NBA COTY Futures Best Odds and Picks, January 14th, 2024
NBA COTY FUTURES BEST ODDS AND PICKS – JANUARY 14, 2024 — Greetings, basketball fans. Welcome back to our NBA coverage here at Godzilla Wins. As we approach the halfway mark of the 2023-24 NBA season, there will be discussions about which players will win various individual awards such as MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, and so forth.
What often gets lost in these discussions are the men/women who are tasked with bringing out the best in those players. Unfortunately, the coaches get very little credit when the team is successful, but they get a lion’s share of the blame when things do not go well. You need to look no further than the last offseason.
In 2021, Mike Budenholzer helped guide the Bucks to their first championship in five decades. But when the Bucks were eliminated by the No. 8 seed Miami Heat in last year’s playoffs, he was shown the door.
The same can be said about Monty Williams. His Suns team played against the Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals. Despite grabbing the first two games of the series, Milwaukee went on to win the series in six games.
Although he was just two years removed from that Finals appearance, the team opted to part ways with Williams even though they sacrificed a great deal of roster depth to acquire Kevin Durant before last year’s trading deadline.
A few other examples fall into this category, but I am more than sure that you get the point. So, without further ado, let us look at the coaches who currently have the best odds to win the Coach of the Year award.
Fifth-Best NBA COTY Odds: Rick Carlisle (+1500)
The Pacers have missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. Additionally, the team has not won more than 35 games during that stretch. The 2023-24 season has been drastically different.
Getting the negative side out of the way first, it should be mentioned that the Pacers are not an elite defensive team. They are ranked 28th in points allowed in 26th in defensive efficiency.
On the other side of the ball, the narrative is the complete opposite. Indiana is ranked first in scoring (126.6 PPG) and efficiency (122.8 points per 100 possessions).
Led by Tyrese Haliburton (23.6 points, and 12.5 assists per contest) and Myles Turner (17.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game), the Pacers have seven players averaging double-digit points this season.
Despite Haliburton being sidelined with a strained hamstring, the Pacers have the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference. And once their leading scorer returns to the lineup, they have a good chance of claiming one of the top four playoff spots.
Fourth-Best NBA COTY Odds: Joe Mazzulla (+1000)
Following the departure of Ime Udoka, Mazzulla was given the reigns to take over one of the most storied franchises in the history of the NBA. The Celtics were a top-five team at both ends of the floor last season. Boston would eventually advance to the conference finals and face a familiar foe in the Miami Heat. Miami jumped out to a 3-0 series lead, but Boston forced a Game 7 back on their home court at TD Garden. The Heat eventually won the series finale, which led to some roster changes during the offseason.
Despite having a slightly different roster, the Celtics are once again one of the top teams in the association. They have the fifth-best offense and defense. Given that fact, it should not come as a surprise that they have the best record in the league at 30-9.
The Bucks and Sixers will have something to say about which team comes out of the East. But based on what we have seen thus far, Boston looks like a complete team and this squad will be difficult to beat in a playoff series.
Third-Best NBA COTY Odds: Jamahl Mosley (+850)
The coach coming in at the No. 3 spot on the list is Jamahl Mosley. The Orlando Magic welcomed Mosley to the fold as the 15th coach in the franchise’s history. However, the positive results were not immediate. During the 2021-22 campaign, Orlando finished 22-60, good enough for 15th place in the eastern conference.
While the next season would see improvement, it was not significant. During his second year at the helm, the Magic finished 13th in the conference with a 34-48 record. Even more important, the team had now missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
The 2023-24 season has been a different story altogether. First, the Magic are holding down the No. 8 spot in the conference at 21-17. The Magic are still a middle-of-the-pack team from an offensive standpoint, but they are getting the job done defensively. Orlando is allowing 111.6 points per contest, which is the eighth-best mark in the league.
Orlando has the second-best defensive rating in the league as well (111.5 points per 100 possessions). Yep, there is plenty of basketball left to be played this season. But if the Magic can continue to play at this level during the second half of the season, they should be able to earn a playoff spot – something that was not a given when the season began.
Second-Best NBA COTY Odds: Chris Finch (+250)
The guy with the second-best odds to win the Coach of the Year award is Minnesota Timberwolves coach, Chris Finch. Minnesota hired Finch back in February 2021. The team eventually finished with a 23-49 record en route to missing the playoffs for the third straight season.
Over the next two seasons, the team won 46 and 42 games, respectively. Unfortunately, the only reward for the team’s incremental improvement was a pair of first-round losses in the postseason. Fast forward to the present and it is easy to see that the makeup of this team is very different.
Like the Magic, the Timberwolves are a mediocre offensive team at best. But at the other end of the court, this squad performs at a high level. Minnesota has the top-scoring defense in the league — giving up just 107.4 points per contest. Minnesota also has the best defensive rating in the league as well – allowing 108.6 points per 100 possessions.
The narrative does not stop there, though. The Timberwolves are holding opponents to 44.3 percent shooting from the field – which ties them with the Thunder for the lowest percentage in the league. Minnesota boasts the sixth-lowest opponent conversion rate from beyond the arc (34.6 percent).
Anthony Edwards — the team’s leading scorer — is averaging career-highs in points (25.8), overall shooting (46 percent), 3-point shooting (38.3 percent), free-throw shooting (84.2 percent), and assists (4.9).
Meanwhile, Rudy Gobert – who is averaging a double-double with 13.1 points and 12.2 rebounds per contest — is a frontrunner for the Defensive Player of the Year award. Gobert leads the team in both rebounding and blocked shots (2.1).
Call me crazy, but even though Minnesota’s roster is relatively young (average age of 26.2 years), I do not see this team being an easy first-round out as we have witnessed the last two seasons.
Best NBA COTY Odds: Mark Daigneault (+110)
Finally, we have arrived at the No. 1 spot on the list. The guy who is currently the odds-on favorite to win the Coach of the Year award is Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault. The front office tapped him to be the team’s head coach following Billy Donovan’s exit to become the coach of the Chicago Bulls after the 2019-20 season.
Before becoming the head coach, Daigneault coached the Thunder’s G-League affiliate team for five years. During those five years, he posted a .572 winning percentage and won three division titles while earning four postseason berths.
Mark Daigneault Has Helped OKC Bounce Back After Three Straight Years Of Missing The Playoffs
His first two NBA seasons were difficult, considering OKC won just 22 and 24 games. In Year 3, while the Thunder failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third straight season, they did well enough to earn an appearance in the play-in tournament after posting a 40-42 record during the regular season.
This season, the Thunder have improved in multiple areas.
- OKC had the 13th-best offensive rating last season. This year, the team has the fourth-best offensive rating (121.3 points per 100 possessions).
- In 2022-23, the Thunder were 19th in scoring defense. This season, they are 13th in this category.
- OKC finished 14th in defensive efficiency last season. This season, the team has the fifth-best defensive rating in the association.
In addition to the above numbers, the Thunder have the second-best shooting percentage in the league at 50.7 percent. The team’s 39.2 percent shooting from 3-point range is the second-highest conversion rate in the association.
Shai Gilegeous Alexander is averaging a career-best 31.5 points. He is also averaging career-highs in shooting (55.8 percent), rebounds (5.9), and assists (6.3).
OKC also has the third-best point differential at plus-9.1. Their 27-11 record is tied for the best record in the Western Conference and the second-best record in the NBA as well. In other words, there are not too many things that this team does not do well.
Yep, it is way too early to determine if this team is a legitimate title contender right now. But if they make it to the playoffs, the Thunder have the potential to be a matchup problem for any opponent.