Is Nate McMillan Being Overlooked for NBA Coach of the Year?

I’m not a big fan of the NBA, but many of you guys are, so I thought I would pass this along:

The Case: Nate McMillan for Coach of the Year

nateome 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 doesn’t seem like Nate McMillan is getting his share of the credit for that improvement. If the Trail Blazers win tonight (knock on wood), they’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.

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52 Responses to Is Nate McMillan Being Overlooked for NBA Coach of the Year?

  1. Packman02 04/17/2009 at 9:42 AM #

    Absolutely being overlooked…

    …and he should be given bonus points in the COY race since his point guard is Steve Blake, who is not in the same space time continuum with Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Toney Parker or Steve Nash…(and that’s just out West!).

    Portland does have a formidable front line, youthful athleticism and much overlooked skill at the 2,3 and 4..BUT…not having a top-flight point guard can crush a team, despite these strengths (ahem, Charlotte, ahem)…

    Definitely a GREAT job by Nate to overcome this deficiency – unfortunately, he coaches Portland, which is not named Cleveland, Los Angeles or Boston and, resultantly, will not recieve similar swooning from the NBA media types that vote in the COY…

    Thanks for posting, Alpha – as a pro-NBA (and pro-McMillan !) guy – I really appreciate you highlighting the wonderful job Nate’s done.

  2. wufpup76 04/17/2009 at 9:53 AM #

    “I’m not a big fan of the NBA …”

    Go Nate.

  3. choppack1 04/17/2009 at 9:59 AM #

    Nate has done some amazing things in the “association”.

    I also think Del Negro is doing well.

    Their success brings up another question, but I don’t want to be a negative nancy.

  4. Noah 04/17/2009 at 10:06 AM #

    Be a positive pete!

    Like…I’m positive Sidney Lowe sucks. 🙂

  5. RickJ 04/17/2009 at 10:44 AM #

    Have I got this right – in 10 years at NC State, Jim Valvano managed to recruit 2 of the 16 head coaches that will compete in the NBA playoffs.

  6. phillypacker 04/17/2009 at 10:54 AM #

    noah, have you heard anything else about a possible personnel change today? Any glimmer of hope? It’s like hoping and waiting for the berlin wall to fall.

  7. Wolf Dog 04/17/2009 at 11:05 AM #

    Yes the V tree lives! Bill Guthridge gave V credit for the best Junk defense X and O coach UNC faced.

    Nate has done as excellent job in the NBA. Lot of TV and NBA people would love to see Nate’s young team make a run in the playoffs and boost some less predictablilty into the NBA playoffs.

    Our caravan headed out to Raleigh and Spring game tomorrow. Hope many of you are going also.

    And keeping with the positive theme. I am postive Noah on the Hershey Trail! If the site doesn’t tolerate personal attacks, why does it allow Noah to do so to bloggers and coaches? Is he smoochin the SFN pickle?

    Noah “state fans are bigots” “Sidney Lowe sucks” “I’ll burn down the RBC Center” direct quotes from a supposed NCSU fan. Can someone say. “therapy, get a job. actually attend a game, and are you posting from Dorohtea Dix?”

  8. Thinkpack17 04/17/2009 at 11:06 AM #

    Nate isn’t being overlooked.

    Vinny Del Negro is.

  9. wufpup76 04/17/2009 at 11:09 AM #

    “noah, have you heard anything else about a possible personnel change today? Any glimmer of hope? It’s like hoping and waiting for the berlin wall to fall.”

    ^We’ll just have to wait and see if there is “black smoke” or “white smoke” later today.

  10. GAWolf 04/17/2009 at 11:12 AM #

    Da Vinci Code?


  11. GAWolf 04/17/2009 at 11:13 AM #

    I guess it’s Vatican ritual… I just happen to know about it from that book.

  12. wufpup76 04/17/2009 at 11:19 AM #

    ^Yes, Vatican ritual.

    I must be one of the only people left in North America who has yet to read ‘The Da Vinci Code’ or see the film version. Color me lame.

  13. xphoenix87 04/17/2009 at 11:31 AM #

    I think it’s a stretch to call McMillan overlooked. Most everyone around the league agrees that McMillan is an excellent coach and has really done a great job with a young Blazers team. However, the Coach of the Year vote almost always goes to one of the following types of candidate: The coach who kept his team afloat despite injuries (Adelman, Van Gundy); The coach whose team makes a huge jump in wins (Spoelstra, Brown, Popovich); The coach of an elite team (Brown, Jackson). If you don’t fall into one of those categories, you’re probably not going to win the award. Stupid? Yes, but that’s just the way things go. Most NBA guys I know tend to agree that McMillan is a brilliant coach though.

