Milwaukee Bucks: Preparing for the shift to an increased pace

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 21: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 21: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Having been among the most deliberate teams in the NBA last season, can we expect the Milwaukee Bucks to play at a higher pace in 2018-19?

As the start of the 2018-19 NBA season draws ever closer, the discussion, debate, and day dreaming about the changes in style the Milwaukee Bucks may make under new head coach Mike Budenholzer only continue to ramp up.

Milwaukee’s underachievement in recent years made it apparent that change was necessary, and the change of coaching staff certainly represented the first and most significant step in that process.

Now, the questions focus on what exactly will change and what may ultimately stay the same.

More from Bucks News

One area certainly worthy of such scrutiny is the Bucks’ pace of play. As teams around the NBA have generally moved toward a more high octane brand of basketball over the past five years or so, the Bucks have largely dug their heels in and remained committed to a considerably more plodding approach.

Under the previous coaching regime, the Bucks finished last season ranked 20th in the NBA, an underwhelming mark which still managed to represent their peak over the course of their three most recent seasons.

It would certainly be fair to question how the Bucks’ execution would have held up at a higher pace over that span, but considering how the team thrived with urgency in transition over that same period, there’s a strong case to be made for how Milwaukee would benefit from even a slight shift to more uptempo play.

The team’s fundamental values on offense and defense seem set to change under the guidance of the new coaching staff, but will that coincide with an increase in pace?

Looking at Mike Budenholzer’s tenure in Atlanta, it seems safe to say it will, although just how much remains a question mark.

Budenholzer’s Hawks teams placed firmly in the NBA’s top-10 in terms of pace over the past three seasons, although it’s worth noting how that time span coincided with significant personnel change and a shift in organizational strategy.

Still, in Budenholzer’s first two seasons as a head coach, the Hawks were above average in pace. In fact, the 60-win campaign Coach Bud’s best associated with coincided with a 15th placed ranking in pace, which stands as the lowest of his head coaching career to date.

Being realistic, an improvement to that kind of range may be the most plausible kind of increase in pace for a Bucks team set to change so much of who they are and how they play, yet if Budenholzer’s comments from his introductory press conference are anything to go by, the change may yet be even more severe.

"“Offensively, I think it’s going to be a great challenge for me and my staff. Certainly I’ve got a million ideas flying around in my head for the last three or four days about the different things we could do. But I can tell you that playing with more pace, with great pace, playing faster, lots of great people and ball movement, which again are kind of core to what I believe in.When you talk about a system and what we’ve done for the last five years, those kind of things I think we’re going to figure out how it best fits the players in Milwaukee and implement and teach it.”"

That prospect should be a cause of excitement for Milwaukee’s players and fans alike, as at a minimum it will offer a much-needed fresh approach.

Next. Milwaukee Bucks: Maintaining control of transition play. dark

After years of aimlessness, the Bucks need direction and innovation, but a higher pace should also afford them a chance to grab the initiative, and it’s not easy to see the negatives in that.