Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Coach of the Year is...

THE MAVERICKS OWN AVERY JOHNSON!!!! Avery has won more games than any 1st time coach in the history of the NBA. Not too bad of a stat. Unfortunately it doesn't look like Dirk will win MVP, but that was expected. Usually you have to be a legitimate candidate for a year or two before they'll give you that trophy. If Dirk and the Mavs have the same success next year, Dirk will have a great shot to win it.

Here's the article from the Dallas Morning News:

Sources: Mavs' Johnson honored, Dirk snubbed

02:59 AM CDT on Tuesday, April 25, 2006

By EDDIE SEFKO / The Dallas Morning News

Avery Johnson will be honored with one of the NBA's two biggest individual awards today when he is named the league's coach of the year, numerous sources said Monday.

However, the league's other major piece of hardware – the MVP trophy – will elude Dirk Nowitzki, a source said. While it was unknown who will win the MVP, it will not be Nowitzki, who was lumped with Phoenix's Steve Nash, Cleveland's LeBron James, Detroit's Chauncey Billups and the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant as legitimate candidates.

Johnson, in his first full season as Mavericks coach, won the nationwide ballot of media members, besting, among others, Detroit's Flip Saunders, San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Phoenix's Mike D'Antoni , who won the award last season.

Johnson is the first winner of the award in Mavericks history. He broke the NBA record for fastest coach to 50 wins (50-12) and best record after 82 games (66-16). He was coach of the month in November and January, in addition to winning the award in April last season after taking over for Don Nelson. His career record is 76-24.

"He got a great opportunity, and he's a great coach who took that opportunity and ran with it," Nelson said from San Francisco, where he was preparing for a speaking engagement, unaware of the pending announcement. "He deserves the coach of the year, and I couldn't be happier for him. Not everybody gets a chance to step into a winning situation like this.

"It's a terrific honor for him and his whole staff. They helped make it happen."

The Mavericks finished 60-22 this season, tying the franchise record for victories. They had the third-best record in the NBA. The team also had only one All-Star – Nowitzki – which probably worked in Johnson's favor. Each other coach of the year candidate had at least two All-Stars on his team.

Throughout his playing career as a gritty point guard, Johnson was known as the "Little General." He appeared in 1,054 games, one of only two players shorter than 6-0 (with Calvin Murphy) to appear in more than 1,000 games.

As a coach, Johnson prefers to drop the first part of his nickname and simply be known as "The General." He served as an assistant coach for most of the 2004-05 season before Nelson, a three-time coach of the year with other teams, retired last March.

Nowitzki became a legitimate MVP contender by averaging 26.6 points and nine rebounds this season. He hit a career-best 48 percent from the field, including 40.6 percent from 3-point range.

However, the competition was stiff for MVP this season with five players producing legitimate credentials. Nowitzki is, however, expected to be first-team All-NBA for the second straight season.

In addition to Nowitzki, Jerry Stackhouse was a prime contender for the league's sixth-man award, but he, too, came up short.


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