Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has publicly made his pick for 2016-17 NBA Coach of the Year: Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets.
"I think the fit with the roster and Mike's philosophy has been perfect," Kerr said Tuesday night. "What he's so good at is really giving his players confidence and belief. They're obviously having an amazing year. My guess is that he'll get the trophy. He's earned it."
Kerr made his declaration after the Warriors' 113-106 win over the Rockets. The 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year after leading Golden State to an NBA record 73 wins said he would give D'Antoni the honor over the Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra and the San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich.
D'Antoni joined the Rockets this season, his fifth NBA head-coaching job following stints with the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. He has led Houston to a 51-23 record, and the Rockets are firmly holding the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference with eight games to play.
As Suns general manager, Kerr served as D'Antoni's boss during the 2007-08 season before D'Antoni left to join the Knicks.
For his part, D'Antoni was more concerned with his team's performance in the loss Tuesday.
"We just didn't play well for whatever reason," D'Antoni said. "This is not going to happen very often. This is a good learning experience. ... We've got to get better."
D'Antoni previously was named Coach of the Year in 2004-05 after he led the Suns to a 62-20 regular season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Steve Kerr praises Mike D'Antoni following Warriors-Rockets clash