Mike Budenholzer has the best record in the East, Frank Vogel has the best record in the West. Erik Spoelstra has the Miami Heat surprising many, as does Billy Donovan with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Taylor Jenkins with the Memphis Grizzlies. Doc Rivers has had to maneuver without Paul George for at least half the season and load management and still has the Clippers sitting pretty behind the Lakers in second place in the West.
So why, then, is Nick Nurse the best candidate to win the NBA’s Coach of the Year award?
Simply put, the defending champion Toronto Raptors were given no chance of defending their title by NBA analysts all over. Even those most optimistic about the team’s chances saw them as the team that existed when Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were the two main protagonists, the one that had too much institutional knowledge to finish with anything less than home court advantage but would ultimately bow out in the post-season in the absence of a true superstar.
Yet, at 46-18, Toronto looked in control of the second seed in the East with a three-game advantage over the Boston Celtics before the coronavirus-enforced stoppage. Nurse, along with the rest of his coaching staff, have navigated the Raptors past one obstacle after another to make it seem as though nothing was ever lost. In fact, the championship experience last year was only going to serve as fuel for what they could further gain this year.
Here are five reasons why Nurse has the resume of 2019-20 NBA Coach of the Year.