Budenholzer In Front Of Nurse, According To Coach Of The Year Odds

The NBA Coach of the Year race is fundamentally a two-man competition right now but several coaches in the league have done amazing jobs this season. The question is will Mike Budenholzer win for a second straight season or will Nick Nurse be the second Toronto Raptors head coach to win in the last three seasons?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER
NBA HEAD COACH OF THE YEAR ODDS: -110

The Milwaukee Bucks’ head coach is the favorite, but he probably shouldn’t be. Yes, Budenholzer is one of the two clearly elite coaches in the league this season. He shouldn’t be getting third-place or fourth-place votes. He probably should get a ton of second-place votes. Should he be first, though? If he is the favorite, a lot of people seem to expect that he will repeat as NBA Coach of the Year after winning the award in 2019. Yet, does he really deserve to be coach of the year in back-to-back seasons? It is true that Milwaukee has been the best team in the Eastern Conference and has enjoyed a noticeably smooth ride through the season. The Bucks are once again the NBA’s pace-setters, so when viewed through that lens, it is easy to see why Coach Bud might be viewed as the best coach in basketball. Yet, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way, the Bucks have a brilliant superstar operating at the height of his powers. Budenholzer has certainly coached the Bucks to play well in support of Giannis, but it remains that Giannis is the reason this team can reach such a high ceiling. Budenholzer repeating as NBA Coach of the Year is not a safe bet. Giannis being the league’s MVP has to reshape this race if you want important contextual details.

NICK NURSE
NBA HEAD COACH OF THE YEAR ODDS: +110

This is the man who should probably be the NBA Coach of the Year favorite. Nurse was never recognized last year for what he did with the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs because the coach of the year award is a regular season award. The fact that Nurse hasn’t received due recognition should enable a number of COY voters to make sure Nurse gets an appropriate reward for his work this season.

The other thing to point out is that whereas Budenholzer has Giannis in Milwaukee, Nurse did not have Kawhi Leonard in Toronto this season. Yet, he has molded Pascal Siakam into a superstar-level player and helped develop guys like Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell into borderline All-Star caliber players. More than that, Nurse has kept the Raptors together in spite of significant injuries, chiefly a prolonged injury to big man Marc Gasol. Holding the Raptors intact despite several injuries should make Nurse the NBA Coach of the Year. Whether voters will make the right choice remains to be seen, but Nurse should be first and Budenholzer second.

BILLY DONOVAN
NBA HEAD COACH OF THE YEAR ODDS: +900

The work done by Billy D this season has been magnificent. After trading away Paul George and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder entered the year with a regular season win total of 32.5 but have crushed that number. Originally, it looked like their ceiling was either finish as the No. 8 playoff seed or just out of the postseason, probably with a record near .500 at best. Through 64 games, the Thunder are 40-24 and are fifth in the Western Conference, easily enough for a playoff spot. That is tremendous work by Donovan after Russell Westbrook’s and George’s departure.

ERIK SPOELSTRA
NBA HEAD COACH OF THE YEAR ODDS: +1000

This revival act by the Miami Heat has been impressive. Sure, Jimmy Butler has led the way, but Kendrick Nunn and other previously unknown role players are pitching in and playing well in support of Butler. Spoelstra is developing players and getting the whole Heat team to maximize its level of talent. Miami might even contend for the Eastern Conference title if everything goes right. This season has been a big step forward for the Heat.

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