Flip Saunders - Detroit Pistons
Coach of the Year

2005-06:
Named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month in November, December and January ... Pistons won 64 games, best in the NBA and the most in their franchise history ... 37-4 record at home was the best in the league ... Ranked third in scoring defense (90.17) ... Ranked second in assists (24.03).

Our take:
When the Pistons and Larry Brown parted company last summer, many thought Flip Saunders should take any open job except the one in Detroit. The thinking was that expectations might be too high and any outcome other than an NBA title would be a disappointment. That was before the Pistons jumped out to a 37-5 record en route to a league-best and franchise-record 64 wins. Critics may point to the team's four All-Stars and say the players were responsible. While they certainly deserve their share of the credit, you have to give Flip his due. Saunders brought his immense offensive playbook to Motown, resulting in nearly four additional points a night without so much as a hiccup on the defensive end.
-- Jeff Dengate

From the media:
Flip Saunders changed the tenor in Detroit the post-Larry Brown Pistons are more low-key. Saunders likes to say he did not "invent the wheel," but he knew when to step out of the way and allow his starters, who have played together for 160 games, to run with their freedom.
-- New York Times

A fan's take:
Okay. This guy has came in and made a pretty good impact. He led the Pistons to the best record in the NBA and this was his first year with the team. I know that this team was already good without him, but I wasn't sure how he would handle the pressure following in Larry Brown's footsteps. He proved me wrong, and it shows you what this guy can do with a team.
-- Logan - Dover, Del.

Coach of the Year - The Candidates:
Mike D'Antoni - Phoenix Suns
Mike Dunleavy Sr. - Los Angeles Clippers
Avery Johnson - Dallas Mavericks
Gregg Popovich - San Antonio Spurs
Flip Saunders - Detroit Pistons

Others worth consideration: Mike Brown, Rick Carlisle, Lawrence Frank, Mike Fratello, Pat Riley, Byron Scott

MAKING THE CASE FOR ...
Home
Most Improved Player
Rookie of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Sixth Man Award
Most Valuable Player


D. Lippitt/Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images