Mike Budenholzer has coached Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks to some of the best regular seasons in franchise history. Since he was hired before the 2018-19 season, the Bucks’ 271 wins rank first in the league. Add in the first championship for Milwaukee since 1971, and Budenholzer has had a lot of success with the Bucks.
The other side of the ledger, however, is that the Bucks have lost painfully in four of the five seasons he has been head coach. If Kevin Durant’s foot was two inches shorter, he would never have had a chance to win that title, either. After another devastating loss to the Miami Heat this season, many Bucks fans are calling for Budenholzer’s head, and rumors are swirling around his future with the team.
This piece won’t evaluate whether or not Coach Bud should be fired. Instead, it will look at the step beyond; if he is fired, the team will need to hire a replacement. Here are six candidates the Bucks can consider hiring if they do send Budenholzer packing.
Update 5/4/23: Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Milwaukee Bucks have officially dismissed Coach Mike Budenholzer.
Bucks coach replacement No. 6: Kenny Atkinson
The former head coach of the Brooklyn Nets has been an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors for the past two seasons. Kenny Atkinson has been long respected for how he took a talent-bereft Nets team and built a winning culture, one that elevated the team above its talent level and was successful enough to lure Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in free agency.
Atkinson isn’t the most likely option because his track record has leaned towards player development and younger teams, but he has been in the Warriors’ ecosystem for the past two seasons learning from Steve Kerr, Mike Brown, and Ron Adams. Brown’s instant success with the Sacramento Kings could entice the Bucks to take a look at Atkinson.