Commentary

Debate: Who is Coach of the Year?

Our Insiders debate who earns the Association's title of top coach this season

Updated: March 24, 2011, 3:30 PM ET
By Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher | ESPN The Magazine
Gregg Popovich and Tom ThibodeauGetty ImagesPopovich and Thibodeau are likely Nos. 1 and 1A in the discussion for Coach of the Year.

The only thing Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard like to do more than report on the NBA is argue about the NBA. So we decided to combine those two skills for Insider's weekly One-on-One series, in which they'll debate the hottest topics in the association.

Question: Who is the Coach of the Year?

BROUSSARD: With San Antonio running away with the league's best record, I've been among those who feel that Gregg Popovich is the clear-cut Coach of the Year. But as the season nears its conclusion, I now believe Pop has serious competition coming out of Chicago. So I'm going to make an argument for Tom Thibodeau.

BUCHER: I have no doubt that a lot of voters will put Thibodeau at the top of their ballot; he might actually be the favorite based on the way voters generally pick the COY, since the guy who takes a bad or mediocre team and raises it a level generally gets more recognition than the coach who takes a good team and makes it great. I'm not taking anything away from Thibodeau -- he has done a fantastic job in his first season as a head coach. But there are plenty of factors other than coaching that have led to the Bulls' improvement this season over last, including both a vastly improved roster and superstar in Derrick Rose. But the Spurs have run away with the best record of the league with essentially the same cast as last season because of how Pop is utilizing those pieces.


To see why Chris Broussard believes Thibodeau deserves the COY title, and why Ric Bucher believes it belongs to Popovich, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Ric Bucher

NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer