Mike Brown Wins NBA’s 2008-09 Coach of the Year Award

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CLEVELAND, OHIO - April 20th, 2009 - Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach Mike Brown has been named the winner of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2008-09 season, the NBA announced today.

Brown received a total of 355 points, including 55 first-place votes out of a possible 122, from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received.

Brown directed the Cavaliers to an NBA and franchise-best 66-16 (.805) record. With the 66 victories, Cleveland became just the 12th team in NBA history to win 66 or more games in a season. The Cavaliers also posted a 39-2 (.951) record at The Q, which tied for the second-best home record in league history. Their 27-14 (.659) road record tied for the second-best road record in the league this season.

“Mike Brown is one of these rare people that has nearly every tool in his tool box. He is smart, hard working, and selfless. He is curious and hungry to learn. He is philosophically driven and derives his decision making from his strong philosophy. Mike is a man of character and integrity. He is a natural leader and has a ‘magnetic charisma’ which automatically attracts people to him and his message. He has stuck to his ‘defense first’ strategy when it would have been much easier not to. As a human being, Mike treats everyone with respect no matter who they are or where they come from,” Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert said.

“Mike Brown is a critical element as to why our franchise is growing into the kind of success we all envisioned and hoped to achieve. I believe I speak for the entire Cleveland Cavaliers organization from players, to Mike’s staff, to our front office, from the business side and the people that work the games themselves, in conveying how excited and thrilled we are for Mike Brown and his family that he has been awarded ‘Coach of the Year’. There is no man more deserving and it proves to the world that, yes, nice guys CAN indeed, finish first.”

Cleveland improved its win total by 21 games from 2007-08 (45-37), tying the 1971-72 L.A. Lakers in NBA history for the second-largest improvement in wins of all teams that won at least 45 games in the previous season. Brown also oversaw NBA bests in terms of improvements in field goal percentage (from .439 to .468), three-point percentage (.358 to .393) and defensive field goal percentage (.455 to .431). The Cavs upped their points per game average from 96.4 to 100.3, the fifth-largest improvement, and lowered their points allowed from 96.7 to 91.4, the fourth best, in 2008-09.

For the first time in franchise history, Cleveland led the NBA in points per game differential (+8.9). The Cavs defense also allowed the fewest points per game in the league (91.4), the lowest opponent three-point percentage (.333) and the second-lowest opponent field goal percentage (.431). The Cleveland defense held opponents under 100 points an NBA-high 63 times (the Cavs were 56-7 in those games).

On the offensive end, Cleveland’s three-point field goal percentage (.393) ranked second, their field goal percentage of .468 ranked sixth and their 12.7 turnovers per game were the sixth-fewest in the NBA and lowest in franchise history. The Cavs won an NBA-best 41 games by 10 or more points.

Brown earned Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors on three different occasions this season: in Dec. 2008, in Feb. 2009 and in March 2009, when he led Cleveland to 16 victories, tying the NBA all-time record for most victories in any month. At 39 years, 24 days old, he became the fourth-youngest coach to lead a team to 60 wins in a season. He joins Bill Fitch (1975-76) as the only head coaches in franchise history to receive the coach of the year award.

In four seasons as the head coach of the Cavaliers, Brown has a .643 regular season winning percentage (211-117), the best in franchise history and third among active coaches (Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich). The Cavs are one of just four teams (Dallas, Phoenix and San Antonio) to have won at least 45 games in each of the last four seasons. Brown has led the Cavs to the postseason in each of his four seasons in Cleveland and reached at least the second round of the playoffs in each of the previous three seasons (one of just three teams to accomplish the feat along with Detroit and San Antonio). With a 27-20 (.574) record in the playoffs, Brown has the highest winning percentage and most wins of any head coach in Cavaliers history.