3 things the Milwaukee Bucks need to prioritize during 2023 off-season

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 19 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 19 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Bucks season went up in flames on Wednesday following a shocking 4-1 first round exit to the Miami Heat. Following a season where the Bucks had the league’s best record of 58-24, they never looked like the one seed in this series.

Props go to the Heat as they fully deserved to progress, but rather than battling for the title, Milwaukee is left with a multitude of questions that need answering this off-season. Back-to-back fourth quarter meltdowns put the Bucks’ title hopes to the sword, and an overall horror show of a series on both ends of the floor has got many fans calling for some big changes in the organization.

Here are the three things the Milwaukee Bucks need to prioritize this off-season.

1 – Who will be Head Coach next season

The biggest question surrounding the organization is whether or not Mike Budenholzer remains the head coach. The coaching decisions and lack of adjustments in-game have led to big concerns about whether he is the man to take the team forward.

NBA insider Shams Charania has reported that his “status as Head Coach is very much shaky; there are questions across the organization.” Coach Bud will live long in the memory of Bucks fans. After 50 years without lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy, he brought one to Milwaukee in 2021, and that will never be forgotten.

Despite winning the title, the Bucks have struggled in the postseason under the reigns of Budenholzer. In his first season as Head Coach in 2019, the Bucks took a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals before losing four straight to crash out of the postseason. During the 2020 ‘bubble’ playoffs they went down 3-0 to the Miami Heat in the second round and then this year they lost three straight again to the Heat to exit the playoffs.

No one can doubt the level of play from Budenholzer’s teams during the regular season as the Bucks have the best total record of all the Eastern Conference teams since Budenholzer took over, per StatMuse. When it comes to the playoffs, there are times when it feels like the Bucks are outsmarted and rely on talent alone to win the games.

In this series with Miami alone, timeouts were not used to slow down Jimmy Butler in his 56-point performance in Game 4 as the Heat were allowed to go on a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter. Jrue Holiday was the main defender of Butler and didn’t hold up throughout the series, but there was never really a plan B or different looks the Bucks threw at Butler.

Game 5 saw Butler send the game to overtime being guarded by Holiday and Pat Connaughton. With just two seconds on the clock, Giannis Antetokounmpo was not in the paint, and Brook Lopez wasn’t even on the floor when he could have been used to guard the inbound pass. I think the less said about the Grayson Allen euro-step, the better, as that was so so bad it was actually laughable as to how no timeout was called or play drawn up.

Jae Crowder was acquired for five second-round picks, and he didn’t even play more than 30 seconds in Games 4 and 5. Jevon Carter had an unbelievable season, playing like an All-Defensive caliber guy, and yet, he played eight seconds in Game 4 and received a DNP in Game 5.

Nick Nurse was fired by the Raptors, Charles Lee is highly touted by other NBA teams, and who knows what other coaching changes may be made and who will be available.

For me, I think it is time for the Bucks to thank Coach Bud for everything but to move on and bring in a new head coach with fresh ideas.