Luke Walton is happy. In a surprising turn of events, the NBA has clarified the policies on awarding wins to coaches and giving awards to coaches, according to the NBA’s official press release:
The NBA clarified today the league’s rules regarding coaching records: the head coach of record is credited with team wins and losses. Steve Kerr remains the head coach of record for the Golden State Warriors and is credited with those results.
Additionally, any team head coach, interim head coach or acting head coach is eligible to be recognized with league coaching awards. Therefore, Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton is eligible for NBA Coach of the Month. The winners for the season’s first month will be announced later today.
And when that announcement was made, it was a shock to none that Walton was the winner for the Western Conference Coach of the Month.
The NBA announced:
While filling in for head coach Steve Kerr (back surgery), Walton has led the defending champion Warriors to the best start in NBA history at 19-0. The Warriors lead the NBA in scoring at 115.3 points, and enjoy the largest point differential in the league at 15.4 points. Walton is in his second season on the Warriors’ staff, and previously served as a player development coach with the NBA D-League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders during the 2013-14 season.
It was not a surprising move, but the bizarre nature left it a big question mark until the NBA clarified everything. Walton, then, is the first NBA coach ever to win the award without winning a single game. Future trivia contest.
David Blatt of the Cleveland Cavaliers took the Eastern Conference honors:
Blatt guided the Cavaliers to an Eastern Conference-best 13-4 (.765) record for games played in October and November. After dropping their season opener to the Chicago Bulls, the Cavaliers reeled off eight consecutive victories from Oct. 28 – Nov. 13. The defending conference champion Cavaliers own a 9-0 record at Quicken Loans Arena, and rank sixth in the NBA in both scoring (103.1 points) and team defense, limiting opponents to 96.5 points.
One contributory element to the Cavaliers’ success has been the way Blatt has retooled the offense to emphasize Kevin Love more, who is having a resurgence in the absence of superstar Kyrie Irving.