Milwaukee Bucks: 3 overlooked things Mike Budenholzer deserves credit for

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 22 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 22 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Mike Budenholzer
CLEVELAND, OHIO – FEBRUARY 06 (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Mike Budenholzer ultimately faced the music and adapted on the fly during the Milwaukee Bucks’ title run

This isn’t under the radar by any means, but it’s bigger than just him waking up one day deciding to adjust.

Budenholzer’s adjustment, after all, was made clear from the get-go and was sustained all season long. The quality of his coaching was top-notch this postseason, as the results clearly show: after being the first team to sweep an Erik Spoelstra-led team, Budenholzer showed off his coaching chops by running away with two games against the Atlanta Hawks without the services of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

But to casual fans, Budenholzer’s adjustments might have ostensibly come on a game-by-game basis in the playoffs, where the doubts over his coaching ability were at their loudest. Away from the cameras, though, the Milwaukee Bucks were in search of their best selves all season long by treating the daily grind as a laboratory to tinker with their brand of basketball. They sacrificed a league-leading defense and a winning five-out offense for more sustainable tactics that would guarantee them playoff versatility and, ultimately, winning basketball.

Another thing that fans have missed is that the Bucks continued to look better and more cohesive game after game even as the journey to 16 postseason wins wore on. The focus was there, and so was the mental toughness, which is precisely what fans might have missed. Sure, Jrue Holiday and Tucker brought excellent leadership to the Bucks locker room, but Budenholzer, too, always knew which buttons to push.

One example of this is the team’s composure in clutch games or contests that were decided by five points in the last five minutes. After going 13-15 in clutch games in the regular season, the Bucks won 7 of their 9 postseason games that went down to the final few possessions despite playing the second-most clutch games in the playoffs. They were never particularly dominant compared to the juggernaut they looked like in years past, but the bottom line is that they continued finding ways to win night in and night out regardless of what the opposition threw at them.

This is all simply to say that Mike Budenholzer was absolutely worth his contract extension. You don’t come back from two 0-2 deficits en route to a championship if your basketball club is only performing despite you and not because of you. While these things do not materialize in a vacuum, Budenholzer’s influence on this Bucks team is just as tangible as that of its more vocal players in the locker room despite not being given the same praise.

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Ultimately, fans and front offices alike should look to secure a more positive presence leading your team to another crack at the Larry O’Brien trophy. At the end of the day, it’s really that simple, isn’t it?