The Milwaukee Bucks are taking a tremendous risk by giving head coach Mike Budenholzer a three-year extension. The move is risky because the Bucks have not won an NBA championship since 1971, and they have not made the playoffs in four years.
The Milwaukee Bucks are taking a tremendous risk with head coach Mike Budenholzer’s 3-year extension. Even though the team has been successful under his leadership, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the contract. Read more in detail here: milwaukee bucks coaching staff 2021.
The Milwaukee Bucks decided to extend their head coach for another three years after winning the NBA title. Mike Budenholzer and the Spurs reached an agreement on a new contract that will retain him as captain until the 2024-25 season. Bud’s career was in jeopardy only weeks before he guided the club to its first championship in 50 years. A single playoff run may make or break a team, but Milwaukee must understand the enormous risk it is taking by extending Budenholzer’s contract.
The 52-year-old earned a reputation as an outstanding regular-season coach but failed in the playoffs as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. That attitude continued through to his first few seasons in Milwaukee, when he helped the club get over the hump. Budenholzer, on the other hand, has a lengthier track record of playoff failures than triumphs.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Mike Budenholzer have agreed to a three-year contract extension.
After beating the Phoenix Suns in Game Six to win the 2021 NBA Finals, Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer hugs Giannis Antetokounmpo. | Getty Images/Jonathan Daniel
Budenholzer’s performance in guiding the Bucks to the NBA Championship in 2021 earned him the contract extension. Nonetheless, he has a reputation for being a coach who refuses to make changes. Sticking to your beliefs and a plan that you believe in is commendable until it crosses the line into obstinacy. But during last year’s playoffs, Bud, well knowing that his job was on the line, finally made those changes. As a result, a title was created, and now the extension has been added.
While in Atlanta, Budenholzer guided a club bereft of a superstar to the conference finals. There were guys like Al Horford, Paul Millsap, and Joe Johnson on the squad, but no true All-NBA talent. Budenholzer was awarded NBA Coach of the Year after that club won 60 games and reached the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, the Hawks were unable to win a title. That was the start of a pattern that continued when he joined the Bucks.
Budenholzer was widely anticipated to be dismissed only weeks after leading Milwaukee to a title.
The Bucks earned the best record in the NBA in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons under coach Bud. Both years, Milwaukee was eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The team’s head coach was scrutinized for the same reason he had been in Atlanta: a lack of postseason success.
When the Bucks went down 2-0 to the Brooklyn Nets in this year’s playoffs, common sense suggests Budenholzer was on the verge of being fired. At the absolute least, another outstanding regular season followed by a third straight postseason failure would have jeopardized his employment. However, James Harden was injured, and then Kyrie Irving was injured. Milwaukee rallied to force a game 7, but the Bucks would have fallen to Brooklyn if Kevin Durant’s foot had been an inch shorter. Instead, the squad progressed all the way to the NBA finals.
The squad fell down 2-0 once again, this time to the Phoenix Suns. Budenholzer’s controversies have reappeared. But then Giannis Antetokounmpo went nuclear, nearly single-handedly winning a championship for Milwaukee and his head coach. Budenholzer would have been fired rather than extended had things not gone well for the Bucks and the club left the playoffs early once again.
Milwaukee must ensure that bringing Budenholzer back does not make the organization complacent.
No team wins a title by chance. The Bucks have earned their championship. Even though it’s marked with an asterisk, it can’t be taken away. Milwaukee had the healthiest club and had the best player at the conclusion of the 2021 playoffs, which was a war of attrition.
But it’s worth remembering that if things hadn’t gone as planned, someone else would be in charge of the Bucks, and Budenholzer would be looking for work somewhere. The team must not get complacent just because their head coach has guided them to one title. Budenholzer’s postseason losses continue to outweigh his playoff victories.
Bud’s return seemed a foregone conclusion after Milwaukee won the 2021 championship. However, the organization is on a tightrope. Budenholzer deserves credit for the postseason changes he eventually made, but the front office must also recognize that he’s only done it once. If the Bucks’ pursuit of back-to-back championships becomes stagnant, Milwaukee must avoid getting comfortable and hanging on to Budenholzer for too long just because he delivered the team a championship.
Basketball-Reference provided all statistics.
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