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Sloan misses out on NBA coaching honor — again

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Jazz coach Jerry Sloan finished second in NBA Coach of the Year voting behind Toronto's Sam Mitchell, it was announced Tuesday.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan finished second in NBA Coach of the Year voting behind Toronto’s Sam Mitchell, it was announced Tuesday.

Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News

It's official.

Many had thought after Utah finished the 2006-07 NBA regular season with 51 wins that this might be Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's best shot at finally winning Coach of the Year honors from the league, but according to media-balloting results officially released Tuesday, he did not.

As multiple newspapers in Canada previously reported would happen, Toronto's Sam Mitchell won the Red Auerbach Trophy.

Mitchell, the first coach in Raptors history to win the award, finished with 394 points, including 49 first-place votes and 43 second-place votes from a panel of 128 writers and broadcasters working throughout North America.

"It floors you," Mitchell said Tuesday. "You're thankful. Words just can't express it."

The 13-year ex-NBA player guided the Raptors to their first Atlantic Division title and a franchise record-tying 47 victories. Toronto also had an NBA-leading 20-win jump in the win column compared to the 2005-06 season.

Sloan wound up second with 301 points on a 5-3-1 points system, including 39 first-place and 28 second-place votes after leading the Northwest Division-leading Jazz to 51 victories — 10 more than a season ago.

Last year's winner, Avery Johnson of regular-season league-leader Dallas, finished third with 268 points and received 28 first-place votes.

Sloan's counterpart in the Jazz's ongoing first-round NBA playoff series, Houston's Jeff Van Gundy, placed fourth with 134 points. He garnered 10 first-place votes.

"He (Mitchell) did a tremendous job," Van Gundy said. "Well-deserved, very well-deserved."

No other coach finished with more than 22 points, and Phoenix's Mike D'Antoni was the only other candidate to receive a first-place vote, getting two.

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.

Guard Anthony Parker praised Mitchell for building unity on a team that added nine new faces before the season.

"His focus was trying to get us all in and get the chemistry going early," Parker said. "Throughout the course of the season we seemed to come together pretty nicely. Sam obviously was a huge part of that."

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

Contributing: Associated Press