the 2013-14 campaign with 967 regular season wins, good for ninth on the all-time list.
Popovich is the best coach in the NBA, and this award is well-deserved.
However, Popovich wasn't the only one who did a great coaching job this season, as Suns fans well know. Jeff Hornacek finished second in voting with 339 points.
(Click to enlarge to see final voting totals)
Popovich won on the strength of his 59 first-place votes, but Hornacek wasn't too far behind with 37 (compared to the 12 of third-place Tom Thibodeau) and he finished with the most total votes with 102 to Popovich's 98.
Jeff Hornacek did a fantastic job turning the Suns around in his first season in the Valley of the Sun, and the national media has taken note. Hornacek's career is only beginning, and I have a feeling we'll be seeing his name in this discussion for years to come.
Also, now we don't have to worry about him getting fired any time soon. The Coach of the Year curse has been avoided.
On a related note: Joakim Noah was named Defensive Player of the Year yesterday, running away with the vote with 100 first-place votes and 555 points. Suns forward P.J. Tucker finished 12th with two votes and six points. Who voted for him? Al McCoy (first place) and Tim Kempton (third place).