Mike Budenholzer was relieved of his head coaching duties by the Atlanta Hawks earlier this offseason. It was a bit of a surprise, but the Hawks needed to head in a new direction. While moving on from a coaching job is never easy, it did not take long for Budenholzer to find a new home.
According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Milwaukee Bucks have officially hired Budenholzer to be their new head coach.
Milwaukee made the right choice by hiring Budenholzer. There were quite a few other names mentioned as coaches of interest for the Bucks, but Budenholzer is one of the most underrated head coaches in the NBA. If the Bucks want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo around long-term, they need a guy like Budenholzer to come in and help him compete for a championship.
During Budenholzer’s five years as the head coach of the Hawks, he put together a 213-197 record. He had the Hawks to the point of contention in the Eastern Conference just a few short years ago. Unfortunately, players like Al Horford, Jeff Teague, and Paul Millsap ended up going elsewhere and the Hawks were one of the worst teams in the NBA in 2017-18.
Jason Kidd was the head coach of the Bucks heading into the 2017-18 NBA season. He was fired in the middle of the year after Bucks’ management wasn’t happy with the inconsistent start. Budenholzer is inheriting a very talented roster headlined by “The Greek Freak.”
Alongside Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have players like Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and Thon Maker. Milwaukee will need to upgrade their front-court this offseason, but there is plenty of talent for Budenholzer to work with.
Budenholzer also comes to the Bucks with some hardware to prove his track record. He won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award back in 2014-15. In that season, he led the Hawks to a 60-22 record and they were the best team in the Eastern Conference that season before coming up short in the playoffs.
Before becoming a head coach with the Hawks, Budenholzer was an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs for 17 years. He comes from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree, which is a good sign for the Bucks. Most Popovich assistants that go on to become head coaches have success.
Expect to see the Bucks end up looking very good for their decision to hire Budenholzer. He is going to be a major upgrade from what Milwaukee has become used to on the sidelines and will help the Bucks get back into serious contention.