Coach of the First Trimester: Terry Stotts, Trail Blazers
I was so tempted to give this one to Phoenix's Jeff Hornacek. Or Boston's Brad Stevens.
The Rookie of the Year race, when it comes to coaches, is deeper than the actual ROY race once you broaden the discussion to include Denver's Brian Shaw, Atlanta's Mike Budenholzer and Charlotte's Steve Clifford.
But here's the thing: How could we possibly name seven separate Trimester winners without singling out at least one Trail Blazer?
Right. We couldn’t.
The truth is that Portland wouldn't be doing what it's been doing without the contributions of many. It's the moves general manager Neil Olshey made to add balance and depth to the roster. It's the inside banging Robin Lopez has supplied to free up LaMarcus Aldridge to play the ball of his life offensively. And it's the ridiculous shot-making we've seen from the likes of Damian Lillard and Wes Matthews when Aldridge hasn't been rumbling his way to the brink of the top 10 of the league's PER standings.
Yet you likewise can't ignore the guy who has found a role for all the new parts, tweaked his offense to better fit Aldridge's preferences after a season to get to know each other and, on the evidence we’ve seen one-third of the way through the schedule, has gotten the proverbial most out of his players ... since I don't remember too many folks out there predicting a 23-5 start for Portland.
So with apologies to the aforementioned coaching rooks who have their young teams overachieving, as well as the vets with gaudy early records, like Indy's Frank Vogel, OKC's Scotty Brooks and San Antonio's ever-reliable Gregg Popovich, it's Terry Stotts' turn.
With Hornacek right there as 1A.