Michael Conroy/Associated Press
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday that Budenholzer has been voted the National Basketball Coach’s Association’s 2019 Coach of the Year, which all 30 coaches vote on.
It marks the second time in Budenholzer’s career that he’s won a Coach of the Year award. He took the NBA‘s honor in 2014-15 after he led the Atlanta Hawks to a 60-22 record and the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Now, he is being honored for helping the Bucks take a major step forward.
Before his arrival, Milwaukee was coming off a 44-win season and had not topped the 50-win plateau since 2000-01. It was immediately evident the Bucks would be a force, as they started 7-0.
The team controlled the East throughout the regular season and finished two games ahead of the Toronto Raptors (58-24) for the No. 1 seed.
Stephen Watson @WISN_Watson
Successful teams always talk about having a good ‘culture’. I asked @Giannis_An34 about the @Bucks culture and why he feels like it’s led to their historic season. He praises Mike Budenholzer:
“He made the players have fun and play harder for him.” https://t.co/m7OcPmIkhd
The 60-win effort marked Milwaukee’s best regular season since 1980-81.
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
The Bucks won their 60th game against the Hawks, whom Mike Budenholzer coached from 2013-18. He is now the 7th coach in NBA history to win 60 games with multiple franchises, joining:
Pat Riley (3x)
K.C. Jones https://t.co/IAg8nURDRm
Under Budenholzer, Giannis Antetokounmpo put himself in the MVP conversation with a career year. He averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.
The Greek Freak was not the only reason for the team’s success, though. The Bucks were the highest-scoring team in the NBA at 118.1 points per game, and Budenholzer’s system helped Milwaukee finish second in the league in three-pointers made, averaging 13.5 per game.
Budenholzer is now tasked with trying to get Milwaukee out of the first round for the first time since 2001.