Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni beats out Heat’s Erik Spoelstra, Spurs’ Gregg Popovich for Coach of the Year

Miami’s Erik Spoelstra gives instructions to his team during a game at Chicago in January.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Leading the Miami Heat to the biggest turnaround in NBA history while going 30-11 the second half of the season was not enough to get coach Erik Spoelstra the NBA’s official Coach of the Year award.

Spoelstra finished second to Houston’s Mike D’Antoni in the voting  by 100 media members. San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich was third. The winner was announced Monday at the NBA’s first annual awards show in New York. D’Antoni, Spoelstra and Popovich were named finalists last month.

D’Antoni received 400 points including 68 first place votes. Spoelstra had 153 points, nine first place votes.

Spoelstra and D’Antoni shared the inaugural Michael H. Goldberg National Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year award, which was voted upon by the coaches and announced in early May.

Spoelstra, 46, guided the Heat to the biggest turnaround in league history, going from 11-30 in the first half of the season to 30-11 in the second half. Miami is the only team in league history to finish .500 after being 19 games under at some point during that season. He did this without one player on the roster ever being named an All-Star and with the Heat leading the league with 328 player games lost to injury or illness.

The Heat tied with the Bulls for the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference but failed to make the playoffs, the final spot going to Chicago because of a tie-breaker.

Spoelstra has never been named Coach of the Year, finishing runner-up to Denver’s George Karl in 2012-13 after leading Miami to 66 wins. Pat Riley remains the only Heat coach to win the award when he was named the league’s top coach in 1996-97.

D’Antoni, 65, led the Rockets to the third best record in the NBA (55-27) and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference in his first season in Houston. D’Antoni improved Houston’s win total by 14 games and put James Harden in position to become a legitimate MVP candidate.

Popovich completed his 21st season as head coach of the Spurs. He led San Antonio to a 61-21 record, second best in the West. He has been named Coach of the Year three times, 2003-03, 2011-12 and 2013-14.

[Hassan Whiteside left off NBA’s All-Defensive teams; James Johnson didn’t even get one vote]

[Heat’s Rodney McGruder finishes just short of making NBA All-Rookie team]

[A look at each player on the Miami Heat’s roster: Who will be back next season?]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s