Back in June 2022, Sacramento brought in coach Mike Brown to hopefully turn the franchise around, as it had been years since they produced a competitive season in the NBA. To be exact, it had been 17 years since they had reached the playoffs, and no one would expect them to return so soon in the trainer’s first season guiding the Kings.
He mostly talked about a long road ahead full of work and sacrifice, and most importantly, he talked about creating a new culture for the club. And today, he’s the owner of the 2022/23 NBA Coach of the Year Award.
Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown is the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the 2022-23 NBA Coach of the Year.
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 19, 2023
“One of the main reasons I was brought here,” Brown said as he was announced the club’s new coach, “was to bring some leadership.”
However, he’s not just the award’s recipient, this Wednesday he was announced as the unanimous winner of the yearly honor, as all 100 voters from a panel of reporters and broadcasters had Brown atop their ballot. The other candidates were Mark Daigneault from Oklahoma City Thunder (second place) and Boston’s Joe Mazzulla (third place).
Other 17 head coaches got a least one vote in the selection panel as they were asked to choose their first, second and third-place picks.
“These honors don’t come around often so you’re very appreciative of them,” the trainer said as he was told he was the winner. “I’m really appreciative of being in Sacramento. The fans, the city has been fantastic.”
This is actually the second time that Brown conquers this accolade, as he won it after he led LeBron James’ Cleveland to a 66-16 record back in the 2008/09 campaign.
Sacramento achieved a 48-34 mark this past regular season, which was the seventh-best record in the NBA. This was the first time since the 2003/04 tournament that they reach the top 7. The Kings also led the league in points per game and earned the best road record in the Western Conference.
“Accountability has been big since Day 1,” Kings guard De’Aaron Fox said. “When he was hired, I told him that’s the most important thing, I felt like, to me was just being able to hold everybody accountable. … That’s definitely the biggest thing.”
Sacramento is currently leading their first-round series against the reigning champions
Right now, Sacramento is enjoying a 2-0 lead in their playoff matchup against Golden State, the current reigning NBA champs, and probably the team with most experience in postseason in the whole league. This means the city is celebrating this, Brown’s new earned honor, and the fact that their point guard De’Aaron Fox was announced as the inaugural winner of the NBA’s Clutch Player of the Year Award.
Curiously enough, Brown was a part of the Warriors last year as he aided as the team’s assistant coach and conquered his fourth NBA title. His first as an assistant came under Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs, and the other three with Steve Kerr in San Francisco.
“Everybody in our building just feels so happy for Mike and strongly about what he did for us while he for us while he was here, how much he contributed to our championships here and our culture,” Kerr told the press before the playoffs began. “We miss him, but we’re thrilled that he had this amazing season.”
The Kings coach now becomes the 11th person to win this award more than once, joining fellow two-time winners Gene Shue, Tom Thibodeau, Bill Fitch, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Mike D’Antoni, Mike Budenholzer and Hubie Brown, and three-time recipients, Popovich, Pat Riley and Don Nelson.