Every year, select members of the media vote for the NBA’s Coach of the Year. Last year, it was Mike Budenholzer, who took the Milwaukee Bucks from a 44-win team to the team with the best record in the league. However, there’s another prestigious award that coaches are eligible for at the end of the regular season: The Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year award.
Unlike the league’s Coach of the Year award, the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year award is voted on by other coaches, and presented by the National Basketball Coaches Association at the end of the regular season. This year, it will be awarded to two coaches: Billy Donovan of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Budenholzer, the latter of whom was the lone winner last year. According to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was one vote shy of forcing a three-way tie.
In addition to Budenholzer and Donovan, the following Coaches also received votes: Taylor Jenkins, Nate McMillan, Nick Nurse, Erik Spoelstra, Brad Stevens and Frank Vogel.
Of the eight coaches that received votes, Vogel has a better regular season record than everyone but Budenholzer, who once again has led the Bucks to an NBA-best record and was on pace to break his record from last season before the season was suspended.
It’s unclear where Vogel finished among his peers, but he deserved to be in contention for the award after leading the Lakers to their first playoff berth in seven years in his first season as the team’s head coach. He also deserves some credit for helping the Lakers stay together after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant midway through the season.
Whether or not he walks away with a piece of hardware for his coaching efforts this season, Vogel has exceeded every expectation that fans had for him going into the season. Besides, there’s only one piece of hardware that matters at the end of the day — just ask Nurse, who finished ninth in voting last season. It don’t mean a thing without the ring.