NBA FREE PICKS
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NBA Preview: Breaking Down the Coach of the Year Market
Before breaking down the coach of the year market, we must establish the criteria for what makes a coach worthy of winning the award. Do we reward coaches who possess talented rosters for having a successful regular season as expected? Or, do we reward coaches who help their team exceed expectations? Personally, I believe this award is meant for head coaches who helped their team get to that next step, because that’s what great coaches do. They’re meant to push you to not only meet expectations, but to exceed them.
Last season’s reigning Coach of the Year, Monty Williams, just led his Phoenix Suns to a 64-win regular season. Everyone expected the Suns to compete last year following their NBA Finals run from the year prior, but nobody expected that. They tied their franchise record for regular season wins even while dealing with injuries to their star players throughout the year. It was a historic season for the Suns, and Williams was very deserving of the award. He now comes into 2022-23 at +1200 odds (via bet365) to win the award again. I think the Suns would need to replicate the season they just had if Williams were to be considered for this award.
Next, let’s look at last season’s runner-up, Taylor Jenkins of the Memphis Grizzlies. Personally, Jenkins would’ve been my pick for the award last year. The Suns had championship aspirations and high expectations from the start of the season, but I don’t think anybody expected the Grizzlies to take the leap they did. They won 56 games enroute to their first division title in franchise history, and they also have one of the youngest rosters in the NBA. Not to mention, under Jenkins’ watch, Ja Morant has taken the leap to an MVP-calibre point guard while Desmond Bane has become one of the most improved players in basketball. Jenkins’ fingerprints are all over this team and I expect him to be competing for this award for years to come, which is why I think he makes a good bet at +1200 odds (via bet365).
My favourite pick for this year’s Coach of the Year winner is Minnesota Timberwolves head coach, Chris Finch. The Wolves just went out and acquired Rudy Gobert, a multi-time All-Star and All-NBA player, who I expect to come in and make an immediate impact. This team won 46 games last year, their most since the 2017-2018 season. Not to mention, Finch deserves some credit for Anthony Edwards’ continued ascension into superstardom. This team has continued to make strides each year since Finch took over, and I expect them to surpass the 50-win mark this coming season. If they do that, I think it will be hard to leave Finch’s name out of the award discussion, which is why I think he’s the best bet for this year’s award at +1000 odds (via bet365).
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