Tom Thibodeau got the New York Knicks back to the playoffs, guiding the team to its second-best record in 20 years.
And in the eyes of the voters, that coaching job was the best in the NBA.
Thibodeau was revealed Monday as the NBA’s Coach of the Year for 2020-21, as determined by a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the league. The Knicks went 41-31 this season, then fell to Atlanta in five games in the first round of the playoffs.
It was the closest balloting since this version of voting was introduced 19 years ago. Thibodeau got 43 first-place votes and finished with 351 total points, while Phoenix’s Monty Williams actually got more first-place votes — he got 45 — but finished with 340 points.
“Anytime you get an award like this, I’m obviously honored,” Thibodeau said on the telecast announcing the results. “But it’s more a reflection of our group and our organization.”
It was Thibodeau’s second time winning the award; he also got it in 2011, his first season with the Chicago Bulls.