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Sloan 2nd in Coach of Year balloting

Sloan 2nd in Coach of Year balloting



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TORONTO -- The NBA named its Coach of the Year on Tuesday morning, and Utah's Jerry Sloan wasn't it.

Toronto's Sam Mitchell received 394 votes, after a season in which he led the Raptors to a franchise-record-tying 47 victories and their first Atlantic Division title.

Sloan received the second-most votes; 301 total, 39 of them for first place. The veteran Jazz coach, whose team trails Houston 2-0 in a first-round Western Conference playoff series, has never been named Coach of the Year.

Mitchell is the sixth coach in the Raptors' history. He guided the Raptors to an NBA-best 20-game improvement (27-55) over the 2005-06 season. The Raptors trail New Jersey 1-0 in a first-round playoff series; Game 2 is tonight in Toronto.

During a 13-year playing career that ended in 2002, Mitchell was held in high regard around the league as a student of the game. Following two seasons as an assistant, he was hired as the Raptors' coach on June 29, 2004.

"He's done a great job with the ball club," forward Morris Peterson said Monday. "He's really grown a lot over his first couple of years coaching. If anybody in the NBA deserves it, it's him. He's proved a lot of people wrong."

Guard T.J. Ford said Mitchell puts his faith in the players.

"He's going to give us the structure offensively and defensively, but it's up to us to go out there execute," he said. "He puts it in our hands and lets us control it. He's been great in that aspect."

Mitchell is finishing the final season of his contract, but there has been ongoing discussion of an extension.

"I think he does [deserve a new contract]," Raptors All-Star forward Chris Bosh said earlier this month. "That was the question. Can he win? And he's shown he can."

NBA Coach of Year voting

Voting for the 2006-07 NBA coach of the year as selected by a nationwide panel of 128 sportswriters and broadcasters. Voting is on a 5-3-1 basis:

Votes

Player 1st 2nd 3rd Points Sam Mitchell, Raptors 49 43 20 394 Jerry Sloan, Jazz 39 28 22 301 Avery Johnson, Mavs 28 31 35 268 Jeff Van Gundy, Rockets 10 19 27 134 Mike D'Antoni, Suns 2 3 3 22 Don Nelson, Warriors -- 2 7 13 Scott Skiles, Bulls -- 1 9 12 Pat Riley, Heat -- 1 -- 3 Gregg Popovich, Spurs -- -- 2 2 George Karl, Nuggets -- -- 1 1 Flip Saunders, Pistons -- -- 1 1 Isiah Thomas, Knicks -- -- 1 1

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