CBSSports.com's Matt Moore takes a look at the race for Coach of the Year and breaks the NBA's coaching ranks into tiers. Atlanta's Mike Budenholzer falls in Moore's "Hot Commodities" tier and, although he doesn't think he can win Coach of the Year, he calls him one of the best hires of the offseason.
Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta Hawks (6.5): The Hawks remain competitive despite the loss of Al Horford. The Hawks remain competitive despite a total overhaul of their system and personnel. The Hawks remain competitive despite the absence of a truly elite player. Mike Budenholzer is doing wonders there. So why is he so low? They won't wind up with a huge win total (in part due to the Horford injury) and he's not going to get the buzz of any of the other candidates. He's certainly one of the best hires of the offseason, though.
It's interesting that Moore uses the word "competitive" three times in his description of Budenholzer. All coaches have buzz words. Larry Drew harped on "energy" for three seasons while with the Hawks. Coach Bud has preached competitiveness and a competitive spirit ever since he arrived from San Antonio over the summer.
As far as the Coach of the Year award goes, Moore is right that Budenholzer is unlikely to win it. His mentor Gregg Popovich has only garnered the award two times and can really say that anyone over that span has been a better coach? Still, Budenholzer continues to draw praise for doing things the right way whether it's in player development or on the court. That is a good thing for Atlanta going forward.