Best Pro Coach - 2009
Rick Carlisle, Mavericks
Yuck, what's that? Sorry, please excuse the tarnish on the hardware, but this award is sorta by default. How can it not be? Ron Washington almost got fired. Wade Phillips should've been fired. Dave Tippett did get fired. Not sure who FC Dallas' coach is these days, but considering their utter irrelevance, he likely will be fired before you read our 2010 "Best of" issue. As for Carlisle, he pushed the Mavs into the second round of the NBA Playoffs by molding his style to his talent. He's not exactly Don Nelson in experimental basketball, but compared with Avery Johnson's flexibility he's practically Gumby. Early in the season, Carlisle pitched the keys to Dallas' offense to Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd. The result? The Mavs weren't great, but they were as good as they could be.