After orchestrating one of the most dramatic turnarounds in the league in years and ending a 16-year playoff absence, Sacramento Kings coach Mike Brown has been voted the National Basketball Coaches Association's Coach of the Year, the organization announced Thursday.
The award, named in honor of late NBCA executive director Michael H. Goldberg, is based on a vote of the league's 30 head coaches. Brown's victory ends a two-year run for Phoenix's Monty Williams.
"We have an incredible group of head coaches in the NBA, all of whom deserve to be recognized for their leadership as they execute their craft at the highest level every day," Brown said in a statement Thursday. "This award is incredibly special in my first year with the Kings. It is a reflection of the caliber of men that Monte McNair and Wes Wilcox have assembled and who I have absolutely loved coaching.
The NBA will announce its Coach of the Year winner, an award based upon media voting, later in the playoffs.
Among the other coaches who received votes, sources said: Milwaukee's Mike Budenholzer, Oklahoma City's Mark Daigneault, Boston's Joe Mazzulla and New York's Tom Thibodeau. Each coach votes for one winner and can't vote for himself.
"Congratulations to Mike Brown on one of the greatest coaching jobs we've ever seen in this league," said Indiana Pacers coach and NBCA President Rick Carlisle in a statement. "He completely changed the attitude and vibe of the Kings franchise and fan base, launching them into an amazing new era of success."
In his first season as Kings coach, Brown led the franchise back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season --- ending the longest active playoff drought in North American professional sports. The Kings burst into the postseason with a 48-34 record and the Western Conference's No. 3 seed.
Under Brown, the Kings engineered an historic offense. Sacramento averaged a 118.6 points per 100 possessions, the best offensive efficiency of any team since play-by-play was first tracked in the 1996-1997 season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Kings averaged 120.7 points, the most since the 1983-84 Denver Nuggets.
Kings general manager Monte McNair hired Brown to replace interim coach Alvin Gentry in May, and a franchise renaissance was soon underway.
Brown had spent the past six years with Golden State and won three titles as an assistant coach under Steve Kerr. Brown had been the NBA's coach of the year in the 2008-09 season, when he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to 66 regular-season victories.