Toronto Raptors

ESPN panel votes Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse as likely favourite to win Coach of the Year

The Toronto Raptors are heavily represented in the latest ESPN NBA awards prediction poll.

The network polled a panel of experts for their picks of all the season-end awards. Each voter picked their top three for each award in the categories of who should win and who will win.

MORE: The NBA's Coach of the Year award is Toronto Raptors' Nick Nurse's to lose

The panel of ESPN experts not only believe Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse should win, but he will win Coach of the Year in 2020.

Who should win Coach of the Year ESPN experts poll:

Who will win Coach of the Year ESPN experts poll:

  • Nick Nurse: 53%
  • Billy Donovan: 18%
  • Mike Budenholzer: 18%
  • Frank Vogel: 6%

Despite losing Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to free agency, Nurse has been able to keep the Raptors atop the Eastern Conference with a 46-18 record, good for the number two seed behind Milwaukee.

Nurse has had to deal with more than just losing Leonard, the Raptors have lost the fifth most man-games to injury this season. Only rookie Terrence Davis has appeared in all 64 Raptors' games this season.

While Davis isn't expected to win Rookie of the Year, he did receive some votes under the who should win the award category. Despite being smubbed from the Rising Star Challenge at All-Star weekend, the ESPN panel showed Davis some respect for the season he's having as an undrafted rookie.

Who should win Rookie of the Year ESPN experts poll:

  • Ja Morant | Memphis Grizzlies (97% first-place votes): 166 points
  • Zion Williamson | New Orleans Pelicans: 83 points
  • Kendrick Nunn | Miami Heat: 28 points
  • 🇨🇦 Brandon Clarke | Memphis Grizzlies: 16 points
  • Terence Davis | Toronto Raptors (3%): 5 points

Pascal Siakam didn't show up for consideration in the MVP category, but he did receive some votes under the who should win the league's Most Improved Player section.

Who should win Most Improved Player ESPN experts poll:

  • Bam Adebayo | Miami Heat (53% first-place votes): 106 points
  • Brandon Ingram | New Orleans Pelicans (6%): 52 points
  • Luka Doncic | Dallas Mavericks (12%): 30 points
  • Devonte' Graham | Charlotte Hornets (12%): 29 points
  • Pascal Siakam | Toronto Raptors (9%): 25 points

Siakam, who won the award a season ago, has had an even better season in 2019-20, averaging career-highs in points, assists, rebounds and steals. The 26-year-old was an All-Star for the first time this season.

The NBA is expected to move closer to a return to play on Thursday, with growing support for a 22-team field that would include a finish to the regular season and play-in games for a playoff spot in both conferences according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.

The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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