New York’s Tom Thibodeau wins 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year Award

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is the recipient of the

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New York’s Tom Thibodeau wins 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year Award


New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year, the NBA announced today Wednesday June 9.


This is the second NBA Coach of the Year Award for Thibodeau, who earned the honor in the 2010-11 season with the Chicago Bulls in his first season as an NBA head coach. Now honored in his first season as the Knicks’ head coach, Thibodeau has become the first person to be named NBA Coach of the Year in his first season as head coach with two different franchises. (Cotton Fitzsimmons won the award in his first season as the Kansas City Kings’ head coach, 1978-79, and again in the first season of his second tenure as the Phoenix Suns’ head coach, 1988-89).


Thibodeau received 43 first-place votes and earned 351 total points to edge Phoenix head coach Monty Williams, who finished in second place with 340 points (45 first-place votes). The 11-point difference between the first- and second-place finishers marks the smallest margin since the current NBA Coach of the Year voting format was introduced in the 2002-03 season.


Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder finished in third place with 161 points (10 first-place votes). Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters.


With Thibodeau as head coach, New York finished tied for the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference (41-31) and made the NBA Playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season. The Knicks won 16 of their final 20 games to complete a turnaround from last season’s overall record of 21-45.


Thibodeau led New York to an 11-4 record in April for its winningest month since March 2014 (11-5). He was selected as the NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for May after guiding the Knicks to a 6-3 record in the final month of the regular season.


The Knicks showed dramatic improvement on defense with Thibodeau at the helm, leading the NBA in points allowed (104.7) and opponents’ field goal percentage (44.0) and ranking fourth in defensive rating (107.8). Last season, New York finished 17th or lower in all three categories.


Under Thibodeau, Julius Randle was named an NBA All-Star for the first time and won the 2020-21 Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award. In addition, Derrick Rose was a finalist for the 2020-21 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award, 2021 NBA Rising Stars selection RJ Barrett ranked as the fourth-leading scorer among second-year NBA players (17.6 ppg), and rookie Immanuel Quickley averaged 11.4 points after being selected by New York with the 25th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.


Thibodeau is the 10th head coach to win the NBA Coach of the Year Award more than once and the eighth to do it with multiple franchises. In addition, he is the third head coach to be selected as NBA Coach of the Year with the Knicks, joining Red Holzman (1969-70) and Pat Riley (1992-93).


New York hired Thibodeau as its head coach on July 30, 2020. He has a career regular-season record of 393-277 (.587) in nine seasons as an NBA head coach, guiding teams to the playoffs seven times. Before joining the Knicks, he served as head coach of the Bulls for five seasons (2010-15) and the Minnesota Timberwolves over three seasons (2016-19).


The NBA Coach of the Year Award trophy is named in honor of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Red Auerbach. The legendary head coach guided the Celtics to nine NBA championships, including eight in a row from 1959-66.


The voting results for the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year Award are below. The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP. Complete ballots for each voter will be posted at after the announcement of all end-of-season awards.


Voting Results: 2020-21 NBA Coach of The Year Award


Coach (Team)


1st Place Votes


2nd Place Votes


3rd Place Votes


Total Points


(5 Points)


(3 Points)


(1 Point)


Tom Thibodeau (New York)










Monty Williams (Phoenix)










Quin Snyder (Utah)










Doc Rivers (Philadelphia)










Nate McMillan (Atlanta)










Steve Nash (Brooklyn)










Michael Malone (Denver)










Below is the list of winners of the NBA Coach of the Year Award.


NBA Coach of The Year Award Winners


1962-63 – Harry Gallatin, St. Louis


1982-83 – Don Nelson, Milwaukee


2002-03 – Gregg Popovich, San Antonio


1963-64 – Alex Hannum, San Francisco


1983-84 – Frank Layden, Utah


2003-04 – Hubie Brown, Memphis


1964-65 – Red Auerbach, Boston


1984-85 – Don Nelson, Milwaukee


2004-05 – Mike D’Antoni, Phoenix


1965-66 – Dolph Schayes, Philadelphia


1985-86 – Mike Fratello, Atlanta


2005-06 – Avery Johnson, Dallas


1966-67 – Johnny Kerr, Chicago


1986-87 – Mike Schuler, Portland


2006-07 – Sam Mitchell, Toronto


1967-68 – Richie Guerin, St. Louis


1987-88 – Doug Moe, Denver


2007-08 – Byron Scott, New Orleans


1968-69 – Gene Shue, Baltimore


1988-89 – Cotton Fitzsimmons, Phoenix


2008-09 – Mike Brown, Cleveland


1969-70 – Red Holzman, New York


1989-90 – Pat Riley, L.A. Lakers


2009-10 – Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City


1970-71 – Dick Motta, Chicago


1990-91 – Don Chaney, Houston


2010-11 – Tom Thibodeau, Chicago


1971-72 – Bill Sharman, L.A. Lakers


1991-92 – Don Nelson, Golden State


2011-12 – Gregg Popovich, San Antonio


1972-73 – Tom Heinsohn, Boston


1992-93 – Pat Riley, New York


2012-13 – George Karl, Denver


1973-74 – Ray Scott, Detroit


1993-94 – Lenny Wilkens, Atlanta


2013-14 – Gregg Popovich, San Antonio


1974-75 – Phil Johnson, Kansas City-Omaha


1994-95 – Del Harris, L.A. Lakers


2014-15 – Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta


1975-76 – Bill Fitch, Cleveland


1995-96 – Phil Jackson, Chicago


2015-16 – Steve Kerr, Golden State


1976-77 – Tom Nissalke, Houston


1996-97 – Pat Riley, Miami


2016-17 – Mike D’Antoni, Houston


1977-78 – Hubie Brown, Atlanta


1997-98 – Larry Bird, Indiana


2017-18 – Dwane Casey, Toronto


1978-79 – Cotton Fitzsimmons, Kansas City


1998-99 – Mike Dunleavy, Portland


2018-19 – Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee


1979-80 – Bill Fitch, Boston


1999-00 – Doc Rivers, Orlando


2019-20 – Nick Nurse, Toronto


1980-81 – Jack McKinney, Indiana


2000-01 – Larry Brown, Philadelphia


2020-21 – Tom Thibodeau, New York


1981-82 – Gene Shue, Washington


2001-02 – Rick Carlisle, Detroit


Distributed by APO Group on behalf of National Basketball Association (NBA).

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