Julius “Dr. J” Erving 2021 Coach of the Year Season Breakdown
By BIG3 November 23, 2021
Dr. J is Coach of the Year after a strong end to the season with Tri-State at the top of the standings
The 11 time NBA All Star, three time champion, and four time MVP between the ABA and NBA pushed Tri-State to the top of the standings at the end of the regular season. Even though the season didn’t end in a championship, Erving had Tri-State playing their best ball at the right time of the season.
Tri-State started the season off in the middle of the pack on the standings, which drove Erving to make changes to the way they were playing in order for them to clinch a playoff spot. The second half of the season brought the improvement they needed, knowing they didn’t have one go-to player that scored all their points forced them to rely on strong defense and solid offensive flow. Erving had Jason Richardson playing at a high enough level to earn a spot in the MVP conversation with Joe Johnson.
Finishing the season as the number one seed on top of the standings is a testament to the strong defense Tri-State played down the stretch. In week seven and eight Tri-State only allowed an average of 36.5 points against them (a league best for those two weeks) which put them on top of the standings. In week seven Tri-State beat Killer 3’s 51-37. Week eight was a similar story with a win over Triplets 51-36 to take over the top seed in the standings with a +52 point differential.
Erving made one mid-season roster change and it elevated Tri-State’s level of play. The addition of Justin Dentmon is a change that massively improved the team. Dentmon fit straight into the Tri-State lineup and was a big factor in the team clinching not only the playoffs, but the number one seed. Dentmon was the true point guard that Tri-State needed to close out their season.
Erving was able to mix and match lineups based on what the team needed. One of the most successful lineups down the stretch was Jason Richardson, Justin Dentmon, and Defensive Player of the Year Larry Sanders. This lineup gave Tri-State the ability to both stretch the floor and use the pick and roll with Sanders. Erving was also able to use a big lineup with Sanders and Earl Clark on the floor at the same time with either Dentmon or Richardson.
Erving had Tri-State playing their best ball at the right time of the season. Even though they didn’t come away with a championship, taking the one seed from Triplets was a big accomplishment. Tri-State will look to build upon that strong end to the season in 2022.