Community Shootaround: Coach Of The Year Favorites

This season, the Coach of the Year race appears to have plenty of intriguing candidates. With the All-Star break upon us, we at Hoops Rumors deemed it a good time to reflect on where things stand currently.

Mike Budenholzer is leading the 46-8 Bucks towards potentially the NBA’s third-ever 70+ win season. Superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo may win his second consecutive MVP award under Budenholzer’s tutelage, while wing Khris Middleton has made his second straight All-Star team.

In their second year under Nick Nurse, the Raptors are miraculously on pace for a better record than they had during a champion run last year, minus 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Pascal Siakam has blossomed into an All-Star starter. Fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry has remained a steadying presence on the court. Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Norman Powell have all taken notable leaps.

Erik Spoelstra has coached the new-look Heat to a 35-19 record in the East, helped center Bam Adebayo become a first-time All-Star, and made the most out of promising rookies Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn, plus second-year sharpshooter Duncan Robinson.

The Celtics lost Kyrie Irving and Al Horford to free agency over the summer, and signed Kemba Walker in Irving’s stead. Team chemistry appears to have improved significantly, and coach Brad Stevens has helped Walker return to the All-Star game and Jayson Tatum make his first appearance in the big show, while leading Boston to a 38-16 record (including a recent eight-game win streak).

Though the Lakers missed out on signing priority head coach options Tyronn Lue and Monty Williams over the summer, their supposed “consolation” option Frank Vogel has impressed in his first season with the team. The Lakers have a 41-12 record, tops in the West thus far, and have been able to incorporate several mercurial veterans into an upbeat, defensive-oriented locker room atmosphere.

There are several contenders elsewhere in the NBA. Billy Donovan has helped take the Thunder to a surprisingly robust 33-22 record. Rick Carlisle has brought the Mavericks back to the thick of the playoff hunt with an identical record to the Thunder’s and helped Luka Doncic become a first-time All-Star starter. 35-year-old coach Taylor Jenkins has brought the young Grizzlies back to relevance after the team offloaded former franchise cornerstones Marc Gasol and Mike Conley in 2019.

Who do you think will walk away with Coach of the Year hardware in 2020? Let us know!

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19 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Coach Of The Year Favorites

  1. Strike Four

    Steve Kerr for turning tanking into an art form and by playing entertaining basketball while definitely-going-to-lose. Also will make sense next year when he wins the award based on how he coached this season, like, get ahead of the curve with it.

  2. richt

    I’m no Raptors fan. I’m a Bucks fan. And part of me agrees with Zach Lowe, who recently said how a coach who could win 70 games (which the Bucks are on pace for) not winning COTY is kind of outrageous.

    But it’s Nick Nurse. That guy is freaking good. I don’t think they’re making a deep playoff run, but he deserves the hardware for how they’ve looked this year. They scare me more than Philly and Boston.

    • C-Daddy

      I don’t think people realize how injured they’ve been this year, yet they keep winning with patchwork lineups. Nick Nurse is awesome.

  3. Tazza

    I don’t really like the Raptors nor do I like Nurse but have to give the man credit.
    He had Kawhi leave him and he brought in Staey Johnson and Rondas Hollis-Jefferson and has got them more wins.

  4. Jdog70

    What all of the mentioned teams have done is impressive. Toronto and Boaton have young players who have stepped up after they lost star players. However, they still had plenty of talent remaining. Miami added Butler. Dallas added Porzingis and Memphis added Morant.

    OKC lost two top players and most of what they received in return were several future first round picks. No one expected them to be competitive or even be anything but a high lottery team. Chris Paul was heading out to pasture. And after him, who else do they have on that roater? Bud and Nurse are exceptional, but Billy Donovan should be Coach of the Year.

    • Tazza

      CP3 SGA Gallo and Adams make a decent starting roster Schröder has been a 6th man of the year candidate for a while now. I thought they would be decent but I didn’t think a playoff lock.
      Toronto I thought would fall away after Leonard left. I though FVV would be to small to start at SG so would be a back up to Lowry, Gasol looked rough be getting pretty old last season didn’t thi k he would have much left in the tank. They are second in the east over Boston and Philly and Miami and the Pacers and the Nets.

  5. mpaoword

    As great a year as Budenholzer is having and how surprising Taylor Jenkins has helped Memphis’ turnaround (along with a strong draft and savvy front office moves) it’s still difficult to look past what Nick Nurse has managed to accomplish at this juncture in the season. Many experts in the media had them either as a middle of the pack club or a borderline playoff team, but in spite of those ridiculous predictions (especially with teams like the Nets and Bulls projected ahead of them) they have the second best record in the East, and the third best record overall.

    Not only that, they are outpacing last year’s eventual championship winning team despite losing a Finals MVP, former defensive player of the year and MVP candidate in Kawhi Leonard as well as an All Defensive team calibre 3 and D gunner in Danny Green. This is a team that is also playing better defensively without them with only a slight drop off in offence.

    Yes, players like Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, and Fred VanVleet have stepped up with career years while veterans like Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol continue to be steadying presences for the club, but the fact remains that they have the third most man games lost to injury and still they succeed, and a major reason for that is Nurse.

    Countless turnarounds this year (the Raptors are among the league leaders in double digit comeback victories) where Nurse’s coaching best exemplifies his value to the team, and his ability to get the most out of players like Patrick McCaw, Terrence Davis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Matt Thomas and the occasional minutes from Oshae Brissett as well as Malcolm Miller is indicative of not only great coaching sense, but his players’ trust in the systems and philosophies of his staff.

    When you players like Jayson Tatum who cited the Raptors as a TEAM are the toughest defenders in the league it backs up Nurse’s case. Throw in their 30 point comeback against Dallas and even Embiid’s scoreless game and this scrappy Raptors squad only continues to defy doubters like the comical Jason McIntyre.

    • Thuggababyy

      Well said. Throw Chris Boucher into that Davis/RHJ/McCaw/Thomas mix as well.

  6. El Don

    Is a toss between Budenholzer & Vogel… the other finalist should be Carlisle, few people thought they would make it to the playoffs, which is surprising as I had them locked for it, & they can upset teams like the Clippers, Rockets or Jazz in the playoffs.

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