Billy Donovan picked up a rather surprising piece of hardware on Monday morning — being named co-winner of the NBA Coaches Association Coach of the Year award alongside Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks. Toronto’s Nick Nurse was one vote shy of forcing a three-way tie for the accolade in a vote decided by NBA coaches throughout the league.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer and Oklahoma City Thunder’s Billy Donovan were voted the National Basketball Coaches Association co-coaches of the year, sources told ESPN.
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse was third in the race — and just one vote away from creating a three-way tie, sources said.
The award, named in honor of longtime NBCA executive director Michael Goldberg, is voted on by the league’s 30 head coaches, with each coach voting for a single winner.
While Donovan is certainly worthy of being recognized after leading the Thunder to a shockingly competitive 2019-20 season — it’s important to point out this just a Coach of the Year award…. not the Coach of the Year Award. The NBA’s official award (the Red Auerbach Trophy) is decided by the media and will be awarded at the same time as MVP, Sixth Man of the Year, etc.
Nick Nurse is likely to get his revenge when it comes time to hand out the Red Auerbach trophy. Regardless, it’s a sweet, deserving day for the Thunder’s head man, as he has clearly earned the respect of his peers en route to leading the Thunder further than anyone expected back in October.