|(Zapote, Costa Rica, 14 April 2004)- In an NBA season, which has featured two of the best rookies to come into the league in decades, entrenched in their own intense battle for the 'Got Milk?' Rookie of the Year award, it has also seen tremendous ups and downs of most of the championship contending teams, with no clear-cut favorite to win it all. This season has also given us historic levels of team defense play, major player movement by trades and free agency, and the true emergence of foreign players to the highest echelon of talent in the league.|
With all that said, what often gets overlooked by the casual fan, but rarely by the knowledgeable fan, is how truly important a coach is to his team. Coaches, of course, have always been an integral part of a winning formula, and they always will be, but in today's NBA they are in a much different way. Gone for the most part are the Chuck Dalys, Pat Rileys, and Red Auerbachs, the schemers who relied mainly on their ability to break down X's and O's to win ball games. Today it is important to have an extensive knowledge of the game and in turn, creative play-calling on both sides of the ball, but another facet is coming more and more to the forefront in the Association.
That facet, simply put, is managing talent. Considering how ridiculously talented and athletically gifted today's NBA ballers are, you need look no farther than the fact that many draft analysts feel that there could be as many as 10 high school players to be drafted in the 1st round alone, in the upcoming NBA entry draft this June. That is why when you see the job that 115 year-old, Hubie Brown, has done with the Memphis Grizzlies, or the masterful job Utah Jazz head man, Jerry Sloan, has done with a team full of pre-schoolers, but more importantly without John Stockton and Carl Malone for the first season since gas was 40 cents a gallon.
'The job of head coach in the NBA has really evolved in the past decade alone,' said BetCBSports Senior Odds Maker, Dan 'The Man' Johnson. 'That is why it is so refreshing to see coaches this season, whether young or old, really being coaches, teaching their teams not only how to play basketball, but more importantly, how to play life.'
'The NBA was moving away from that and lucky with the influx of players under the age of 20, taking their chance at basketball stardom, there needs to be not only teachers but, more importantly, leaders as head coaches in the NBA.' Johnson said. ' We have gotten a lot of action on Hubie Brown because of that fact, making him the odds-on favorite. We have actually had clients call in and tell us how excited they were to wager on Hubie, not only cause they felt he would win, but more so because they think what he is doing with the Grizzlies is amazing, and it reminds them of what the NBA was like when it wasn't just about money and ego.'
Alongside Brown, who opened up as Even money favorite to win, Jazz coach, Jerry Sloan, at 2-1, and Miami's Stan Van Gundy, at 4-1 are the early favorites. Right behind them are former Detroit Pistons' coach and current Indiana Pacers' coach, Rick Carlisle, the man who took over his job in Motown, Larry Brown, and Sacramento Kings coach, Rick Adelman. This could prove to be one of the closest Coach of the Year races in recent memory, if not one of the most contending of all time.
BetCBSports.com IS PLEASED TO RELEASE ODDS ON WHO WILL BE THE 2004 NBA COACH OF THE YEAR AS VOTED ON BY 117 SPORTSWRITERS AND BROADCASTERS THROUGHOUT THE US AND CANADA.
Who will win the 2004 NBA Coach of the Year award?
Hubie Brown-Memphis Grizzlies Even
Jerry Sloan-Utah Jazz +$200
Stan Van Gundy-Miami Heat $+400
Rick Carlisle-Indiana Pacers +$400
Larry Brown-Detroit Pistons +$600
Rick Adelman-Sacramento Kings +$600
Phil Jackson-Los Angeles Lakers +$1000
Field (Any other coach not listed above) +$600
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