Milwaukee Bucks G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, came up short in awards voting for both Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year for the 2019-20 season.
Just like their parent club, the Wisconsin Herd had been an enjoying a dream year before it came to a premature end due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under first-year head coach Chase Buford, the Bucks G League affiliate finished the 2019-20 year with the best record in the G League at 33-10 and had already clinched their first playoff berth by the time of the season stoppage. All of that, by the way, came after finishing with a G League-worst 12-38 record just the previous season.
The worst-to-first turnaround that catapulted the Herd to their first extended taste of success certainly made for a storybook season and not so much a storybook ending.
Despite the premature ending and the lack of crowning a champion, the G League has still moved forward with handing out awards for standout individuals for deserving players, coaches and G League executives.
As it stands now, though, the Herd have yet to take home any hardware to commemorate their dream campaign.
As the G League has started to give out awards, the Wisconsin Herd have yet to see any recognition for their league-best record.
Buford came in second for G League Coach of the Year for the 2019-20 season as the honor went to Salt Lake City Stars head coach Martin Schiller. Meanwhile, Bucks vice president of basketball operations and Herd general manager Dave Dean finished third in G League Executive of the Year voting, coming behind Memphis Hustle GM Daniel Marcus and Stars GM Bart Taylor, in that order.
It should be noted that the Stars were right on par with the Herd as they held a 14-game win streak at one point in the season and finished with the second-best record at 30-12. And it was the Stars that won the G League Showcase earlier in the year in Las Vegas and even edged past the Herd in the semifinals on their way to the $100,000 championship game against the Grand Rapids Drive.
Still, it’s a disappointing outcome for both Buford and Dean, who have obviously been at the center of the Herd’s rapid turnaround. With that said, there’s a greater disappointment in the Herd not being able to contend for a G League championship as Buford discussed with Jerrell Rushin of the Oshkosh Northwestern earlier this month:
“You win a championship, get eliminated (or) whatever happens, you have that moment in the locker room to kind of hug everybody and share what a great year it is. That lack of closure with the group was really hard to take.”
Buford will certainly look to use his Coach of the Year snub and having the chance to contend for a G League championship being taken away from him and his squad this season for motivation next year as the Bucks organization picked up his second-year option last month.
For now, we’ll just have to see who the G League MVP will be and whether that prestigious honor will go to anyone from the Herd. After all, it may be the last opportunity to cap off what was a banner season for the affiliate.