SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Mike Budenholzer was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year for the 2018-19 season, the league announced Monday night, June 24 during the NBA Awards. Budenholzer, who is now a two-time winner of the award, joins Don Nelson as the only coaches in Bucks history to be named NBA Coach of the Year, according to a news release from the Bucks.
“We are thrilled for Coach Bud in winning NBA Coach of the Year,” said Bucks General Manager Jon Horst in the release. “In his first season, Bud instilled a new culture and dynamic style of play that led us to 60 wins and the best record in the league. As a great communicator, he quickly earned the confidence of his players, who played hard for him night in and night out. On behalf of ownership and the entire Bucks organization, we congratulate Coach Bud for this well-deserved honor.”
According to the release, in Budenholzer’s first season in Milwaukee, he led the Bucks to a 16-win improvement from the previous season as they owned the best record in the NBA at 60-22. Milwaukee’s 60 wins were tied for the team’s third-most in franchise history and the most since the 1980-81 season. As the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Bucks won their first playoff series, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, for the first time since 2001.
Under Budenholzer’s guidance, the Bucks not only won a league-high 60 games, but they won 45 of those games (75%) by double digits – the second-highest percentage of wins coming by double digits in a single season in NBA history. Milwaukee’s 45 wins by 10+ points were also tied for the fifth most in league history and its 8.9 points per game differential was tops in the NBA last season, the release said.
The Bucks improved across numerous statistical categories from the 2017-18 season to last season and were league leaders on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Milwaukee led the league in scoring (118.1 ppg), rebounding (49.7 rpg), net rating (8.6), defensive rating (104.9) and opponent field goal percentage (43.3%) last season and ranked second in 3-pointers made (1,105 – a new franchise record) and fourth in offensive rating (113.5), the release said.
Budenholzer earned Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors in both January and February last season and was named head coach of Team Giannis for the 68th All-Star Game after the Bucks had the best record in the Eastern Conference on Feb. 3.
According to the release, this was the third time a Bucks head coach has won NBA Coach of the Year and the first time since Nelson won in 1984-85 (Nelson also won in 1982-83). For Budenholzer, this was the second time he was named NBA Coach of the Year, having won the award with the Atlanta Hawks in 2014-15.
The NBA Coach of the Year was voted on by the media.