Even a league best and franchise record 66 win season cannot get Erik Spoelstra to be recognized as the top coach in the league. As expected, he was near the top, finishing second to Denver Nuggets coach George Karl.
This is the first time Karl has received the award, although he has probably been deserving before. The Nuggets finished 3rd in the Western Conference, all without a "superstar." Karl is very well deserving, and someone I predicted would be the winner several weeks ago. Spoelstra was a distant second in the voting.
Spoelstra came close to becoming the first Heat coach since Pat Riley in 1997 to win the award, but will have to live with second, although it was his preference not to win. Even though he lost, it's a step forward for Spoelstra who just a few seasons ago was not recognized as someone who could handle the egos of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. After leading the team to a title, and a league best record this season, Spoelstra is beginning to be noticed for the great basketball mind that he always was.
This is the last of the yearly awards to be handed out, the next piece of hardware will be the conference championship trophies.
Below is the official press release from the NBA regarding George Karl as COY.
DENVER'S GEORGE KARL NAMED 2012-13 NBA COACH OF THE YEAR
-- Earns Red Auerbach Trophy after Guiding Nuggets to Best Home Mark in NBA -
NEW YORK, May 8, 2013 - Denver's George Karl is the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the 2012-13 NBA Coach of the Year, the NBA announced today. Under Karl's stewardship, the Nuggets finished with a league-best 38-3 (.927) mark at home and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.
In earning his first NBA Coach of the Year, Karl totaled 404 points, including 62 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote. The award was tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP.
The Nuggets went 57-25 (.695) - the league's fourth-best record - despite beginning the season as the league's third-youngest team with an average age of 24.9 years, and not having a player score more than 16.7 points per game during the regular season. According to NBA.com/Stats, the Nuggets ranked third in assists (24.4 apg), generating an assist on 60.0 percent of their made field goals. Denver ranked fifth in player impact estimate (53.8 percent), offensive rating (107.6) and net rating (+5.6).
The Nuggets' 38-3 record at Pepsi Center was a franchise-best and tied for the 14th best home record in league annals. Additionally, their .927 winning percentage at home was the highest since 2008-09 when the Cleveland Cavaliers went 39-2 (.951) at Quicken Loans Arena.
In his 25th season as an NBA head coach (ninth with Denver), Karl earned two Western Conference Coach of the Month awards during the 2012-13 campaign. He won for March after leading Denver to a conference-best 13-2 (.867) mark, which included wins in the first 12 games of the month, feeding a 15-game, franchise-tying-best winning streak. He earned his first monthly nod in January after the Nuggets opened the New Year with a 12-3 (.800) record. During January, Karl passed Larry Brown for sixth place on the all-time coaching wins list and notched his 1,100th career win.
The sixth-winningest coach in NBA annals and the active wins leader, Karl has amassed 1,131 career victories in the NBA, including a streak of 21-straight non-losing seasons - tied with Phil Jackson (21, 1989-90-2010-11) for the most in NBA history.
The Coach of the Year Award is named after legendary coach and Hall of Famer Red Auerbach who guided the Celtics to nine NBA Championships. In 1996, Auerbach was honored as one of the Top 10 Coaches in NBA History as the NBA celebrated its 50th anniversary.