Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has his team in prime position to make the playoffs and surprise everyone. However, Atkinson — who very well may be the Coach of the Year this season — recently made a point to compliment Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Atkinson and Budenholzer go back to their days in Atlanta, with the former working as an assistant under the latter for the Hawks franchise. Atkinson remained in Atlanta between 2012 and 2016 before getting his shot as a NBA head coach with the Nets.

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While Mike Budenholzer was the one to receive some praise from his former colleague, Kenny Atkinson has not been short of praises as well, especially from his players.

“Man, Kenny’s a scientist, man” D'Angelo Russell said in an interview with Robby Kalland of Uproxx.

“He’s a workaholic and the way the NBA’s changing with old school coaches and younger coaches coming in, I think he’s right in the middle of all of it. He’s been around the older coaches. He’s been around the youth of the coaching staffs and he’s definitely found a balance to how to coach players and not have his mind too set up one way or the other. I appreciate him so much. With the success that we’re having and the position he puts a lot of our players in. He just understands the game and the players.”

The Nets and Bucks are currently squaring off on Monday evening with Milwaukee notably atop the Eastern Conference standings and Brooklyn sitting in seventh place.