In Dave's post today, "Terry Stotts is Coach of the Year," the joke was made about how winning Coach of the Year is the kiss of death.
For reference, the past winners of Coach of the Year:
2003-04: Hubie Brown (fired 2005)
2004-05: Mike D’Antoni (left 2008)
2005-06: Avery Johnson (fired 2008)
2006-07: Sam Mitchell (fired 2008)
2007-08: Byron Scott (fired 2009)
2008-09: Mike Brown (fired 2010)
2009-10: Scott Brooks
2010-11: Tom Thibodeau
2011-12: Gregg Popovich
2012-13: George Karl (fired 2013)
In the resulting conversation, Mortimer pointed out that there are similarities between the Blazers and the 2004-05 Phoenix team.
"The PHX Suns were 29-53 in 2003-04, then went 62-20 the following year, winning D’Antoni the COY. Of course, they added Nash, but it was also D’Antoni’s first season of installing his 7 seconds or less offense. We’re gonna do about the same turnaround and also prolly win Stotts a COY award based around a dominant offense"- Mortimer
Which got me wondering if a 20 win improvement(whilst winning 50 games) directly correlates to winning Coach of the Year.
From the 20 win improvement post: "There are seven teams that improved 20 or more games, but were starting from a solid foundation of at least a 29-53 record."
Bulls – ‘96 – Phil Jackson wins COY
Cavs – ’09 – Mike Brown wins COY
Bulls – ’11 – Tom Thibodeau wins COY
Blazers – ’90
Cavs – ’92
Celtics – ’80 – Bill Fitch wins COY
Suns – ’05 – Mike D’Antoni wins COY
5 of the 7 teams led to Coach of the Year awards. (The Blazers would be added to this list if they win at least 53 games this year, or go 27-21 or better the rest of the regular season).
However, what really piqued my interest, was the offensive and defensive ratings of the 2004-05 Phoenix Suns team.
The '05 Phoenix Suns had an offensive rating of 114.5 and a defensive rating of 107.1
This years Blazers team has an offensive rating of 113.5 and a defensive rating of 107.1
A few days ago, I discussed how a team's offensive and defensive ratings relates a teams chances of winning a Championship. From that post, we know that the Blazers currently have a 10% chance of winning the NBA Championship this year.
So, I went to basketball-reference, and asked it to give me the list of teams that resemble this year' Blazers team(offensive rating of ~113.5 and a defensive rating of ~107.5).
|1989-90||LA Lakers||63-19||114.0||107.0||Lost in the Second Round to the Phoenix Suns|
|1984-85||LA Lakers||62-20||114.1||107.0||Won the NBA Championship|
|2004-05||Phoenix Suns||62-20||114.5||107.1||Lost in the Western Conference Finals to the SA Spurs|
|1987-88||LA Lakers||62-20||113.1||107.3||Won the NBA Championship|
|1994-95||Orlando Magic||57-25||115.1||107.8||Lost in NBA Finals to the Houston Rockets|
|1991-92||Cleveland Cavs||57-25||113.9||108.2||Lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Chicago Bulls|
|1987-88||Boston Celtics||57-25||115.4||109.4||Lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Detroit Pistons|
|1986-87||Dallas Mavericks||55-27||114.9||108.7||Lost in the First Round to the Seattle Supersonics|
|2007-08||Phoenix Suns||55-27||113.3||108.1||Lost in the First Round to the SA Spurs|
|2008-09||Portland Trailblazers||54-28||113.9||107.8||Lost in the First Round to the Houston Rockets|
|1989-90||Philadelphia 76ers||53-29||113.5||108.4||Lost in the 2nd round to the Chicago Bulls|
So, there are 11 teams that have similar offensive/defensive ratings as this year' Blazers team.
* 8 of the 11 teams won their first round series
* 6 of the 11 teams won their second round series
* 3 of the 11 teams won their Conference Finals
* 2 of the 11 teams won the NBA Finals
What's interesting to me is that all but one of the teams that finished the regular season with more than 56 wins made it to at least their Conference Finals(having huge post-season success), while all 4 teams that finished the regular season with less than 56 wins lost in the first round (or 2nd round for '90 76ers)(having no post-season success).
I know that many of you believe that to have playoff success, that you need to be a good defensive team.
However, when you have such a dominant offense, it appears that you still have playoff success when you aren't a good defensive team.
While we all want the Blazers to improve defensively, I believe that the Blazers can have post-season success playing the way they have through the first 34 games.
O/T: I'm really excited for CJ' debut tonight.