When the Dallas Mavericks hired Jason Kidd to replace long-tenured head coach Rick Carlisle last summer, that move was met with a lot of skepticism. Although Kidd showed a lot of growth in his role as a Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach over the previous two years, many couldn't get over his failed attempts of being a head coach with the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks.
There were legitimate reasons for the doubts, but to Kidd and his excellent coaching staff's credit, they were able to put together the best season the Mavs have experienced since the 2011 title run. The Mavs finished the regular season with a 52-30 record, which was good for the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoff bracket.
Dallas beat the Utah Jazz in the first round without Luka Doncic playing in the first three games of the series, and now, they've come back from a 2-0 deficit in the second round against the league-leading Phoenix Suns to tie the series at 2-2 with a pivotal Game 5 coming on Tuesday night.
The NBA announced on Monday that Suns coach Monty Williams won the Coach of the Year award. Given that Williams likely should have won the award last season, it was fitting that he got it this year after leading Phoenix to a league-best 64 wins.
Although Kidd didn't win COTY, he got a lot of respect from the voters, as he finished with one second-place vote and six third-place votes. This put him in a tie with Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue for sixth-place on the ballot. Here's what the entire list looked like:
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- Monty Williams (Phoenix) – 458 points
- Taylor Jenkins (Memphis) – 270 points
- Erik Spoelstra (Miami) – 72 points
- Ime Udoka (Boston) – 46 points
- J.B. Bickerstaff (Cleveland) – 28 points
- Tyronn Lue (LA Clippers) – 9 points
- Jason Kidd (Dallas) – 9 points
- Nick Nurse (Toronto) – 4 points
- Chris Finch (Minnesota) – 4 points
Winning COTY is a great honor, but it also comes with a lot of added pressure as well, which is why Kidd is on record from earlier this season saying he'd rather not win the award.
“That award is dangerous because that award leads to getting fired the next year,” Kidd said. “I’ll pass on that.”
After out-coaching Williams in the Mavs' wins over the Suns in Games 3 and 4, it'll be interesting to see what Kidd comes up with next with his team currently holding all the momentum. Kidd may not be viewed as the league's best head coach, but he has a legitimate chance of knocking out the the guy who was just voted as being the best.