Milwaukee Bucks: Ranking top 5 moves of Jon Horst’s tenure

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 24: (Photo by Will Navarro/NBAE via Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 24: (Photo by Will Navarro/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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SANTA MONICA, CA – JUNE 24: (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA – JUNE 24: (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images) /

1. The hiring of Mike Budenholzer

Was there any other way this list was going to end in running through Horst’s best moves as Bucks GM?

When Horst ousted Jason Kidd midway through the 2017-18 season, it signaled an intent from the Bucks’ perspective that they were ready to find the architect that was needed to help them level up and become a team that was done with just making first round exits in the playoffs year after year.

What was even more important would be to find a coach that was capable of unlocking the team’s long-gestating potential and capitalize on the window that opened with Antetokounmpo’s meteoric rise. It was Antetokounmpo and other prominent pieces such as Khris Middleton and Bledsoe that made the Bucks, by all accounts, the most attractive head coach opening at the time.

As it turns out, the Bucks found the very coach that could bring about the long-term success Horst and the Bucks had sought to achieve in Mike Budenhozler.

To say Horst’s partnership with Budenholzer has been anything but a resounding success would be an understatement as the Bucks are 113-34 under Budenholzer’s watch and he unsurprisingly has the highest winning percentage of any Bucks coach in franchise history at 76.9 percent.

In Budenholzer, Horst found the perfect coach to improve the foundation that was already in place in Milwaukee as he explained during the Bucks’ Town Hall Q&A session broadcasted on Fox Sports Wisconsin last fall:

"“And then he talked about unlocking the talent. He appreciated the roster we had in place, the pieces we had in place. It really felt he could do more with the group we had and of course, we had to add more to it. And then, talking about being a great partner and the experience he’s had in San Antonio, seeing how Pop and R.C (Buford) work together and collaborate on roster decisions, on coaching things and really valuing partnership at every level of the organization. So those two things really stood out and we’re very grateful to have him, obviously.”"

Along with Antetokounmpo being named Most Valuable Player last year, Budenholzer won his second NBA Coach of the Year award, just as Horst won Executive of the Year. And it’s fitting that both Budenholzer and Horst got their due recognition in their respective categories together.

dark. Next. 3 All-Stars Donte DiVincenzo should look to emulate

In many ways, it’s that connection between Horst and Budenholzer that will define this era of Bucks basketball and ultimately have the biggest effect on Antetokounmpo’s looming decision to stay with the franchise long-term. And to this point, they’ve both made good on their parts, short of winning an NBA title, which could easily come in time.