4. Coach of the Year - Jason Kidd
It's been a tumultuous three seasons in Dallas for head coach Jason Kidd. After a successful first year, reaching the Western Conference Finals, the Mavs missed the playoffs altogether a season ago.
This season, Kidd is on a comeback trail. Despite there being no "Comeback Coach of the Year Award," Kidd has brought Dallas back to relevancy.
Last season, Dallas finished 11th in the West, with a 38-44 record. Through the first quarter of the season, the Mavs rank third in the conference, with a 15-8 record.
As discussed on the previous slide, the Mavericks are far better in the clutch. Dallas is second in the league in win percentage, plus/minus, turnovers, and total wins in the clutch.
Kidd has configured lineups to maximize each player's ability this season. His reliance on youth has also been a boon for Dallas. After drafting two players in the first round, it seemed as if a youth movement was on the horizon.
And Kidd has played into the movement. Despite subtle production in college, the Dallas coach wasn't hesitant to plug Dereck Lively II into the starting five. Although he came off the bench on opening day, Lively II has started ever since.
Under Kidd's tutelage, Lively II has excelled starting at the five (more on him later). Acknowledging the porous defense from a season ago, Kidd plugged in two new, defense-first starters to the lineup. Grant Williams, who came over from Boston, and Derrick Jones Jr. were plugged into the starting five to give the defense some juice.
Although starting Jones Jr. initially ruffled some feathers, his addition to the opening lineup has been a fantastic decision. Starting Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving doesn't necessarily equate to a great defense. Kidd has done a great job of maximizing lineups and figuring out how to be most effective on the defensive end.