NBA: Top 10 candidates for 2018-19 Coach of the Year award

Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images /
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Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images /

2. Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks

The prospect of Mike Budenholzer taking over a Giannis Antetokounmpo-led offense is one worth salivating over. Throw in stretch-bigs like Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova to help spread the floor for Bud’s 3-point heavy attack and this could be a very different Milwaukee Bucks team in 2018-19.

Budenholzer, the 2014-15 Coach of the Year, is well known for his Spurs pedigree and his teams’ high volume shooting from deep, but he should also be known for implementing competent defenses. While his teams ranked in the top-seven for 3-point attempts in four of his five seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, they also ranked no worse than 14th in defensive rating (except for last year, when the team was clearly tanking).

That’s great news for a Bucks franchise that fielded a top-seven offense but only ranked 17th in D-rating last year. Milwaukee has the personnel to light it up from 3 on one end and use its length to lock down opponents on the other, and with no disrespect to Al Horford or Paul Millsap, Bud never had a talent like Giannis during his time in Atlanta. If the Bucks take a leap forward and become legitimate Eastern contenders, Bud will be one of the strongest candidates for COY.