Our staff pick series is nearly over but we still need to discuss the men on the sideline. Coach of the Year is often a more subjective choice, with narrative playing a fairly large role. This often leads to either quite a few viable candidates or one man who clearly stands out above the rest. This season it was the latter. Here are The Game Haus staff picks for the NBA Coach of the Year.
Adam: Nick Nurse
The Coach of the Year Award is interesting because, to me, it’s relative to what each coach does with what they have. Frank Vogel has been great for the Lakers but inherited an energized roster including two of the league’s best players. The Bucks have improved since last season under last year’s winner, Mike Budenholzer, but that was to be expected given another year for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of the team to develop. It’s also worth mentioning no coach has ever won the award in back to back seasons.
The name that sticks out to me is Raptors coach Nick Nurse.
Nurse had the job of coaching the only team in NBA history to win a championship, only to have their Finals MVP leave in that same offseason. After losing Kawhi Leonard, who some consider to be the best player in the world, Nurse has the Raptors as the second seed in the East and is on pace to surpass last season’s record. In what many expected to be a down year for Toronto, Nurse has been great in all aspects and deserves to take home this year’s Coach of the Year Award.
Zach: Nick Nurse
Of the many great coaches in the NBA this season, none have led their team to success quite like Raptors coach Nick Nurse. After losing its superstar player in the offseason, Toronto has remained a top team in the Eastern Conference behind the league’s second-best defense.
The Raptors have a 46-18 record, behind only the Bucks. In Nurse’s second season, he had Toronto on pace to best last year’s record of 58 wins.
Under Nurse’s leadership, role players have stepped up and improved, and Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet have taken leaps into cornerstones of the franchise. Given how Nick Nurse has gotten the most out of his roster, he is the Coach of the Year for the 2019-2020 season.
Spencer: Nick Nurse
After losing Kawhi Leonard in free agency, nobody expected the Toronto Raptors to compete for another NBA championship. But under the tutelage of second-year head coach Nick Nurse the Raptors did exactly that. Before the NBA season was put on hold the Raptors had the second-best record in the eastern conference. They were on pace to break the franchise record for wins set in 2017-2018.
Nick Nurse has excelled at getting the most out of role players. Under his guidance players such as Pascal Siakam, Fred Van Vleet and OG Anunoby have blossomed from bench pieces into key starters. Off the bench players like Chris Boucher, Norman Powell, and Terrance Davis are playing the best basketball of their careers and a lot of that has to do with Nurses’ focus on player development.
The Coach of the Year award should not always go to the team with the best record but rather the coach who does the most with the assets he has. Nick Nurse is a perfect example of a coach using his players to the best of their abilities.
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