Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault was named NBA Coach of the Year, the league announced Sunday night. 

Now two years removed from a 24-win season and just a year removed from a play-in berth,  Daigneault coached the Thunder to a 57-25 record this season, becoming the youngest No. 1 seed in NBA history. They began the season as the league’s youngest active team, only older than the Spurs. The Thunder finished with both top-five offensive and defensive ratings this season. 

Minnesota’s Chris Finch and Orlando’s Jamahl Mosley were the other finalists. Daigneault becomes the second Thunder coach to win the award, with Scott Brooks awarded after the 2009-10 season.

Mark Daigneault’s Rise To The Top

The fourth-year coach began his time with the Thunder organization in 2014, and he was named head coach for the team’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue. After serving as an assistant under Billy Donovan during the 2019-20 season, Daigneault was handed the keys as his predecessor. 

During a season that began without grandiose expectations, Daigneault has a team that is mostly without playoff experience and has now completed a first-round sweep. He’s found steadiness through spontaneous lineups and unpredictable substitutions. He’s kept a firm identity, playing small lineups and openly accepting tradeoffs. 

The 39-year-old’s staff has earned a reputation for offensive creativity without sacrificing defensive integrity. By the end of the season, Daigneault helped claim a Northwest Division title to earn the tiebreaker in a historically competitive West — making him the favorite for the award. 

Daigneault was aware of the award’s eventual reveal Sunday and his chances of winning. Still, in typical Daigneault fashion, he deflected any anticipation surrounding him. 

“Nope, no plans,” Daigneault said when asked what he’d be doing Sunday night. “Regular evening.”

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