1. Mike Budenholzer, Bucks
2. Doc Rivers, Clippers
3. Nate McMillan, Pacers
Mike Budenholzer has been the favorite for this award from the start of the season, but with good reason. The Bucks won 16 more games, improved their net rating by +10.1, and became a top-five team on both ends of the floor. Part of that was how poorly the previous coach handled this roster, but give Budenholzer credit for utilizing players well.
1. Mike Budenholzer, Bucks
2. Dave Joerger, Kings
3. Doc Rivers, Clippers
I would be great with any of four coaches winning this award, but a ballot has only three places. Mike Budenholzer transformed the Bucks into an elite force offensively and defensively in his first year, though Jason Kidd certainly positioned Milwaukee’s next coach – whoever it was going to be – to look good. Dave Joerger gave the Kings an identity around speed, oversaw excellent player development and kept together a team overflowing with young players looking to establish themselves. Doc Rivers guided the starless Clippers through transition and into the playoffs. Nate McMillan would get my vote for Coach of the Last Two Years, but fell just short of my ballot each season. The Pacers coach built a strong defense, also kept a team heavy on expiring contracts united and maintained competitiveness after Victor Oladipo went down.
1. Mike Budenholzer, Bucks
2. Nate McMillan, Pacers
3. Terry Stotts, Trail Blazers
Who else could it be but the Milwaukee Bucks coach? With a roster largely constituent of the same pieces as the year before, they’ve made it to the top of the Eastern Conference as the only team in the NBA to reach 60 wins, the best record in the league. The right coach can unlock elite talent, and Budenholzer was exactly what Milwaukee needed. I’m biased in giving my second and third votes to a former and current Portland Trail Blazers coach, but both have done much the same thing this season. McMillan and Stotts have evolved their game, softened their stance in several areas, and adapted to a modern game under difficult circumstances — including injuries to major players —to climb to the middle of the playoff race. Both the Pacers and the Blazers have squeezed more wins out of their roster than talent would suggest possible, and that’s because of their coaching staffs.
Nick Nurse got the Toronto Raptors to their first ever NBA Finals appearance. The Raptors beat Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night. Already a budding Legend in Canada, it appears that Nurse is going to increase his sway in Ontario.
According to multiple reports, Nurse will become the head coach of the Canadian men’s national basketball team. He will also hold executive duties for that organization.
And the kicker? Nurse will also apparently have more involvement and interaction with Drake’s brand OVO.
Everything is coming up roses for Nurse. If he can eat some tape and figure out a way to slow down the Warriors the way he did with Antetokounmpo, he might just be able to give the two-time defending champions a run for their money.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has reportedly suffered a stroke but is resting comfortably in the care of medical professionals.
According to the Detroit News, Gilbert was hospitalized on Sunday morning after evidencing stroke-like symptoms. His current condition is not known, but his company released a statement saying his family was seeking privacy.
Via Detroit News:
“He received immediate medical attention and is currently recovering comfortably,” said a statement issued by the Quicken Loans family of companies following inquiries from The News. “Our collective thoughts and prayers are with Dan for a speedy recovery.”
Details of his diagnosis and prognosis were not released; the family requested privacy.
Gilbert, 57, is the founder of Quicken Loans and the majority owner of the Cavs. He was scheduled to speak on Wednesday at a conference on Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan. It’s unclear if Gilbert will be keeping that appearance date as we don’t yet know the severity of his injuries.
The often-bombastic Cavaliers owner has made waves over the years, most recognizably with his Comic Sans letter. Recently, Gilbert said that he felt the Kyrie Irving trade was a winner for his team, and that Irving was likely to leave the Boston Celtics.
Gilbert has owned the Cavs since 2005.
The Toronto Raptors are headed to the 2019 NBA Finals, and they are going to need every player on their roster if they want a chance at dethroning the Golden State Warriors.
Forward OG Anunoby has been out since early April after needing an emergency appendectomy. He has not played in the playoffs yet this season, but a new report says the Raptors may be hopeful he could return before the end of this final series.
Anunoby Is a useful second-year forward who plays hard on both ends of the floor. Toronto is going to have a hard time matching up with the Warriors defensively, whether Kevin Durant plays or not. Having Anunoby available would help Toronto be more switchable and more adept at taking on some of Golden State’s smaller lineups.
We don’t have a timetable for Anunoby’s potential return yet, but the way the Finals are spaced out (Game 1 is on Thursday, Game 2 is next Sunday) it could help get players healthy and ready.
That could be good news for Kawhi Leonard, who sat out several games this year simply to rest. Leonard has looked a little banged up through these playoffs, as has just about everyone else. The bad news for Toronto is that this time between games could also help the Warriors get Durant ready to play.
Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals is on Thursday at 6 p.m. PST in Canada.
People are already getting tired of Drake being a prominent figure in the storyline of the Toronto Raptors. They will have to just deal with it for now as Toronto is headed to the 2019 NBA Finals after beating the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night.
That said, Drake is actually an ambassador for the Raptors. Some folks seem to forget that.
There was a dust-up during the Eastern Conference Finals about Drake having given Raptors coach Nick Nurse a shoulder rub during Game 4. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer thought that fans shouldn’t be interacting with members of the coaching staff or players, but the Raptors didn’t seem to think it was that big a deal.
After the Raptors won on Saturday, Drake embraced Nurse yet again, playing off of the initial kerfuffle.
Get ready to see more Drake than you’ve ever wanted.