The NBA announced the news Tuesday:
The Atlanta Hawks' Mike Budenholzer, who guided the team to the best regular season in franchise history, is the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year.
Budenholzer received 67 first-place votes and 513 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. The Golden State Warriors' Steve Kerr, who led the Pacific Division champions to a franchise-record and NBA-high 67 victories in his first season as an NBA coach, finished second with 56 first-place votes and 471 total points. Jason Kidd of the Milwaukee Bucks was third with one first-place vote and 57 total points.
Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Jaryd Wilson of Hawks.com passed along comments from Budenholzer:
Budenholzer spent nearly two decades as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich, last year's winner of this award, before moving to the Hawks. Atlanta went 38-44 and lost in the first round of the playoffs in his first season at the helm.
There was a remarkable jump in Year 2. Atlanta won 60 games, seven more than any other team in the Eastern Conference, and posted a 35-6 mark at home. The massive 22-game improvement is likely what clinched the award for him.
Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution believes voters made the right choice:
Just like the Popovich squads Budenholzer coached, the Hawks are built on team basketball. They ranked second in assists per game and fifth in points allowed during the regular season. Their efficient style of play made up for a lack of star power.
Now the focus is on the playoffs. Atlanta opened the first round with a 99-92 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. The next game for the newly crowned coach of the year and his team is Wednesday night.
While he is focused on making a deep playoff run, this award confirms what many in the league believed: Budenholzer is one of the hottest names in coaching, and his star remains on the rise.