Count Warriors head coach Steve Kerr among those that believe Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni has a strong case to win the NBA’s Coach of the Year award.
“There are a couple of other guys you can make a strong case for,” Kerr said Tuesday before the Warriors game at Toyota Center. “I think Erik Spoelstra’s done an amazing job. You could just give it to Pop every year if you wanted, but I think Mike has been brilliant.
Kerr, winner of the award last season, saw quite a bit of the Rockets the previous two seasons having knocked them out of the last two playoffs, and he says he notices a big difference.
“When you look at where the team is now compared to where they were at the end of last season, obviously, they made some really key personnel moves getting (Eric) Gordon and (Ryan) Anderson. I think the fit with the roster and with Mike and his philosophy has been perfect.”
With eight games to play, the Rockets have eclipsed last season’s win total by 10 games after a 41-41 2015-16 campaign that ended in an uncompetitive series loss to Kerr’s Warriors. D’Antoni was hired in June, and Gordon and Anderson were added the next month, but the key to the Rockets success has been the play of James Harden, and Kerr says he isn’t surprised the two have clicked so quickly.
“I think Mike showed with Steve Nash that his style is perfect for a point guard who has great vision and who can score,” he said. “Steve Nash obviously won two MVPs with Mike, now you’ve got a guy who is very similar to Nash only he’s 6’5 and 220 instead of 6’1 a buck seventy five.”