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Aaron Falk, Tony Jones and Steve Luhm cover the Utah Jazz and the NBA for The Salt Lake Tribune. The Tribune on Twitter - Aaron Falk: @tribjazz, Steve Luhm: @sluhm, Tony Jones: @Tjonessltrib

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Popovich, like Sloan, deserved Coach of the Year award

Gregg Popovich won the Coach of the Year award for the third time in his career, the NBA announced today. Don Nelson and Pat Riley are the only other three-time winners.

Popovich's Spurs had the league's best record 62-20. And he did while balancing an aging roster; no player averaged more than 30 minutes or 20 points a game this year.

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Here are the full results.

Coach, Team 1st 2nd 3rd Pts

Gregg Popovich, San Antonio 59 23 16 380

Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix 37 44 22 339

Tom Thibodeau, Chicago 12 22 33 159

Steve Clifford, Charlotte 8 21 24 127

Dwane Casey, Toronto 5 9 18 70

Terry Stotts, Portland 2 3 6 25

Doc Rivers, L.A. Clippers 1 2 2 13

Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City 0 0 1 1

Mark Jackson, Golden State 0 0 1 1

Jason Kidd, Brooklyn 0 0 1 1

The award seems to traditionally go to the coach who helped lead the biggest turnaround from one year to the next. And that's exactly what former Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek and Steve Clifford did in Phoenix and Charlotte, respectively. That's why those two were my second- and third-place votes for the award.

Horancek did indeed finish second in the voting with 339 points to Popovich's 380.

The job Hornacek did in Phoenix this year was remarkable.

And it cast a shadow over what was happening in Utah.

But Popovich deserved the award. He was the best coach.

But what Popovich has done in San Antonio this season (and obviously in the years prior) was also special. It seemed wrong to let voter fatigue get in the way of that. That's the kind of thinking that cost Jerry Sloan the hardware a time or tow.

— Aaron Falk

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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