The Atlanta Hawks finish up the regular season on Sunday evening against the Houston Rockets. That game has various playoff implications but, even before it arrives, it would be more than fair to say Atlanta has enjoyed a successful season with 40 victories and a playoff berth for the first time since 2017.
While there are plenty of individuals — headlined by Trae Young, Clint Capela, Bogdan Bogdanovic and John Collins on the player side — that deserve credit for the team’s performance, interim head coach Nate McMillan has also been a significant factor. The Hawks are 26-11 since McMillan took over in early March and, because of the team’s turnaround, he is earning some NBA Coach of the Year buzz.
According to SB Nation Reacts at this stage, 50 percent of national fans believe Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has earned the Coach of the Year award this season. Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams took 23 percent, with Utah Jazz coach (and former Hawks assistant) Quin Snyder in the No. 3 spot.
From there, nine percent of fans voted for McMillan.
In judging by various “straw poll” exercises with actual voters, it does not appear as if McMillan is likely to actually win the award. Part of that could stem from a small sample size, as he will coach less than 60 percent of the season. Still, the team’s performance has been quite impressive under McMillan and he deserves consideration.
Elsewhere in award consideration is the Most Improved Player race. The Hawks don’t seem to have a big-time contender, but SB Nation Reacts takes stock and reveals some interesting results.
The Knicks are one of the better stories of the season, and credit appears split between Thibodeau and Julius Randle. 69 percent of fans around the league believe Randle should win MIP honors. The next closest player, Denver’s Michael Porter Jr., received just 11 percent of the vote.
A case could be made that Bogdan Bogdanovic or De’Andre Hunter could’ve snuck into this conversation under different circumstances. Hunter’s breakout was cut short by a lengthy injury absence, and Bogdanovic also missed 25 games midseason. Bogdanovic is shooting 49.5 percent from three and averaging 22.0 points per game in his last 23 appearances and, well, if that was the full season, he’d be right in the mix.
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