Award Winners the last 13 years:
Season Lg Coach Tm G W L W-L%
2011-12 NBA Gregg Popovich SAS 66 50 16 .758
2010-11 NBA Tom Thibodeau CHI 82 62 20 .756
2009-10 NBA Scott Brooks OKC 82 50 32 .610
2008-09 NBA Mike Brown CLE 82 66 16 .805
2007-08 NBA Byron Scott NOH 82 56 26 .683
2006-07 NBA Sam Mitchell TOR 82 47 35 .573
2005-06 NBA Avery Johnson DAL 82 60 22 .732
2004-05 NBA Mike D'Antoni PHO 82 62 20 .756
2003-04 NBA Hubie Brown MEM 82 50 32 .610
2002-03 NBA Gregg Popovich SAS 82 60 22 .732
2001-02 NBA Rick Carlisle DET 82 50 32 .610
2000-01 NBA Larry Brown PHI 82 56 26 .683
1999-00 NBA Doc Rivers ORL 82 41 41 .500
I think we can safely wipe Mike Browns name from the record book. Not sure what to make of Brooks, Avery and Mitchell but the rest are legit IMO, some more than others.
I know its probably one of Pop's campaigns but for the sake of argument give me your Top-2
Hubie Brown 2004: I didnt see all that much of the Grizz back in the day but thats because they never gave me a reason to tune in. They had never had a winning record much less a post season appearance, but with a few masterful strokes, Hubie was able to guide a deep but mediocre team into the post season. That depth was they key but it was his management of those players really stood out. He did something no other coach save for maybe Pop has ever done since, which is get a group of 12 players to share heavy minutes. Some criticized him for limiting Pau to 31MPG but benching your best player for long stretches established his intended culture. 10 players logged more than 1400 minutes and the 11th player played 13MPG in 40 games.
Its a testament to Pau that he was the good soldier, the payoff was a team I consider among the least talented to win 50 games. They pummeled teams during the regular season, but when the strength of your team is based on depth, your going to lose a chunk of your advantage in the playoffs. That said, this was a team that was greater than the sum of its parts, thanks to Hubie's genius plan that possibly ran thin with the group.
#2 Doc Rivers: Dont want to drag this out too long but Doc won it because NO ONE expected the Magic to play .500 ball. They had lost Penny the year prior, Darrell Armstrong was the teams best player. To make matters worse and they had a shitload of free agents who had every reason to gun for their next contract with such low expectations on the team. Instead they defended like mad and nearly made the playoffs.