As the 2021-22 NBA season marches on, there continues to be a lot to talk about. From breakout performances to award odds, it seems like there’s no shortage of things to discuss. Speaking of awards, one of the trophies that’ll be up for grabs at the end of the campaign is none other than NBA Coach of the Year.
Dozens of iconic bench bosses have taken home the honor in the past, however, Bovada is projecting that this year’s recipient will be a first-time winner. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is the sportsbook’s current NBA Coach of the Year favorite at +650 odds.
It’s somewhat surprising that Spoelstra has never been COTY despite coaching some great teams in Miami over his 13-year stint. After all, he’s nearly in the Top 25 for NBA coaching wins for a reason. Nevertheless, Spoelstra has led the Heat to an impressive 7-2 record to start the 2021-22 season, which currently has the team sitting 0.5 games back of the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Eastern Conference. That’s a big improvement considering Miami finished sixth in the East last year.
The Heat have also been a Top-5 team on both sides of the ball this season, scoring 111.7 points per game (5th) while surrendering 100.2 PPG (3rd). Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro have done great things with the ball, averaging 24.7 and 21.3 PPG, respectively, while Bam Adebayo has been a walking double-double (19.4 PPG and 12.0 rebounds per game). Even Kyle Lowry has fit like a glove in his first eight games with the franchise.
It’s amazing what Spoelstra has done with the team after a few offseason adjustments. If things continue this way across the 82-game schedule, he should remain in the NBA Coach of the Year conversation.
2021-22 NBA Coach of the Year Odds
Odds via Bovada as of Monday, November 8
- Erik Spoelstra (+650)
- Billy Donovan (+800)
- Steve Kerr (+1000)
- Quin Snyder (+1200)
- Steve Nash (+1200)
- James Borrega (+1400)
- Nate McMillan (+1600)
- Taylor Jenkins (+1600)
- Monty Williams (+2000)
- Nick Nurse (+2000)
- Tom Thibodeau (+2000)
- Wes Unseld Jr. (+2000)
The complete odds list is available at Bovada.lv.
Billy Donovan NBA COTY Odds
Billy Donovan’s first season with the Chicago Bulls in 2020-21 left a bit to be desired, finishing with a 31-41 record. However, the Bulls went out this offseason, bringing in the likes of Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan and more, resulting in a 6-3 start for the team this season. Now, Donovan has the second-best odds (+800) to be named NBA Coach of the Year.
Despite the Bulls’ promising start, there are things that could be worked on. For starters, Chicago is averaging 107.9 PPG (107.9), which is exactly in the middle of the pack. While it’s amazing that both DeRozan and Zach LaVine are averaging over 26 PPG apiece, Ball (11.9) and Vucevic (13.4) are the only other players putting up double-digit numbers. If Donovan can get one or two of his other guys going more consistently, hits odds should increase.
What’s definitely keeping Donovan in the NBA Coach of the Year race is Chicago’s defense. Last year, the Bulls ranked an impressive 12th (111.6 PPG) when it came to opponent points per game. The team has lowered that average to 102.7 PPG in 2020-21, which ranks eighth-best. A lot of credit goes to Donovan for getting his players to buy into his system, whether they played under him last year or are new arrivals.
However, one thing to take note of is that the Bulls are giving up 110.3 PPG over their last three outings — eighth-worst during that span. It’s a small sample size, but it’s something for Donovan to be aware of going forward.
Steve Kerr NBA Coach of the Year Odds
After a couple of down years, Steve Kerr (+1000) has the Golden State Warriors back at the top of the Western Conference with an 8-1 record. The most impressive thing is that the Warriors have been doing this without James Wiseman and Klay Thompson, which shows why Kerr is involved in the NBA Coach of the Year conversation.
If he’s successful, he’ll become just the 11th coach in NBA history to win the award twice, with the first time coming during Golden State’s historical 2015-16 season.
With the Warriors having been eliminated in last year’s Play-In Tournament, it’s almost a surprise that Kerr’s odds aren’t better after his team’s hot start. They’re also the only organization with one loss on the year. While not every beaten team has been a contender, Golden State looks good and shouldn’t slow down as long as Stephen Curry continues playing at an MVP-caliber level (25.1 PTS/6.6 REB/6.2 AST).