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Nick Nurse named finalist for NBA Coach of the Year award

Nurse joins Billy Donovan and Mike Budenholzer as finalists.

Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

The NBA has announced that Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is one of the three finalists for its annual Coach of the Year award.

Joining Nurse as finalists for the 2019-20 Red Auerbach trophy are Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan and Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer.

Nurse has been considered a front-runner for the award for some time, based on the excellent job he’s done leading the post-Kawhi Leonard Raptors to a 46-18 record (pre-Bubble — Bubble statistics and records aren’t taken into consideration for this year’s awards). That record is well above expectations for a team that lost the Finals MVP and its starting shooting guard, and that, combined with Nurse’s constantly shifting defensive schemes and equal-opportunity offense, should be enough to land him the award, at least in our opinion!

Donovan has coached the surprising Thunder to a 40-24 record following a massive overhaul last summer, and Budenholzer? Well, all he’s done is lead the Bucks to the best record in the NBA, along with the number one defense and a top-10 offense, for the second year in a row.

Should Nurse win, he’ll become the third Raptor to win the Coach of the Year award, following Sam Mitchell (2006-2007) and Dwane Casey (2017-2018).

Nurse is the only Raptor to make it as a finalist amongst all of this year’s NBA awards. Other nominees for the major awards are as follows:

  • MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, James Harden
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert, Anthony Davis
  • Sixth Man of the Year: Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, Dennis Schroder
  • Most Improved Player: Luka Doncic, Brandon Ingram, Bam Adebayo
  • Rookie of the Year: Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, Kendrick Nunn

The Coach of the Year Award, along with all of the NBA awards, is voted on by a panel of sports media members and journalists. Winners are expected to be announced throughout the Bubble playoff tournament.