Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons has won the Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which honors an NBA coach for his cooperation with media and fans, as well as excellence on the court. The Professional Basketball Writers Association announced the winner Friday. Van Gundy was one of five finalists for the award. The others were Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Hornets, Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets, David Fizdale of the Memphis Grizzlies and Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics. Dwane Casey of the Toronto Raptors won the award last season.
History has not always worked out for the best teams in the NBA. When teams come out of nowhere to topple the favorites, we’re reminded just how talented NBA players truly are. If you play in this league, then you’ve got skills. The Memphis Grizzlies entered their 2011 first-round contest against the San Antonio Spurs as the lowly No. 8 seed, but this proved to be irrelevant.
In today's NBA, if you don't have LeBron James or a juggernaut with three or four high-end All-Stars, you aren't really in the championship conversation. Take this year's ho-hum, lopsided postseason that has seen the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors quite literally cruise through the playoffs to the point it's never too early to preview that matchup. This is not a new phenomenon, as back in the day if you didn't have a guy named Michael Jordan or, say, a couple or more future Hall of Famers a la the Houston Rockets or Utah Jazz, you weren't getting to the NBA Finals. Yes, there were the juggernaut Los Angeles Lakers led by Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson, but the East in particular was a wide-open affair.