Which NBA Coaches Have the Best Odds to Win the Coach of the Year Award
Being an NBA coach can be quite the slippery slope. When all goes well, the players get the credit. Conversely, it is the coach who often gets the blame when things go awry. Nonetheless, every team needs the right voice in place to help maximize the talent on the roster.
Over the past five seasons, the list of coaches who have won this award includes Dwayne Casey (2017-18); Mike D’Antoni (2016-17) and Steve Kerr (2015-16). There is one another NBA coach who has won the award twice during that span. The coach in question is Mike Budenholzer. He led the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the league last season and he also guided the Atlanta Hawks to a 60-win season in 2014-15.
Before the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, the coaches with the best odds to win the award were Doc Rivers (+300), Quinn Snyder (+600) and Brad Stevens (+700). Let’s see if the list has changed based on what we have seen thus far.
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The No. 3 Spot with the Best NBA Coach of the Year Odds: Frank Vogel (+550)
The Lakers fired Luke Walton following a 2018-19 season that saw them miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season. Frank Vogel was hired as his replacement, which seemed odd at the time considering the Lakers had more wins under Walton over the past two seasons (72), than Frank Vogel did with the Orlando Magic (67). Despite that fact, the Lakers have gotten off to a superb start
Not only do they have the second- best record in the NBA at 17-3 (the Bucks have the best record at 18-3), they are also third in points allowed per game (103.2) while having the second-best defensive rating in the NBA. If the Lakers can sustain their current level of success, notching a playoff berth will be a mere formality, which in turn, should catapult Vogel into the favorite.
The Second Best NBA Coach of the Year Odds: Nick Nurse (+550)
The Toronto Raptors won their first-ever NBA title in 2018-19. While it was an impressive championship run, two things contributed to their success last season: the Golden State Warriors were without the services of Kevin Durant (Achilles) and Klay Thompson (who tore his ACL in the series finale), plus, the second factor that enabled the Raptors to go on that improbable postseason run was that bad man Kawhi Leonard. He averaged a career-best 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per contest.
With Leonard opting to join the LA Clippers during the offseason, the consensus was the Raptors weren’t going to have the same level of success with their best player heading out west. Surprisingly, that has not been the case. The Raptors have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 15-4, trailing only the Bucks at 18-3. After finishing as a top-five team in both offense and defense last season, the Raptors are currently in eighth and sixth in these categories. If Nick Nurse can guide this squad to another 50-win campaign despite losing a marquee player for the second straight season, he certainly deserves to be in the running for the Coach of the Year honors.
The Current Favorite with the Best NBA Coach of the Year Odds: Brad Stevens (+450)
The Boston Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in 2018. That was an impressive run, especially after noting both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were nursing injuries. With both players in the mix last season, the Celtics were expected to at least make it back to the conference finals again. But it wasn’t mean to be; as they were defeated 4-1 in the conference semifinals by the Milwaukee Bucks.
When the Celtics lost Irving and Al Horford during the offseason, it would have reasonable to presume that the Celtics would take a step back. But while the Celtics failed to live up to expectations last season, they are surpassing expectations this season. The Celtics are 14–5 and although they are a middle-of-the road team, as they ranked 15th in scoring. Defensively, they are ranked fifth in points allowed (103.7 points per game) and they have the fifth-best defensive rating. Stevens has done a solid job with this bunch thus far, and if he can help guide the Celtics to a top-four seed in the conference, his chances of winning the award are as good as any other coach on the list.