Coach's Corner: Who Are the Favorites to Win the 2023-24 Coach of the Year Award?

Who Are the Favorites to Win the 2023-24 Coach of the Year Award image

📖 Published on: February 26th, 2024

✍️ Updated: February 27th, 2024

⏳ 11 mins read


A coach always has the toughest task of being a mastermind who needs to conjure the best tactics and lineups to come up with the winning night in and night out, and this is why it is expected for them to always be on the lookout for their team. But who deserves to be credited for the big upside that their respective teams have seen in years?


In a league full of stars, individual talent among the players is always praised at a high level. But then the coaches never get the full credit that they are able to pull off on a regular basis. Talented coaches make the biggest difference between teams that can contend for a championship, all the way to a team that just tanks for the next top pick in the NBA Draft.


What Makes a Successful Coach in the NBA?


In analyzing a coach’s value for a specific team, we can always gauge that success in various ways, such as the season record, player development, game-plan adjustments, the players that are performing at a high level, and many more. All of these factors play a huge role in determining a team’s success and for the coach to be considered for the Coach of the Year Award.


Coaches such as Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Red Auerbach, Don Nelson, Gregg Popovich, and many other names have always been considered the best coaches of all-time in the NBA. They have helped their respective teams succeed in the league and come up with their respective championships over the years. This has defined the coaching standard for today’s NBA, and there is no shortage of brilliant basketball minds nowadays.


For those who are asking who won Coach of the Year last season, it was Mike Brown, who led the Sacramento Kings to a promising campaign at that time, ending their playoff drought since 2006 and finishing with a 48-34 record. Brown was the first coach to be named the award via unanimous vote.


Who are the Favorites to Win the 2023-24 Coach of the Year Award?


This season has not been short of surprises at all. Multiple teams have made massive leaps of their own and have shocked fans over the past few months. This is why this year has been fun to watch for many basketball fans, and there is no denying that the league has seen the brightest of all coaching geniuses for a while now as they continue to bring out the best of their team’s games time after time.


Here are the names of the expected NBA Coach of the Year nominees for this season:


Mark Daigneault


Mark Daigneault image


The main catalyst of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s impressive rebuild, it seems that Daigneault has proven himself well to be the genius who continues to shine night in and night out as the Thunder also continue to roll in their games. Mark Daigneault just had his birthday, and he is still the favorite to win the COTY as well. From OKC’s after-timeout plays, all the way to their impressive rotations, an article like this wouldn’t be able to fit how he has changed the dynamic of this young team. His continued development of one of the league's unpredictable teams has made his case clear for the Coach of the Year, and their record backs it up as well.


Daigneault has transformed the third-youngest team in the NBA into a complete contender – exceeding expectations for a team that is slated to be in the rebuild phase at this point. Year four of the last time that the Oklahoma City Thunder managed to field three big stars led them to the NBA Finals. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, and Chet Holmgren working wonders in the season, it does seem that the Coach of the Year odds strongly favor Daigneault – especially if OKC finishes with the best record in the West.


Chris Finch


After the Minnesota Timberwolves finished with an impressive first-round loss to the Denver Nuggets, the team went on a massive jump this season to become the longest team to sit in the top seed of the West so far this year. The rise of Anthony Edwards as a reliable and consistent scorer has been a charm, and the trio big of Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and Naz Reid has been special so far this year. The defensive improvement has been staggering for the Wolves in comparison to their previous season, especially in leading the most points allowed at 107.4 per game, which has been constant in their games to begin the campaign.


Chris Finch image


So far, Finch is a great candidate for the Coach of the Year. He has been putting up some great rotations among the squad, and it has been quite impressive so far. The late January stretches have proven to be tough for the team, and there is more to expect from the team as they continue to grind through the campaign. Securing the top seed is an important factor in Finch’s hopes of a COTY finish


JB Bickerstaff


JB Bickerstaff image


While the Boston Celtics have dominated the Eastern Conference, it goes without saying that the Cleveland Cavaliers have also managed to be a contender in the East with a slow and quiet climb to the top. No one can deny that the team has forged excellent chemistry so far, and JB Bickerstaff has been the one to take the credit for that. His impressive coaching has allowed the Cavs to sync more – and their stretch big lineup has been working wonders as well. The Cavs are applying all the lessons they have learned from the first-round exit against the New York Knicks last season, and look where they are now with the way they are playing unselfish basketball.


Donovan Mitchell has been a radiant star in the team, and the rest of the team has followed in his stead. So far, the combo of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley has also been quite effective when it comes to controlling the paint – a design by Bickerstaff in putting up impressive rotations, especially in creating a fast-paced offense that is designed to create run-and-gun opportunities in most of their games.


Tyronn Lue


Let’s be clear, Tyronn Lue is only on this list thanks to his impressive strides in figuring out the James Harden dilemma. The Los Angeles Clippers are finally back to the top of the Western Conference, and it does seem that they are making the best of their games with impressive strides over and over. But it also goes without saying that it is Lue’s genius that has allowed them to make a climb in the West early in the season, especially with Russell Westbrook agreeing to move to the bench at his own will, allowing Lue to integrate him as a spark to the second unit and for the closing lineup with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Now all that's left is for the Clippers to finally reach the NBA Finals for the first time.


Tyronn Lue image


No one can deny the fact that it was Lue who also figured out the puzzle piece for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ ascension to the NBA Finals back in 2016. So far, he has been the same tactician who is expected to come up with a solution to the Clippers’ woes in the past few years, and now it seems that he can guide them to a different path that will bring them to the postseason once more – hopefully the NBA Finals if they continue heading that way, and maybe Lue could get awarded with the Coach of the Year too.


Joe Mazzulla


Joe Mazzulla image


Of course, the Boston Celtics are the best team in the league, and it means that Joe Mazzulla should be a candidate as well. With the best record in the NBA, it seems pretty clear that the Celtics have the playoffs in their sights, but what Mazzulla has done to integrate Kristaps Porzingis into a lineup that also has Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in the mix. Somehow, Mazzulla has managed to find a way to make them click early on, and this goes without saying that the band of championship contenders are really finding their way with a lot of ease. The season still has plenty of games left for the team to figure out some minor issues as well.


Then again, the Celtics are still not without flaws. They are merely performing what is expected of them, as opposed to other teams who are exceeding expectations. This year will test the Celtics if they can win more than 70 games – which they are on track to do. However, the only difference is that Mazzulla is now delivering a masterpiece of a season, which is why he is expected to be one of the Coach of the Year finalists by the end of the season.


What to Expect in the Coach of the Year Race?


The coach of the year race is expected to be something special this season. With a lot of impressive spectacles from the top teams in the league, these coaches are definitely in for a tight race by the end of the season, and this just means that it will be a fun campaign to look out for by the end of the season. Who knows, this may well be the big award that these coaches deserve to make the most of their season.


Place your wagers and get the best chance to win handsome prizes! GambleSpot’s predictions will give you a shot at racking up the big wins that you have been waiting for. Make sure to stay tuned for the latest updates on the NBA by reading our blogs!


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