The 2020-21 NBA season has come to an end as the play-in tournament is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 18. At the same time, this also means that award season is around the corner. While it’s always great to see players being rewarded for their efforts, it’s nice to see the coaches getting some love too.
The NBA Coach of the Year Award is a prestigious honor that recognizes the work of the top bench boss in the league. Last year’s award was given to Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors. Despite losing Kawhi Leonard over the offseason, Nurse still coached the Raptors to a 46-18 record, making the playoffs along the way.
When it comes to which individual will win this year’s award, BetOnline is favoring Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams (-300 odds). It shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering he took a 34-39 team from 2019-20 and coached them to a 51-21 record this NBA season. The Suns finished the campaign as the No. 2 seed, which is huge considering they didn’t even qualify for the previous postseason. It was also the first time that Williams coached a team to the 50-win mark, in a shortened season no less.
It’d be hard to find another coach who helped his team improve over the course of a season as Williams did. But it’s not impossible. Read on to see who else BetOnline has listed as having a chance to win the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year Award.
NBA Coach of the Year Odds
Odds via BetOnline as of Tuesday, May 18
- Monty Williams (-300)
- Tom Thibodeau (+240)
- Quin Snyder (+475)
- Doc Rivers (+2500)
Thibodeau Next Likeliest to Win
Coming in at +240 odds, New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has the next best shot at being this season’s coach of the year. The Knicks were one of the worst teams in the league last campaign, finishing with a 21-45 record. They brought in Thibodeau in hopes that he could turn the team around, which is exactly what he did. He turned a lowly Knicks squad into the fourth-seeded team in the Eastern Conference this season with a 41-31 record.
Thibodeau played a part in Julius Randle’s development this season. Before the 2020-21 NBA season began, Randle was a good player, but not someone you’d consider the first option on a team. However, under Thibodeau, he became an all-star for the first time in his career, averaging 24.1/10.2/6.0 (all career-highs) on .456/.411/.811 shooting. Without Thibodeau, the Knicks (and Randle) likely wouldn’t have improved as much as they did, which might be enough to get him named NBA Coach of the Year.
NBA Odds: Snyder in the Running, Rivers a Long Shot
It might be somewhat of an outside chance, but Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder has +475 odds to be named coach of the year. The Jazz were the top team in the league last season, finishing the campaign with a 52-20 record. It wasn’t a major improvement over their previous record (44-28), but nobody expected them to be the best team in the league. Nevertheless, Snyder defied the odds, using the Jazz’s depth to his advantage. Utah also had one of the top offenses in the league, averaging 116.4 points per game (4th) while only giving up 107.2 (3rd).
On the other hand, Doc Rivers is a long shot to win the award (+2500). While the Philadelphia 76ers were the first-place team in the Eastern Conference this season, going 49-23, they were already good last season (43-30), so it wasn’t that much of an improvement. Make no mistake: the 76ers are one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA, but it’s hard to say that Rivers deserves the award this season.