Only once in NBA history has a head coach earned Coach of the Year honors for a team finishing below .500, with Johnny Kerr of the Chicago Bulls taking home the hardware in 1966-67.
The Philadelphia 76ers aren't doing Brett Brown any favors this season, with a league-worst 5-38 record that should undoubtedly take the former San Antonio Spurs assistant out of the running for the award.
New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher feels otherwise, though, which he elaborated on following his team's thrilling 119-113 win over the 76ers at Madison Square Garden on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
"Brett Brown, in my view, is the coach of the year already because of how he gets his guys to compete," Fisher said, according to the Courier Times' Tom Moore.
The Sixers gave Fisher's Knicks everything they could handle Monday afternoon, overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit and sending the game to two overtime periods before bowing out. Leading the way for Brown's squad was Ish Smith, who finished with a double-double of 16 points and 16 assists - the most helpers by a Sixers player since Andre Miller dished out 18 on March 26, 2008.
Prior to Smith's arrival, the Sixers compiled a 1-30 record, the worst start in league history. Since trading for him, Philadelphia has proven to be less of a mess, at 4-8.
Brown, who recently signed a two-year extension with the organization, has the support of not only Fisher, but other notable names in the coaching fraternity.
Gregg Popovich, who worked with Brown for 12 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, said earlier in the season that he doesn't believe he'd be able to maintain his composure manning the sidelines for Philadelphia. Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers also showed Brown some love at the end of last year, saying he deserved consideration for Coach of the Year after leading a Sixers team that was in full-on tank mode to 18 victories.