The National Basketball Coaches Association have named Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan, and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer as shared winners of the coach of the year award, as voted by their fellow coaches.
They beat out Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse (who was one vote behind the pair), and the Memphis Grizzlies’ Taylor Jenkins to the gong.
The prize, which sits separate to the coach of the year award given out with the traditional MVP, DPOY, MIP and Sixth man of the year awards later this season is voted on by all 30 NBA head coaches – where each coach is able to cast a single vote.
For Budenholzer, it was his second straight nod, as he coached the Bucks to the top of the Eastern conference, and an imposing 54-13 record (at the time of writing).
For Donovan, the narrative was slightly different. When the Thunder traded Paul George away, many predicted the Oklahoma City franchise was destined for a few seasons of reworking and rebuilding. However, Donovan has been superb in leading his new roster to a 41-25 record, and a legitimate chance at making a deep playoff run.
NBCA President Rick Carlisle congratulated the pair for their achievements.
“Congratulations to Mike Budenholzer and Billy Donovan on this prestigious recognition,” Carlisle said.
“Mike led the Bucks to the best record in the league for a second straight season and Billy became just the fourth active head coach to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first five seasons.”