Best Professional Coach - 2010
If anybody doubted that Alvin Gentry was a superhero NBA coach, last year proved them wrong. Gentry managed to do something that no other Suns coach ever had been able to do in the team's run-and-gun-era — get his team to play solid defense. He even had defense-challenged (and now-departed) Amar'e Stoudemire doing it once in a while. Gentry also, for the first time in the Steve Nash era, developed one of the best benches in the league. His predecessor, Mike D'Antoni, only went about seven deep in his lineup, while Gentry routinely put 10 players a game on the floor. Sometimes 12. It slowed down the Suns, sure, but it made them a better team — one, against all odds, that made it to the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers last season. This after solidly beating the talented Portland Trail Blazers in the first round and crushing the team's nemesis, the San Antonio Spurs, in the second. Just beating Tim Duncan and the Spurs like that made Gentry a man of steel in our book. Gentry's team, sometimes led by second year-players he and his staff vastly improved (like backup point guard Goran Dragic and starting center Robin Lopez), even held their own against the most talented team in the league, led by Kobe Bryant, in the finals. It was almost unbelievable that the Suns tied the series with the Lakers, before losing it in six. With the improvement Gentry made in the team in his first full season as coach, we're expecting him to work wonders this year. We'd be surprised, barring a killer midseason acquisition, if the Suns can win it all this year, but it wouldn't surprise us to see them going head-to-head against Kobe and company for dominance in the West.