Former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer takes over a Milwaukee squad coming off a first-round stint in the NBA playoffs
CHICAGO, United States – Mike Budenholzer, who spent the past 5 seasons as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, got named as the new coach of the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, May 17, and quickly got the approval of team star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Budenholzer oversees a Bucks squad powered by Antetokounmpo, the Greek standout who led Milwaukee last season with 25.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.4 steals a game.
The Bucks went 44-38 this season but lost to Boston in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Milwaukee hasn't won a playoff series since 2001, losing 9 in a row.
Antetokounmpo described Budenholzer, the Coach of the Year in the 2015-2016 season, as "a great coach"
"We had a great conversation and talked about the game plan. How he views me as a player, how he can help this team," Antetokounmpo told ESPN's NBA Draft Combine show. "I had a lot of tough questions for him. But it was fun, I'm excited to play for him."
Budenholzer guided the Hawks to a 213-197 record since the start of the 2013-14 campaign and 4 playoff berths.
The 48-year-old American coached the Hawks to a team-record 60 wins in the 2014-15 season and a berth in the Eastern Conference final, winning NBA Coach of the Year honors.
But Atlanta fell to 24-58 this season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007, prompting Budenholzer and the club agreeing to part ways 3 weeks ago.
"I'm extremely grateful," Budenholzer said. "We have a tremendous opportunity to take the Bucks to the next level. I look forward to working with our group of young and exciting players and helping us evolve in many ways to succeed on the court."
Budenholzer was an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs from 1996 to 2013, helping the club win 4 NBA titles in that span. He played for a season for Velje in the Danish league in 1993-94 and later guided two of the club's youth teams.