The Impossible Choice
How can you choose? How do you possibly pick between Dwayne Casey and Brad Stevens for Coach of the Year? It feels like an impossible choice. The top two teams in the Eastern Conference have been tremendously aided by the efforts of their head coaches.
The Raptors clinched the #1 seed and sit at 59-22 heading into tomorrow’s final game of the season. Once you get past the two-headed monster of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the rest of the starting 5 and the ferocious bench has stepped up tremendously (particularly CJ Miles and Fred VanVleet), and Casey deserves a load of credit for guiding this team to its best record in franchise history.
The Celtics have clinched #2, and are at 54-26 with two games left to play. Without Gordon Hayward after opening night, without Kyrie Irving for spurts and now losing him for the rest of the season, and with several key players (Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris) suffering injury time, it’s amazing the Celtics have achieved a better record than last season when they held the #1 seed. This is so heavily due to Brad Stevens, who has utilized roleplayers such as Aron Baynes and ‘Scary’ Terry Rozier to spur Boston on past the injury bug.
So how do you possibly choose? Two coaches leading two teams to top records in vastly different circumstances. Well, tie may go to the better record, in this case Casey and Toronto. But Steven will get his fair share of support, and it will definitely be a nailbiter in the end. But he who laughs best laughs last, and the victor of a potential Raptors-Celtics Eastern Conference Final will have the last laugh.
The (Other Slightly Less Appealing) Impossible Choice
The Wolves are faced with a win go home game this Wednesday because they’re dumb and they’re just out to raise my blood pressure. These clowns have struggled the entire year under pressure, and now are faced with the greatest pressure of all, the playoffs or bust.
The math is simple, either the Nuggets or the Wolves will have the honor of losing to Houston or Golden State. However, the consequences are far reaching. If the Wolves do get into the playoffs, the young players will gain valuable experience, Jimmy Butler will maybe be convinced this is a winning operation and re-sign, and maybe Tom Thibodeau will smile.
But here’s the part that is harder to grapple with, losing may be the better option.
If the Wolves lose and do not make the playoffs, they have two first round picks. Which is more valuable than ever with two max deals already locked up in Towns and Wiggins along with another one on the way in Jimmy Butler. The Wolves also have no bench, and bench players are paid way too much. This is more of a win-win then people want to admit.
This is not to say I want the Wolves to lose, this is more to say I’ve been numbed by it. And that no matter what the Timberpuppies do on Wednesday they can look forward to some promise.