The NBA announced its Coach of the Year award on Tuesday, and Hornets coach Steve Clifford finished fourth in the voting, earning 98 points and seven first place votes. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr won Coach of the Year, with Portland's Terry Stotts taking runner-up and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich finishing third.
Clifford's fourth-place finish and seven first place votes were the highest of any Eastern Conference team, topping Toronto's Dwane Casey (83, 6). The seven media members who voted Steve Clifford in first included Chris Denari (Fox Sports Indiana), David Wesley (Fox Sports New Orleans), Dell Curry (Fox Sports Carolinas), Eric Collins (Hornets Radio), Mark Boyle (107.5/1070 The Fan - better known as "the Voice of the Pacers"), Paul Coro (The Arizona Republic) and Tim Reynolds (The Associated Press). A full breakdown of the votes can be seen here.
Clifford led Charlotte to a 48-34 record, the franchise's best season since 1999-2000, and tied for third in the Eastern Conference. Clifford, long known as more of a defensive coach, revitalized the franchise by ditching the old-school, smashmouth play of last season for a more freeflowing, 3-point-focused offense, and the results have paid off tremendously. Ironically, the team's first round series with the Miami Heat is now tied at 2 thanks in part to the Hornets switching back to the smashmouth, physical offense of last season.
Clifford has also provided some great quotes lately, including telling reporters off in the nicest and most polite way possible and providing the ppostgame coaching quote of the year.
What do you think? Did the voters get it right? Did Clifford deserve to finish higher, or did he get too much love?