Light the beam in honor of Mike Brown, as the Sacramento Kings coach has won the National Basketball Coaches Association's 2023 Coach of the Year award. The NBCA announced Thursday that the NBA's 30 head coaches voted Brown this year's winner, with four other candidates -- Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks, Mark Daigneault of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics and Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks -- receiving votes.
This is not the Coach of the Year award with which you're most familiar. It has existed since 2017, and, that first year, the Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra shared it with Mike D'Antoni, who was then coaching the Houston Rockets. The other previous winners are Dwane Casey (2018), Budenholzer (2019, 2020), Billy Donovan (co-winner with Budenholzer in 2020) and Monty Williams (2021, 2022).
The NBA's Coach of the Year award is voted on by the media, and the winner will be announced during the playoffs. Brown will almost certainly win that one, too. This is his first season in Sacramento, and the team went 48-34, finished third in the Western Conference and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2006, ending what was the longest playoff drought in North American professional sports.
While Brown had a reputation as a defense-first coach in prior stints, his Kings have been been one of the most potent offensive teams in NBA history. They scored a league-best 118.6 points per 100 possessions in the regular season, running a fast, movement-oriented offense reminiscent both of recent teams in Golden State, where Brown spent the previous six seasons as Steve Kerr's lead assistant, and of Domantas Sabonis does now., where Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Brad Miller used to throw some of the same high-post passes that
The award is named after Michael H. Goldberg, the first executive director of the NBCA. From the press release:
"Congratulations to Mike Brown on one of the greatest coaching jobs we've ever seen in this league," said Indiana Pacers Head Coach and NBCA President Rick Carlisle. "He completely changed the attitude and vibe of the Kings franchise and fan base, launching them into an amazing new era of success."
"Mike Brown is extremely deserving of this award and the recognition that comes with the Coach of the Year vote by his peers," said David Fogel, NBCA Executive Director and General Counsel. "Coach Brown's hard work, commitment and dedication to his craft and the development of his players led the Kings to a franchise-changing season. Mike embodies the same high levels of integrity and excellence that Michael displayed every day of his life. Congratulations to Coach Brown, the Kings Assistant Coaches, and the entire basketball staff on winning the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award."
Kerr can congratulate Brown this weekend when the Kings host the defending-champion Warriors in Game 1 of their first-round series.