The J Notes’ NBA Year-End Awards for the 2015-16 Season

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Terry Stotts Portland Trail Blazers
Apr 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts at press conference during game two of the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Coach of the Year: Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers

After a mass exodus of talent out of Rip City last summer–LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez all found new homes, leaving Damian Lillard to fend for himself–many expected the Portland Trail Blazers to finish near the bottom of the Western Conference.

Most experts expected the team to finish with a win total in the mid-20s. The Westgate SuperBook Las Vegas set the over/under on Portland’s win total at 26.5 wins.

Instead, the Blazers finished with a 44-38 record and the No. 5 seed heading into the playoffs. It was an incredible feat for the team and one that came in large part as a result of an incredible coaching effort by Terry Stotts.

The Blazers coach got more than most thought possible out of players like Allen Crabbe, Al-Farouq Aminu and Mason Plumlee, while C.J. McCollum led the pack by morphing into a 20-point scorer this season. While the players deserve a lot of credit for their development, so too does Stotts and his staff.

Steve Kerr was close here; the Warriors had a historic season. Whether the games he missed with back problems count against him or the fact that he contended with those medical problems and still directed a record-breaking season actually helps his case is a matter for debate. Ultimately, it may have split our vote.

In any event, Stotts’ coaching job this season was undoubtedly worthy of recognition.

Voting Results:

  1. Terry Stotts: 6 Pts. (2)
  2. Steve Kerr: 4 Pts. (2)
  3. Rick Carlisle: 2 Pts. (1)
  4. Brad Stevens: 1 Pt.
  5. Gregg Popovich: 1 Pt.

Executive of the Year, R.C. Buford, San Antonio Spurs

Sure, San Antonio Spurs GM R.C. Buford already had the best coach in the NBA, three Hall of Famers in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and the league’s next great star in Kawhi Leonard already in place. None of it changes the fact that he had an incredible year.

His ability to lure guys like LaMarcus Aldridge and David West into the fold and convince Danny Green to take less money to remain in San Antonio were master moves. He also managed to acquire Kevin Martin and Andre Miller for the stretch run, making the Spurs a legit threat to Golden State’s title aspirations

I went with Stan Van Gundy here for rebuilding the Detroit Pistons roster from the ground up in a very short amount of time, then securing the team’s first playoff berth in years. Nonetheless, even I can’t deny the work that Buford has put in for the Spurs.

Voting Results:

  1. R.C. Buford: 4 Pts. (2)
  2. Stan Van Gundy: 3 Pts. (1)
  3. Neil Olshey: 3 Pts. (1)
  4. Sam Presti: 2 Pts. (1)
  5. Dennis Lindsey: 1 Pt.

Next: All-NBA Teams