Los Angeles D-Fenders head coach Eric Musselman was today named the winner of the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year award, as voted by his fellow NBA Development League head coaches.
Musselman helmed a Los Angeles team that recorded an NBA D-League record 38 victories during the 2011-12 regular season en route to a Western Conference Championship and the first overall seed in the 2012 NBA D-League Playoffs presented by BBVA.
Musselman’s D-Fenders are undefeated in postseason play, and have a chance to secure the 2012 NBA D-League Championship over the Austin Toros tonight in the second game of the best-of-three NBA D-League Finals presented by BBVA. Tip-off is set for 10:00 p.m. ET.
During his first year with the team, Musselman oversaw the development of six top NBA D-League prospects who earned a total of eight GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA this season, including the 2012 NBA D-League All-Star MVP Gerald Green, now of the New Jersey Nets and Houston Rockets guard Courtney Fortson, who both signed contracts for the remainder of the season with their NBA teams.
Musselman’s D-Fenders led the League in rebounding percentage (.572) and held their opponents to a League-low 44 percent from the field, while its 48 percent from the field was good for second best in the League.
“Eric’s deep knowledge of the game and his unparalleled passion have been evident every step of the way for the D-Fenders this season,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League. “Not only was Eric able to achieve a level of on-court success our League has never seen before, he was able to do it while developing top NBA D-League prospects into current NBA contributors. I offer my hearty congratulations to him on a season well done.”
The award is named in honor of the late Dennis Johnson, NBA Legend and former Austin Toros head coach who was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in August 2010. In his playing career, Johnson won three NBA titles with the Boston Celtics and Seattle SuperSonics, played in five NBA All-Star games and was named to the All-Defensive First Team six times. He served as interim head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers in 2002, and was in his third season coaching in the NBA D-League when he passed away.