The NBA Preseason is over, and it’s time for the 2021-2022 NBA season to begin! Things will go back to normal this year with the NBA returning to an 82-game season for the first time since 2019.
Last year saw a lot of surprising teams improve from the year before, and because of that, there were a lot of new faces in the NBA Coach of the Year race. Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks won the award after leading the Knicks back to the postseason for the first time since 2013.
Going into this year, there are plenty of coaches that are deserving of the award, including last year’s finalists Monty Williams and Quin Snyder. You also never know which teams will outperform expectations, as seen with the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns.
According to Caesars Sportsbook, the favorites to win the NBA Coach of the Year award are as follows:
- Steve Nash (+900)
- Erik Spoelstra (+900)
- Steve Kerr (+1100)
- Frank Vogel (+1200)
- Monty Williams (+1200)
- Quin Snyder (+1200)
The Coach of the Year award race looks to be tight this season, and for good reason. A lot of teams have improved this past offseason, and with good coaching, should improve this year. It’s very rare for the same coach to win the award two years in a row, so expect a new face to win it this year.
Let’s take a look at some sleeper picks and predictions for who will come out on top next season as the NBA’s Coach of the Year.
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2022 NBA Coach of the Year Sleeper Bet
Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls (+1300)
I fully expect the Chicago Bulls to be the team that improves the most from last season to this season. The Bulls have finished as the No. 11 seed in the Eastern Conference standings for the past two years, with last year being Billy Donovan‘s first in Chicago.
Now with a loaded roster, Donovan could very well win the award come year’s end.
This past offseason, the Bulls made a lot of noise acquiring Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso to play alongside Zach LaVine and Nikola Vučević. The Bulls have shown how explosive they can be in the preseason, winning all four of their games and scoring above 100 points in each contest.
Chicago is not only going to return to the playoffs, but they’re going to make a serious run as well. The East is strong this season, and if the Bulls improve enough, Donovan deserves the award.
2022 NBA Coach of the Year Prediction
Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat (+900)
Can you believe Erik Spoelstra has not won the Coach of the Year award in his entire tenure with the Miami Heat? Not even when Miami went to four-straight NBA Finals and had a 66-win season.
It’s time Spoelstra gets the recognition he deserves. In 13 seasons, the Heat have missed the playoffs 3 times, each time just barely missing by a couple of games. Recently, the Heat went on an improbable Finals run in the bubble that almost saw them take down the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now, Spo is looking to recreate that bubble magic this upcoming season.
Miami greatly improved this season with the additions of Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker, and Markieff Morris. Them, along with their core players of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro, will look to get the Heat back to the Finals.
What’s also great about Spoelstra is his ability to turn unknown of players into series rotation players. Robinson and the now-Lakers point guard Kendrick Nunn were both undrafted and are now very well-known across the league. We could see that happen again this year with Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, or Omer Yurtseven.
Spoelstra is regarded as one of the best coaches in the league, and if Miami can become a top team in the East, he’ll finally take home the Coach of the Year award for the first time.
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