With the NBA Playoffs looming later this month, and because of the perceived attainability of this 12 months’s championship, there’s a rising record of individuals on the market who could possibly be held accountable for arising brief.
That’s to not say that Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer is definitively on that record, but as The Athletic reported today, lots is using on this pending playoff run, for which he will be held accountable.
“There’s vital strain on Budenholzer coming into this postseason,” the report from Shams Charania and Sam Amick notes. “And whereas the workforce dynamics are very wholesome in the intervening time, with gamers pleased with the teaching factor and an inside confidence that they’re the most effective workforce within the East, sources say Budenholzer is probably going gone except there’s a deep playoff run.”
If nothing occurs to Budenholzer following this season, together with not getting an extension, he’d enter the 2021-22 as a lame-duck head coach as a result of making over $7 million subsequent season, the final of his four-year deal. The Bucks completed with the most effective file within the Jap Convention via Budenholzer’s first two seasons, at 60-22 in 2018-19, then 56-17 final 12 months. However within the playoffs, the Bucks solely turned that into one Jap Convention Finals look two seasons in the past, shedding to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors in six video games. Final season, they have been memorably punked by subsequent Jap Convention champion Jimmy Butler and the Miami Warmth in 5 video games through the Convention Semifinals. Not solely did they lose to the fifth-seeded Warmth in 5 video games, however the Bucks trailed 3-0 to start the collection, and their solely victory got here in additional time of Sport 4, 118-115.
Budenholzer was criticized for his lack of playoff changes, which Charania and Amick additionally famous:
“Sources say there was quite a lot of frustration geared toward Budenholzer that hasn’t been forgotten. The perceived lack of changes was a focus, with Budenholzer himself admitting that teaching errors had been made alongside the best way.”
It’s one thing that’s adopted Budenholzer since his time with the Atlanta Hawks. You might not bear in mind, however Budenholzer was the Hawks head coach from 2013 to 2018. His run included 4 consecutive journeys to the playoffs — a streak ended throughout his ultimate marketing campaign — and their most notable effort was the 60-win 2014-15 Hawks, who have been swept by the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers through the Jap Convention Finals. The Hawks have been the lovely regular-season story that produced 4 All-Stars (Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, and Kyle Korver), performed wonderful workforce basketball, and but not one particular person exterior of Atlanta severely thought they’d go to The Finals.
Whether or not it’s straight his fault or not, Budenholzer has a profession sample of main underachieving playoff groups. Right now, he has a two-time MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will make $228 million over a five-year period starting subsequent season, together with All-Star caliber teammates in Khris Middleton and Jrue Vacation (however not Eric Bledsoe). As Giannis has demonstrated of their final two video games, each wins over the Brooklyn Nets, the controversial NBA Championship favorites can’t cease Milwaukee’s greatest participant. And, though James Harden remains to be out with a hamstring harm, he ain’t precisely the Giannis stopper both.
Budenholzer is out of excuses, and the Bucks received’t want any to half methods following an underwhelming playoff run this time round. Presently, they’re within the third slot within the East with seven video games to go. They’re 4 video games forward of the New York Knicks and 1.5 behind the Nets. If they continue to be at three, they’re at the moment in line to face the identical Warmth workforce; and although they’re not as magical as final 12 months, they’re nonetheless extraordinarily harmful.
Of their first match-up this season, the Bucks killed the Warmth 144-97 on December 29. The very subsequent sport, the Warmth made changes and received, with out Butler, 119-108. They’ll even face one another on Might 15, the second to final sport of the season for every workforce. If it isn’t Miami in spherical one, the Hawks and Boston Celtics are close by, which might be higher for Milwaukee, and for Budenholzer, contemplating how heat his seat is.