Why aren't the coaches with the NBA's best records coaching the All-Star Game?

BY foxsports • January 28, 2016

Call it NBA math.

No head coach in all the NBA has more wins this season than Golden State’s Luke Walton. No head coach in the Eastern Conference has more wins than David Blatt. And neither is coaching in the upcoming NBA All-Star Game. But the coach with the fewest wins in the NBA this season is.

Good thing home court in the NBA Finals doesn’t hinge on this thing.

The NBA announced the head coaches for Feb. 14’s All-Star Game on Wednesday, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will lead the West squad, while Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue will be in charge of the East team.

"It's a pretty awesome feeling to know that you're going to be in the locker room with some of the best athletes in the world," Popovich told the media following his fourth nod as All-Star Game coach. "That's pretty humbling. It's kind of cool."

Typically, the All-Star coaches are determined by the teams with the best records in each conference two weeks before the game, which will be played in Toronto. But a series of unique circumstances make the selection of Popovich and Lue not exactly no-brainers.

First, the West. NBA All-Star rules prohibit the same coach from coaching in consecutive All-Star Games. Last season, the Warriors’ Steve Kerr coached the West squad, and Golden State once again sits atop the conference. But as FOX Sports’ Jovan Buha explained last week, that rule is coach-specific.

Kerr missed the Warriors’ first 43 games after offseason back surgery and interim coach Luke Walton won 39 games in his absence. That would equal the number of wins that Popovich currently has, and with his team in first place, it would seem Walton would be in line for the All-Star gig.

The league said recently it would review its policy to determine if Walton would still be eligible for the All-Star spot, but deemed Walton an interim coach and thus he got no official credit for the wins; instead, Kerr received the wins in his official coaching record.

When asked by the San Antonio Express-News on Sunday whether Walton should be the All-Star coach, Popovich said, "Woulda, shoulda, woulda. I don't do shoulda, woulda."

In the East, the thinking makes a little more sense. The Cleveland Cavaliers sport the league’s best record, but they just fired their head coach last week … after a humiliating loss to those darn Warriors.

Lue, an assistant coach with the team, was elevated to head coach and now has all of two wins to his credit. But the NBA, despite that deal about the record being coach-specific, is sticking with the “teams with the best records in each conference” rule and going with the guy whose team compiled the best record, despite him being in charge for less than a week.

So while 39 wins isn’t enough in the West, two is enough in the East. No wonder everyone says the West is the dominant conference.

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