Budenholzer, Atkinson ... Who will be the Coach of the Year?

Around 7 coaches are doing a great job with their respective templates this season and any of them could qualify for the award.

There are seven active technicians who have won the Coach of the Year award in the 21st century. Doc Rivers won the first of them in the year 2000 and then he won it Rick Carlisle (2002, Pistons), Gregg Popovich three times (2003, 2012, 2014 with the Spurs), Mike D'Antoni the resurrected two (2005 with the Suns) , 2017 with the Rockets), Scott Brooks (2010, Thunder), Mike Budenholzer (2015, Hawks) and Steve Kerr (2016, the year of 73-9 of the Warriors).

Of these, have only been repeated by Gregg Popovich and Mike D'Antoni, and the second is the only one that has managed to win them with two different teams. Last year we had Tom Thibodeau on this list, who won it in 2011 with the Chicago Bulls (first year as head coach) but his dismissal from the Minnesota Timberwolves makes him be without a team right now.

In this season we found three Coaches that could be clear candidates: Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers and Mike Budenholzer. Unlike in other seasons, it would be complicated to include Steve Kerr, who once again has the Warriors in the top of the standings, although with many doubts for a group as talented as hers.

In addition to them, there are other coaches who aspire to take the award and could get it this season. Next, we went on to analyze the main candidates and we highlighted their merits in a season in which the East has cut the West level and where both conferences are showing highly competitive.

Mike Budenholzer: The Bucks coach is probably the one with more ballots to take the trophy. After his stay in Atlanta, where he already won the trophy in 2015 and where he led the team to the Eastern Conference Final, the coach of the 'Popovich school' has allowed the Milwaukee Bucks to take a giant leap this season, both in the collective and the individual. The Bucks have managed to be the first team with 50 victories of the season, the only one so far. He is also the only one in these moments who seems to have some chance of reaching the 60 victories. That's without talking about the quality leap that has given Antetokounmpo, one of the candidates for MVP, the adaptation that Bledsoe and Middleton have finally had to Greek and the regularity that his team has shown throughout the year. We will see if the 'plan' works for him in a final phase in which he already clashed with the Hawks in his day, but for now he is the top favorite to take the prize for the second time in his career.

Mike Malone: The one of the Nuggets is the other great candidate. Tras remain his team out and playoffs in the extension of the last meeting of the regular season last year against the Wolves, with which the classification was played, Denver has recovered and has made a huge qualitative leap in the current basketball course. The coach has managed to make Jokic his franchise player and get the best of Jamal Murray in attack or Paul Millsap in defense. That has led his team to occupy the first place in the Western Conference for much of the season and to be only 1 game when there is a month to start the playoffs. We will see how they work in a final phase that they have not played since 2012/13, when George Karl was on the team. And we will see if Malone, whose last decision has been to separate Isaiah Thomas from the rotation, can take the prize.

Kenny Atkinson: Another candidate. Brooklyn finally work. Atkinson, in a second part of the spectacular season, has led the team to sixth place in their Conference, and although is difficult to reach Boston (they are five victories away) they can try to find a hypothetical confrontation with the Pacers, which without Oladipo without more vulnerable. The superlative level of D'Angelo Russell and the good work of people like Caris LeVert is going to improve (by far) the record of last season and step on the playoffs (except surprise) for the first time in 4 seasons.

Gregg Popovich: It seems the eternal candidate. The Spurs are on track to get into the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive season and Pop is the biggest responsible . After losing Duncan in 2016, he also ran out of Parker, Ginobili and Leonard last season, but he did not care. Again in the playoffs and they go up. DeRozan is rediscovering, Aldrige supports the team and people like White or Bertans are, simply, inventions of one of the best coaches in history. Little more to add of this man.

Doc Rivers: Another classic of the American League and a veteran who has been almost 20 years in llos banuillo Orlando, Boston and now Clippers, where he went from having a template that was a candidate for the ring to having to do an express reconstruction in which he has been losing effective but not effective. The last Tobias Harris, with whom he seemed to sentence the squad, something that finally has not happened. The exit of the past year of Griffin left to them without playoffs, but this year Rivers has squeezed what it had left, it has resigned to the famous tanking and has put to its equipment in the final phase with much merit. One more team that makes competitive and a chapter more in a curriculum that has a champion ring (2008) and with a title of Best Coach in the year 2000.

Nate Mcmillan: Since he took over from Frank Vogel on the bench ' Pacer ', his team has not stopped improving and has not gone down in the playoffs, although without going through the first round. If last year they put the Cavaliers on the ropes in the first round this year they took a step forward and, going unnoticed, they have remained in the top of the standings throughout the season, something they can see as it ends with Sixers and Celtics squeezing in this last part of the season. Myles Turner's improvement in defense and his good collective work has been marred by the injury of Víctori Oladipo, soul of the attack and the defense of the franchise. His low will be an important slab for the qualifiers, but that does not detract from the season of McMillan and theirs, who have managed to maintain the level despite not having their star in the regular season.

Nick Nurse : The substitute of Dwayne Casey in the Raptors has set a good season in his debut. He has managed to manage the rest of Leonard taking out of him also a great level, he has been able to adapt the team to the East and keep him in the high part during all the season and in addition it is going to finish with a record that, although it can be smaller than the one of the year passed with Casey (it was the best in the history of the franchise, 59-23), will be anyway very meritorious in a year full of changes. Probably his work has gone unnoticed and he is valued more what he gets in the final phase and how he manages to fit Marc Gasol, Jeremy Lin or Joddie Meeks in the group, but has made an exemplary effort, has managed to strengthen the franchise and is one of the candidates to fill the gap left by LeBron James in the East. There is no doubt that Nurse must be taken into account.

Photos from as.com

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