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Roundtable: Mike Budenholzer Hired as Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach

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The Bucks got their reported #1 option

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the Brew Hoop Roundtable, where we ask that everybody use coasters and please don’t feed the pugs from the table, thanks. Today we talk about the Milwaukee Bucks hiring a new head coach and how they got their man in Mike Budenholzer.


What are your thoughts on the hire?

Kyle: I am content with the hiring. Out of all the candidates that had head coaching experience, Bud was the most qualified. He brings a well regarded staff and more modern tactics. His ability to bring the best out of his role players will be beneficial to the whole team. I do have some reservations on what the ceiling can be with him as a head coach and also worried that some fans might have expectations too high. Overall, I think Milwaukee’s choice can easily be viewed as a positive.

Mitchell: It’s good. Anybody who brings credibility and the promises of coaching actual, modern NBA basketball is going to both improve the team’s performance and fans’ mood, and Budenholzer has a decent track record to boot! My hangup, as I covered with Adam during our chat, is all about what Bud isn’t, which is to say that my preference was to take a bigger risk on an unproven assistant who wouldn’t just improve the Bucks, but transform them somehow. Then again, maybe my wish list was unrealistic, because I have significantly warmed up on Bud.

Gabe: I’m definitely game for it. This was probably the safest hire out there. Anything else would’ve brought some question marks. But while this is labeled a safe pick, I think it’s also a great pick. Budenholzer has proven he can bring out the most in his players (Bazemore, Teague, Korver, etc.), which is definitely something Bucks coaching hasn’t been able to do outside of a small outlying examples. That’s going to be something that remains vital as we advance throughout next season. Will Bud be able to replicate that success in player development with players such as Tony Snell and Thon Maker? We all know how crucial role players are in today’s league and it’d do wonders if the Bucks could garner consistent results from their own.

Greg: Like Mitchell, I needed the news to marinate with me before I became convinced that this was the absolute correct hire. For such a franchise altering decision, I never felt too strong (positively or negatively) about any coach, which was probably the worst way to feel about the search. Bud is a win-now hire and that is where the franchise is at - win now. So I give this move two thumbs up.

How do you feel about the process of the coaching search?

Kyle: Beyond thrilled. I feel like I shouldn’t be this happy with a normal coaching search but the last four years has sadly lowered the expectations. It seems ownership let Horst begin the process and not interfere while LED all agreed (or at least Edens’ governors role wasn’t as publicized). Even if Messina, Hammon or Williams was hired, the fact that from start to finish there wasn’t a major fuss shows this group is learning.

Mitchell: I am pleased, in a general sense. I think the franchise decided what they wanted, who fit the bill, moved deliberately to bring in candidates and made a relatively quick decision. I don’t think that the process was as, shall we say, imaginative as it could have been, but I recognize that sometimes a safe, more stable option is preferable than a riskier one, especially with where the Bucks are as a team.

Gabe: Relieved. I’ll admit -- like Bucks Twitter, I was expecting this to go off the rails at some point. I mean, we’d be sort of silly to think otherwise. Honestly, my nightmare scenario was for the Bucks to have interviewed all of these top-tier candidates such as Mike Budenholzer and Ettore Messina, only to wind up with Jeff Hornacek. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. LED were able to come to a swift agreement and determine Budenholzer is their guy.

Greg: I felt relieved it did not turn into a circus and that the search was not as unorthodox as the GM search from last year. The interview process made sense to me. A boss interviews perspective underlings, recommends a name or two to his boss(es), and then those boss(es) interview the recommendations and make a decision. Easy peas-y.

What changes do you expect with Budenholzer?

Kyle: Competent coaching. While I will most likely will gripe about something the Bucks are doing, at least it will be because I’m just a dumb fan. Budenholzer will make moves that will be common sense which is something we didn’t see the last few years.

Mitchell: There will be a lot of changes, but I think that the biggest change is that the Bucks will not just shoot more threes, but actually seek them out! Like, as in trying to find ways to get three-pointers up!

Gabe: I’m excited to (hopefully) not have to worry about losing games due to coaching. We grew so accustomed to that during the Kidd era. It’s going to be something special when coaching actually wins us games, and I’m looking forward to it.

Greg: The biggest change I will feel is finally knowing that I could not do a better job than the current coaching staff, specifically end of game scenarios on defense where worrying about conceding a four point play is the furthest thing from my mind.

Which player benefits the most with this hire?

Kyle: In my opinion, Tony Snell. We have seen Budenholzer take so-so wing players and make them viable 3-and-D players. DeMarre Carroll, Kent Bazemore and Tim Hardaway Jr. got a large payday after some time with Bud and Taurean Prince had more of a green light shooting threes than anyone on the Bucks. I think Bud will get Tony’s confidence back and it’s possible to still maintain shooting >40% from three with more consistency.

Mitchell: If he wants to benefit? Eric Bledsoe, hands down. Bud could, in theory, stamp out all of Bledsoe’s bad habits, and accentuate the things that make him such a difficult guard to contain for other teams. However, if Bledsoe is not interested in making such large-scale changes to his game, then Thon Maker might get the most out of his time with Budenholzer.

Gabe: I agree with everything Mitchell said. If Budenholzer can mitigate Bledsoe’s rogue, wacky decisions and harness his athleticism in a more beneficial manner, I think it’ll help this Bucks team drastically. Dovetailing his mention of Thon, I can’t wait to see how Budenholzer utilizes him. It always seemed as if Maker was never truly 100 percent confident (unless it was the playoffs) under Kidd/Prunty. Given Budenholzer’s track record of player development, it sets the table for a reason to be excited in anticipating what Thon can become.

Greg: I have a tie. Malcolm Brogdon will benefit from Bud allowing his players to read things defensively. Brogdon is a smart individual who will learn a great deal by learning which reads to make and not make. I am excited for the defensive progress Brogdon will make. The other player is Sterling Brown, baby. He’s already got the defensive tenacity and capability to hit three-point shots, he just needs proper coaching. He is a ball of clay that is ready to be molded by capable hands.

Will there be a quote in the introductory press conference that will make you facepalm/cringe?

Kyle: I’m setting the o/u at 1.5 and taking the Over

Mitchell: ...is Wes Edens going to be there, or...?

Gabe: I could see Horst mispronouncing Budenholzer.

Greg: “The media is already crowning those guys up in Boston and Philadelphia as the next champions, but here in Milwaukee, we already know we will win one before them.”