  14. Alpha Wolf 04/17/2009 at 12:13 PM #

    “I must be one of the only people left in North America who has yet to read ‘The Da Vinci Code’ or see the film version. Color me lame.”

    The book is lame and is forumlaic fiction at best. I would be happy to read it on the beach, but you will never mistake it for Faulkner. And before anyone rags on Faulkner, keep in mind he penned the screenplay to “The Maltese Falcon” — only one of the top five or six films ever made.

    As for tDVC, it plays so fast and loose with real history that it should be called speculative fiction.

  15. Greywolf 04/17/2009 at 12:21 PM #

    If Portland has a legitimate shot at home court adbantage, it has an equally legitimate shot at NOT having home court advantage.
    People expected the Trail Blazers to be good, and Portland has a legitimate shot at NOT having home court advantage… This doesn’t sound like COY conversation to me. Good coach? check. Good job this year? check. COY? I don’t think so.

  16. Noah 04/17/2009 at 12:22 PM #

    I must be one of the only people left in North America who has yet to read ‘The Da Vinci Code’ or see the film version. Color me lame.

    I’m a passenger on that train too.

  17. wufpup76 04/17/2009 at 12:27 PM #

    ^In other words, it’s a decent read as we wait for the smoke near the Bell Tower.

    Ok, I’ll see if I can’t track down a copy while we’re waiting … or perhaps Tom Hanks could tell me everything I need to know in 2 and a half hours or so.

    Come on, white smoke! Let’s see that white smoke!

  18. McPete 04/17/2009 at 12:47 PM #

    the movie was as bad as tom hanks’ haircut in it. didn’t do the book any justice (i thought it was an entertaining work of fiction). since i’m neither a christian nor an historian i didn’t take offense to the book.

  19. Alpha Wolf 04/17/2009 at 12:48 PM #

    Since we’re on the subject of literature, let’s hope it is not “Waiting For Godot.”

  20. rswilli2 04/17/2009 at 1:00 PM #

    Until Jerry Sloan wins a Coach of the Year award, no other NBA coach should ever open their mouths in complaint about not winning the award.

  21. Noah 04/17/2009 at 1:50 PM #

    Is there some big thing in Da Vinci Code about Fibonacci numbers? I was flipping through and caught about 30 seconds of TBS’ airing of the movie version and heard it mentioned. That reminded me of how good of a movie “Dark City” is. So I turned off TDC and put in the DVD.

    “Dark City” uses Fibonacci numbers as a tool of illustrating how the entire city and its constant evolution keep the inhabitants at bay.

    William Hurt’s partner figures that part out right before he throws himself in front of a train.

  22. whitefang 04/17/2009 at 2:08 PM #

    Noah, Yes on the Fibonacci numbers in DC.
    Thought it was a decent read although many of the historical references are bogus.

  23. PackerInRussia 04/17/2009 at 2:29 PM #

    Since the topic has turned to The Da Vinci Code and now Dark City, I also have not read/watched The Da Vinci Code. And I just recently watched Dark City (Director’s Cut). Cool movie. Found the following concerning TDVC and Fibonacci numbers on Wikipedia, that vast fountain of unquestionably true knowledge:
    “The key opens a safe deposit box at the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich. Saunière’s account number at the bank is a 10-digit number listing the digits of the first eight Fibonacci numbers: 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21.”
    So there ya go.

  24. Packman02 04/17/2009 at 2:35 PM #

    I bring news from the world of John Wall…

    Imbedded interview on the page…big highlight is that John is (re-?)taking the SAT on May 4th…news to me – thought he was qualified…

    That…and he (John Wall) states that UNC is NOT on his list. Maybe that’s because he hasn’t been offered..but it is a direct quote that contradicts the degree to which UNC is involved here, or at least contradicts what we’ve been told by the braintrust at SI, ESPN, and local media outlets…

    He does mention NC State, when running down his ‘list’ – funny thing is, one of the reporters there actually asks him to restate this (“N. C. State, John”), as if he mis-heard John. “Yeah, NC State” is Wall’s reply – the drama continues…

    For those who could care less – sorry for the threadjack…

  25. wufpup76 04/17/2009 at 2:35 PM #

    Wow, look at what I started.

    Thanks for the explanation McPete … check out the book as opposed to the movie – got it. 🙂

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