Kerr finished with 471 total award points — five points for a first-place vote, three for second-place, one for third-place — behind Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer who received 513 total award points after 67 first-place votes (coincidentally the same number of wins Kerr amassed during the regular season).
Kerr was his usual jovial and humble self Tuesday when he commented on Budenholzer’s award:
“He deserves it. He had an incredible season and I stole a bunch of his plays anyway, I don’t think he stole any of mine. I’m thrilled for him. I played for Mike in San Antonio and learned so much from him. It’s just a great honor for him and well-deserved.”
The voting was close, as expected, between two with extended histories under Gregg Popovich’s umbrella. Budenholzer spent 17 years as an assistant coach in San Antonio, where Kerr played and won championships.
Budenholzer, through injuries, internal controversy and limited outside expectations, led the Atlanta Hawks to a franchise record 60-22 season. He gave an emotional speech Tuesday that included a special thanks to his mentor, Popovich.
Kerr said he didn’t feel snubbed at all and was more than happy for Budenholzer and the success he’s had in Atlanta:
“I’m actually really glad Mike won and I mean that. For him personally because he’s a great friend of mine and I think he’s done an incredible job. He’s been doing this for 20 years and I just got into this gig. It would have felt really weird to win that award … Our team has gotten so much recognition and I’ve gotten way too much credit. I didn’t need anymore, trust me.”
The Warriors finished the regular season with a franchise-best 67-15 record, with Kerr becoming the winningest first-year coach in NBA history on just the 10th team to reach the 67-win mark.
Golden State currently leads the Pelicans 2-0 in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs and are the favorites to emerge as Western Conference Champions.