Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Los Angeles Clippers fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
The Clippers will open the postseason next week as either the No. 3 or the No. 4 seed against either Portland or Dallas. According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, 67 percent of Clippers fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s down from 77 percent last week and 100 percent two weeks ago. The continued decline as the team gets healthy is a little surprising. However, with the playoffs approaching, any hiccups — like the loss to the New York Knicks — can be cause for concern.
Speaking of those Knicks, as the playoffs approach, the biggest surprise of the season is their success. For the first time since 2013, the Knicks have reached the postseason and they did so without a true superstar leading the team, somewhat like the 2018-19 Clippers who won 48 games by committee. Their best players, Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams, weren’t even All-Stars, even if Lou did pick up Sixth Man of the Year.
These Knicks, like those Clippers, are on pace to get some end-of-season hardware. In lieu of a superstar, New York is led on the court by Julius Randle and head coach Tom Thibodeau, both of whom fans believe will finish the season with an individual award. 69 percent of fans around the league believe Randle should win the 2020-21 Most Improved Player award. The next closest player, Michael Porter Jr., received 11 percent of the vote. It would be nice to see Terance Mann in consideration for this award, but his minutes total is too low to really be in contention.
50 percent of national fans believe Thibodeau has earned the Coach of the Year award this season. Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams took 23 percent. Personally, I’d like to see Mike Malone get some credit for Denver’s season — think about how good the Nuggets have been against L.A. this year, even after losing Jamal Murray — but the rest of these candidates are all deserving. Three of them even picked up a win against the Clippers!
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