What do you do when you do an incredible job? You win an award. But after that, what do you do when you continue doing an incredible job? You win another award.
This might sound familiar. Last year, in his first with the Milwaukee Bucks, Mike Budenholzer won the Coach of the Year award from the National Basketball Coaches Association. No, this is not the same as the NBA’s Coach of the Year award, just like last year (which Coach Bud did win). A refresher:
Unlike the “official” NBA award, the NBCA award is a simple poll of the league’s 30 active head coaches, where coaches cannot vote for themselves, and is named after Michael H. Goldberg rather than Red Auerbach. The league COTY will likely be announced during the NBA’s award show after the playoffs, and Budenholzer remains a top contender for that award.
Coach Bud has not gotten as much attention from pundit’s rankings of NBA coaches this season (Nick Nurse, Brad Stevens, Frank Vogel, Mike D’Antoni, and others have also gotten – and deserved – that attention), but that’s the beauty of BudBall: the Bucks are almost boring because they beat down their opponents the same way so consistently. Consistency is something that was in short supply in Milwaukee for a long time, but that’s no longer the case. From the press release:
In his second season in Milwaukee, Budenholzer once again has the Bucks at the top of the NBA standings with a 54-13 (.806) record. Under Budenholzer this season, the Bucks own the top net rating and defensive rating in the league for the second consecutive season. Averaging 118.6 points per game in 2019-20, Milwaukee is also the second-highest scoring team in the NBA, after leading the league in that same category last season and is outscoring its opponents by an NBA-best 11.0 points per game.
Since the award’s introduction, this is the first time the honor has been shared. Billy Donovan steadied the Oklahoma City Thunder after they were rocked by the offseason departures of Paul George and Russell Westbrook and, alongside veteran Chris Paul, has managed to keep them in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
Congrats to both coaches, and just like last year: let’s hope this is a prelude to more recognition for members of the Milwaukee Bucks as the season progresses!