The Brooklyn Nets are betting on Steve Nash. Meanwhile, bettors like his chances to win Coach of the Year.
No Canadian has ever won the NBA Coach of the Year Award, but Hall of Fame player Steve Nash is the betting favourite on the NBA odds to accomplish that feat in the 2020-21 season with the Brooklyn Nets.
The NBA Coach of the Year Award was first given out in 1962-63, and the winner now gets the Red Auerbach Trophy in honour of arguably the league’s best coach ever during his run with the dynastic Boston Celtics. While no Canadian has won the award, the Raptors’ Dwane Casey did in 2017-18 and then his replacement, Nick Nurse, did this past season. Keep in mind it’s a regular-season award only.
There really are no set standards for the media to vote on this award, but it always goes to a coach on a winning team and usually one that exceeds expectations quite a bit – which helps explain how Phil Jackson only won the award once.
Toronto was expected to fall off last season without Kawhi Leonard but had the second-best regular-season record and thus Nurse won it a season after winning an NBA title. He is a +2500 longer shot this time as no one has ever won the award in back-to-back seasons.
Brooklyn Nets Give Steve Nash First Coaching Job
The Brooklyn job was considered perhaps the best opening in the NBA this offseason simply because of the presence of All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving along with some young talent like Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris.
Despite Durant missing all of last season rehabbing from his torn Achilles’ tendon and Irving limited to 20 games because of his own injury issues, the Nets did make the playoffs in the Orlando bubble but were swept in the first round by Toronto. Now that Durant and Irving are healthy – plus rumours of a possible trade for James Harden – the Nets are +500 second-favourites to win their first NBA title.
With all that talent and plenty of expectations, it stunned the NBA world when Nash was hired by Brooklyn considering that the former two-time league MVP and eight-time All-Star point guard never had been a basketball head coach at any level. From 2012-2019, he served as general manager of the Canadian men’s national team, still is part of the ownership group of the Vancouver Whitecaps of MLS and also spent the past five seasons as a player development consultant with the Golden State Warriors.
Brooklyn GM Sean Marks is a former teammate of Nash’s and targeted him from the get-go. Nash also has a good relationship with Durant, and certainly Nash’s Hall of Fame playing career will draw the respect of Durant and Irving. Both of those guys have big egos, and it’s not a coincidence each has played for multiple teams.
Irving said something rather controversial a few weeks ago regarding Nash: “I don’t really see us having a head coach. You know what I mean? KD could be a head coach. I could be a head coach.” That’s typical Irving as he’s high maintenance.
NBA Coach of the Year Odds
The Nets have never had a Coach of the Year. Nash’s coaching debut will be in Brooklyn on Sunday (Dec. 13) in the team’s preseason opener against Washington, while the Nets open the regular season Dec. 22 against the Warriors.
Brooklyn hosts the Raptors on Feb. 5 and the Nets visit(s) to Toronto are TBA as the league only released the first half of the 2020-21 schedule because there likely will be cancellations/postponements due the coronavirus. The second half of the schedule, which will run from March 11-May 16, will be released toward the end of the first half.
Phoenix’s Monty Williams (+900), Dallas’ Rick Carlisle (+900), Miami’s Erik Spoelstra (+1000), Boston’s Brad Stevens (+1000) and the Lakers’ Frank Vogel (+1000) round out the favourites on this NBA Coach of the Year prop.
Of course, the Lakers beat Miami in the 2020 NBA Finals a couple of months ago, and all those teams above made the playoffs but Phoenix. The Suns, though, went 8-0 in the regular-season bubble (only unbeaten team there) and are on the rise following the recent trade for another legendary and future Hall of Fame point guard in Chris Paul.
NBA Coach of the Year Prediction
Williams is the pick as the Suns haven’t finished with a winning record since 2014 or made the playoffs since 2010 but will do both in 2020-21.