Milwaukee Bucks: 4 reflections on first half of 2020-21 season

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Feb 21, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)
Feb 21, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports) /

Mike Budenholzer is adjusting with the times for the Milwaukee Bucks

Given how the Bucks’ 2019-20 season concluded with such a massive thud and brought up all sorts of questions regarding the Bucks’ long-term future, it was fair to wonder if the man that brought about the Bucks’ renaissance would see it through such disappointment.

Through various reports, the Bucks made it quickly known that Mike Budenholzer’s job in Milwaukee was safe going into this season. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t tough conversations between Budenholzer, the Bucks’ front office and ownership on how to move forward, just as The Athletic’s Eric Nehm divulged on the ‘Weitzman Can’t Jump’ podcast with Yaon Weitzman:

"“There was a lot of conversation when I talked with people around the (Bucks) that this can’t happen again. You can’t do the same things, you can’t lose the same way every single game. You have to be willing to do different things…I think a big part of that was making Bud realize that it can’t happen like this again. Not to say win or you’re out. That wasn’t the edict from ownership, but I think the edict from ownership was if you lose, you can’t do it like that.”"

While he was certainly forced to adjust from being so dependent on his and the Bucks’ system, Budenholzer has taken everything in stride and has embraced working in a different way than he has traditionally been used to.

There’s the increased minutes workload that Budenholzer has deployed for the likes of Antetokounmpo, Holiday and Middleton. Additionally, Budenholzer has been more flexible defensively as the Bucks have incorporated more switching and is catering to the strengths of the team’s new and improved core overall.

The Bucks and the Budenholzer have taken their lumps this season, some in part due to Holiday’s absence, and all made in mind of learning what will and won’t work when the postseason rolls around.

At this point, Budenholzer won’t earn the benefit of the doubt when it comes to proving his worth in the playoffs and learning from his many and very public downfalls both in Atlanta and Milwaukee over his coaching career.

But to this point in this season, Budenholzer has done all of the very things that has been asked of him and has generally put the Bucks in their best position to succeed. Whether that will stay true in the Bucks’ playoff run will not only impact their contending hopes but could define Budenholzer’s time in Milwaukee in general.