The saga of the Mike Budenholzer experience in Milwaukee has been fast and furious. When Coach Bud took the reigns of the team in 2018, he immediately made Giannis Antetokounmpo into an MVP. He also made the Bucks into the highest-scoring offense in the NBA. For a city that had been so deprived of consistent basketball for so long, it was a breath of fresh air.
And then came the 2018-19 Eastern Conference Finals. Despite having the NBA’s best record at 60-22 and establishing a 2-0 series lead over the Toronto, the Bucks lost four straight games and Toronto won the NBA Championship. After the series, Coach Bud was criticized for his inaction in changing up his game plan to counter the changes made by the Raptors.
But Nothing Really Changed
The 2019-2020 season started very much the same way as the previous season. The Bucks stormed to the NBA’s best record and Giannis was named MVP. But, then the world stopped and the juggernaut that was the Milwaukee Bucks was immediately brought to a halt. When play resumed in the bubble, they were not as efficient or as well-tuned as they had been before COVID.
This was especially true in the playoffs. Despite making quick work of the Orlando Magic in five games, the Bucks infamously collapsed against the Miami Heat, losing the conference semi-finals series in five games. Again, Bud was criticized for his poor game plans and player rotations.
The 2020 Offseason
After this second straight season of falling short in the playoffs, the Bucks re-tooled their roster. The additions of Jrue Holiday, Bobby Portis, and Bryn Forbes have transformed both the starting rotation and bench of the Bucks. Most importantly, Milwaukee inked Giannis to the supermax, ensuring that he would be in Milwaukee for at least the next five years.
However, during training camp, Coach Bud stated that he did not believe that this season was “Finals or Bust.” For a fanbase starving for a championship, those were not the words they wanted to hear. Despite Giannis agreeing to his coach’s sentiment, many fans in Milwaukee added it to the list of reasons why Coach Bud should be fired.
Fast Forward To Now
The Milwaukee Bucks finished third in the East, snapping their two-year streak of being the one-seed. Throughout the season, Bud was continually criticized for his rotations, how long he played his stars, and his inability to adjust to his competition late in games. Of significance to many fans was his blatant refusal to play Torrey Craig, a defensive wing who played well with Denver last season. Due to his lack of minutes, Craig was eventually traded to Phoenix.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Coach Budenholzer were able to exact revenge on the Miami Heat in the first round of this year’s playoffs, sweeping them out in four games. After falling behind 2-0 in their series against the Nets, however, the talk of Budenholzer being fired heated up again. This time, it was not just in Milwaukee.
Current NBA Coaches Want The Milwaukee Job
It is believed by many that if Coach Budenholzer does not make the Finals this season, the Milwaukee Bucks will be searching for a new head coach. Many Bucks fans desire Assistant Head Coach Darvin Ham, himself a former Bucks player, to take over. Ham has been an assistant with Coach Bud since his time in Atlanta, where Ham was also a player.
For a very long time, the job of coaching the Milwaukee Bucks was not seen as a glamorous job. However, now with Giannis, Khris Middleton, and Holiday at their core for the next four years, the Bucks look to be one of the best teams in the NBA for the foreseeable future. Now, people WANT to coach the Bucks, including some former and current NBA head coaches:
Mike D’Antoni, of course, is the former head coach of several teams that were known for their high-powered offense and poor defense. Rick Carlisle is the longtime head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. Reports state that both he and the players are growing weary of each other and that he is looking for an exit. Milwaukee is rumored to be his preferred destination.
The fate of Coach Budenholzer in Milwaukee completely depends on how well the Bucks do in the playoffs. If he cannot lead the Bucks to a victory over a Nets team that is without James Harden and Kyrie Irving, he will likely be shown the door. After that, who knows?