Bulls' Billy Donovan Named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month

Billy Donovan named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Billy Donovan earned some deserved praise for his role in the Chicago Bulls' strong start on Thursday, when the NBA announced him as the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for games played in October and November.

Donovan, in his second season with the team, has steered the Bulls to a 14-8 record through 22 games, which ties them for second in the East with the ascendant Washington Wizards and defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.

But it's not just that. Scoring 110 points per 100 possessions (eighth in the NBA), allowing 105.4 points per 100 possessions (sixth), and outscoring opponents by 4.7 points per 100 possessions (fourth), the Bulls are one of just five teams that rank in the top 10 in offensive, defensive and net rating.

Their plus-4.7 net rating and plus-4.5 point differential, in fact, both rank first in the East. And their 8-6 record against teams with .500 and above records puts them on pace to finish with double-digit victories against winning teams for the first time since 2016-17.

Certainly, much of the Bulls' success is owed to their slew of recent additions, including DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. Zach LaVine continues to produce at an All-Star level as well.

But Donovan has also deftly navigated rotations for the often-undersized group amid injuries to Coby White and Patrick Williams, and positive COVID-19 tests by White and Nikola Vučević, while eliciting buy-in on both sides of the ball.

Donovan is the fifth coach in Bulls history to receive a Coach of the Month nod, joining Doug Collins (once), Phil Jackson (four times), Scott Skiles (twice) and Tom Thibodeau (six times).

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams received the honors for the Western Conference in light of his team's 18-3 start and active 17-game winning streak.

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