In the wake of Avery Johnson being awarded Coach of the Year(and being damn fun to impersonate), we felt it's time to award the Worst Coach of the Year. That is, until someone beat us to it.
Sports Illustrated, best known for supplying your dentist's office with 6-month old reading material, took a break from making softcore porn to declare the Raptor's coach Sam Mitchell the worst coach in the NBA. Out of a random survey of 248 NBA players, most of whom have never even played for him, 15% have tagged Sam Mitchell as not being able to distinguish a playbook from a Pop-Tart...which is actually quite easy, since Pop-Tarts are frosted.
A job in the Raptors organization is a lot like prison, so Mitchell first arrived in Toronto last season with the Oz mentality: if you don't want to be the bitch, scare everyone by kicking someone's ass right away. Players regularly bounced from the starting lineup to the end of the bench and back. Former CBAer Rafer Alston was so demoralized at one point he considered quitting the NBA. This is from a guy who, up until this point, is best known for touring community colleges in the midwest to play pickup ball for ESPN2. Something is seriously wrong.
In 2006 Toronto should have had a respectable squad. They unloaded two amazingly bad defenders in Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall. Chris Bosh and Mike James both posted career years, Mo Pete is a solid swingman, and "The Brow" Charlie Villanueva is a lock for the All-Rookie Team. To put things in perspective, these are four players that would start for the Chicago Bulls today.
But the Raptors posted six fewer wins and actually got worse on the defensive end, allowing 104 ppg, 2nd worst in the league (this hit an all-time low when that guy from the Lakers lit them up for 81 points. I think it was Chris Mihm.) Plus the Raps were fifth in the league in 4th quarter leads blown. And, on a team with size issues, Villanueva was used sparingly until the final third of the season, while Joey Graham and Pape Sow were allowed to log countless hours of statless playing time.
Of course, Sam Mitchell takes blame for absolutely none of this. He blames management for not providing him with winning personnel, especially on the defensive end. GM Bryan Colangelo fires back, "defense is a mindset". And then doesn't award him a contract extension. Zing!
And, to top it all off, ballbuster Mitchell has gone all shorthaired tabby on us. After publically castrating Rafer Alston all last year, he's allowing Mike James to compare himself to Jesus. I'm thinking Mike would be better suited for the Church of the Subgenius.
Mike Montgomery, runner up? Don't get me started.