With Game 3 of the Milwaukee Bucks first round playoff series underway, TNT announced the winner of the 2019-20 Coach of the Year award. Mike Budenholzer, who won the award last year and once before (2014-15) with the Atlanta Hawks, is this year’s runner-up to Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.
Nurse received 90 of the 100 first place votes. Mike Budenholzer finished second, and Billy Donovan finished third. https://t.co/FbZicmOsRD— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) August 22, 2020
Budenholzer, for the second straight regular season, guided the Bucks to the league’s top record and home court advantage throughout the postseason. That last part, ah, didn’t work out so well (for anybody!), but the Bucks entered the bubble as one of the favorites to make it to the final round.
As I posted on Twitter, there’s no reason to be mad at Nurse getting recognition, even before the season restart in Orlando. The Raptors were the reigning NBA champions, lost Kawhi Leonard (and Danny Green) in free agency, and seemingly didn’t miss a beat. Between the flexibility and responsiveness of Nurse’s coaching, the ability for their defense to execute seemingly any scheme, and the amount of development seen from their younger role players, Nick Nurse established himself as one of the league’s very best coaches.
I’m sure if you asked Coach Bud if he’d rather win COTY or a championship, he’d opt for the latter every time. So while Budenholzer is (reasonably) under a higher degree of scrutiny than ever before, let’s keep in mind that his eyes are on the prize...and let’s hope we get there.