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  • OTG Staff

Roundtable: 2018-2019 NBA Coach of the Year

All year we’ve watched the best of the best play this wonderful game of basketball. Now we’re in the final stretch of this season and the playoffs are almost here! The playoffs being just around the corner also signals it being time to start thinking about the award races. The Coach of the Year Award once again is full of many candidates, making this one of the tougher races. Members of the OTG Staff give their picks:

Alder Almo - @alderalmo

Coach of the Year: Mike Malone

Via. SI

I have three to four coaches in mind who have done a hell of a job this season, but it’s Mike Malone who impressed me the most. He was able to transform the Denver Nuggets into one of the elite teams in the tough Western Conference. Narrowly missing the playoffs last season, the Nuggets are expected to make the playoff jump after keeping their core intact. But if you told me before the season started that the Nuggets will challenge for the top spot in the West, I’d call you crazy. Credit goes to Malone for squeezing every ounce he can get from his young core and making them believe in his system.

Dennis Dow - @dennisdownba

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer

Via FOX Sports

While there are cases to be made for many other coaches this season, I have to give the nod to Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer. Budenholzer took a team that won 44 games last year and finished with the 7th best record in the East and transformed them into a juggernaut that will likely finish with the best record in the league. He has taken the roster that he inherited and made the most of it by relying heavily on Giannis Antetokounmpo and surrounding him with shooters. He has also made Milwaukee a great defensive team. Taking a team that had relative success and pushing them to the upper echelon is much more impressive than anything that any other coach in the league has done this year.

Jeremy Freed - @JeremyFreed3

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer

Via. Peachtree Hoops

The easy choice for coach of the year is Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks. He took over a Bucks team that is largely unchanged -- the top four scores are the same from last year to this -- and improved it by the better part of twenty wins. By bringing spacing and three-point shooting to Milwaukee, Coach Budz unlocked the promise of Giannis Antetokounmpo and has his team on pace for the best record in the entire league. Other coaches have had good seasons -- the work Doc Rivers has done with the Clippers really stands out -- but when you look at the Bucks, the one really substantive change they made this year was to bring in a new coach, and he has taken a middling team to the top of the league. If that’s not the defining feature of the Coach of the Year, I don’t know what is.

Jorge Cantu - @CantuNBA

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer

Via USA Today

While there are several candidates deserving of this award, I think Mike Budenholzer is the clear front-runner. He completely transformed the Bucks into one of the most dominant teams on both ends of the floor and all it took was a single offseason! His secret? Maximizing Giannis Antetokounmpo's potential by adjusting the team's style of play and surrounding the Greek Freak with the appropriate teammates. That has also led to other Bucks getting easier looks and shots within the flow of the offense. The end result was the Bucks getting a second All-Star in Khris Middleton, reviving Eric Bledsoe's career, putting Malcolm Brogdon in a position to prove his ROTY award two seasons ago was no fluke, and essentially turning Brook Lopez into a 7-foot copy of Stephen Curry. As if that wasn't enough, Budenholzer also has one of the most productive bench units in the league. That is more due to Budenholzer's master game-planning and scheming than to the actual individual talent Milwaukee's reserves have.

Kyle Russell - @kbrheatnation

Coach of the year: Mike Budenholzer

Via. The Ringer

My pick is Mike Budenzholzer. The Bucks were a team struggling to make the playoffs over the last few years with an underperforming roster. Since arriving just last summer, he’s modernized the offensive scheme to shoot a lot of threes. By putting shooters around Giannis Antetokounmpo, he’s unleashed the Greek Freak who’s had an MVP campaign. The crown jewel has to be the wins though. Milwaukee has been near or at the top of the standings all season. Sure, he was given a roster with a lot of potential, but he did his job and maximized it in one season. Coach of the Year.

Nik Cuvalo - @NiikCuvs

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer

Via. SI

It’s got to be Mike Budenholzer for this one. His appointment as the Bucks’ head coach has vaulted the franchise into championship contention, something that usually cannot be done without a superstar-infusion via trade or signing; his strategic remodeling of Milwaukee’s play on both ends of the floor has had the same effect, which is frankly mind-boggling. His presence on the bench all but guarantees a deep Milwaukee run into the playoffs; I can vividly imagine a scenario where Milwaukee sweeps their first-round opponent, rests up, and successfully executes a devastating, sneakily hidden post-season playbook crafted by a first-rate head coach with some postseason demons to excise. With the roster he’s got in Milwaukee, factoring in from the strength of his work so far, Budenholzer is a good bet to both win Coach of the Year and continue dominating in the playoffs.

#nba #nbaaward #DenverNuggets #MilwaukeeBucks #mikemalone #mikebudenholzer

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