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Takeaways from Mike Budenholzer’s Introductory Press Conference

It’s a new era for Milwaukee’s brewmaster

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at New Orleans Pelicans Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks introduced Mike Budenholzer as head coach for the first time today. On a rainy Monday in Milwaukee, the Bucks were in the new arena to have the press conference. While proclaiming any sort of winner or loser for these things is silly, there were some key takeaways from Bud’s first time in front of the media.

  • Middleton and Marshall Plumlee (yes, really) were the two Bucks players present.
  • No members of ownership were present, a peculiar but probably smart PR decision to not only make Horst’s hiring power seem more resolute, but also to avoid questions inevitably emerging about the governorship role and the oft-discussed issues surrounding it.
  • Horst kept it short and sweet with his introduction to Bud.
  • Fit was repeated a lot by Budenholzer, especially in regards to why he ultimately chose this job: “The fit is to me what this is about. When I looked at ownership, and I looked at the GM and the roster that we have here in Milwaukee, all the great things that are happening around the community, the timing and taking the Milwaukee Bucks to the next level. I feel very fortunate to be put in this position.”
  • Bud mentioned the importance of connecting with Giannis and Khris, as the two best players, and getting to know them a lot better.
  • Bud talked about the “daily” approach to player development that’s commonly mentioned in this NY Times article, as well as the importance of giving players confidence. Of course that brings Tony Snell to mind, but one hopes his empowering message bleeds into some of the younger players too.
  • He discussed how Giannis and Khris will do anything to win, mentioning the fact they care more about the team than they do themselves in the context of important pieces necessary to try and win a championship. Shades of both Tim Duncan and Al Horford come to mind when considering this foundational approach Bud brings.
  • Bud wasn’t very forthcoming with specific tactical approaches on how to best leverage Giannis’ skills, but he was very complimentary of his ability to think on the court and improve on his game over these years already.
  • Bud also talked about the fit of his coaching staff in Milwaukee, “and my coaching staff that I’m excited about bringing.” While that isn’t a direct confirmation, it pretty much assures that the report most of his staff shipping out from Atlanta to here is true.
  • Jon and Mike were asked about the collaborative approach to building a roster and how Bud’s past history in Atlanta may be an asset. Horst was appreciative about how Bud’s experience will help and support them, but did have a passing remark that people will still “ultimately make decisions in their areas.” That throwaway line reinforces his main role, an assertion backed up by how Bud talked about how he’s excited to focus solely on coaching while they still value his opinion. Budenholzer said, “I look forward to that whole process of building a team, but I know where my focus is and where Jon’s is and where we can help each other and I’m excited about that.”
  • One of the primary points Bud made was that the team’s defensive potential stood out to him first and foremost. He said that’s always been prioritized for him in his coaching stops and that the individual talents provide plenty of possibility for “unlocking the talent” that they have. He also said some of his core beliefs on the defensive end were simplistic, a phrase that must sound like music to Bucks’ fans ears. Mentioning great pace and playing faster with ball movement, all primary pieces on a typical press conference bingo board, will also win him plenty of fans. Recall that that sort of coachspeak is often bandied about by everyone before each season though too with middling follow through.
  • Horst talked about how experience mattered to them through their self-described “thorough” coaching search. It was a lot of standard GMspeak after that, so he mostly dodged the question for those of you still wringing your hands over not interviewing the likes of Nick Nurse, Chris Finch etc.