I’m not a big fan of the NBA, but many of you guys are, so I thought I would pass this along:
[S]ome mysteries do exist, such as why Nate McMillan is seemingly persona non grata when it comes to Coach Of The Year discussions. You hear and read names like Mike Brown of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic and Rick Adelman of the Houston Rockets as the frontrunners for COY, but Nate McMillan? Nary a mention to be found outside of the Portland media.
People expected the Trail Blazers to be good, but this good? Most assumed they would have to fight tooth and nail to secure a playoff spot, which was a perfectly reasonable assumption to make. Young team, few veteran leaders, concerns about potential injuries, tough division, tougher conference. All true statements about the Blazers. But here we are on the last day of the season and Portland has a legitimate shot at home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, the Western Conference playoffs. Anyone see that coming?
But you look around the Coach Of The Year discussion, and it doesnâ€™t seem like Nate McMillan is getting his share of the credit for that improvement. If the Trail Blazers win tonight (knock on wood), theyâ€™ll have a regular season record of 54-28.
A Raleigh native and Enloe High School grad, McMillan helped lead the Wolfpack to a first place tie in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season in 1985, and the Elite Eight in both the 1985 and 1986 NCAA Championship Tournaments, and is perhaps the most successful (so far) coach in the Jim Valvano coaching tree.