In the championship or bust landscape of sports memories are short and careers are often shorter. If a season ends well short for a team with gold on their mind, heads will roll. You may buy yourself some time with a season ending on top of the world, but even that leash comes to an end. That ugly truth is no more apparent than it is today after Mike Budenholzer was fired from his duties as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Depending on how you look at it, it could either be a knee jerk reaction to a distasteful end or a move that had to be made. In his five years as head coach, he led them to a 263-119 record resulting in five consecutive playoff appearances. He led them to the Eastern Conference Finals twice and to a 2021 NBA Finals victory. On the other hand, the team lost in the second round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Most recently, the Bucks lost in five games to the eighth-seeded Miami Heat in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Ultimately, the Bucks decided to not live in the shadow of past success.
After the Bucks fired Budenholzer, fans consequently rushed to social media to defend the veteran coach. Budenholzer’s brother tragically died in a car accident during the Miami Heat series. One can only imagine how hard it was for the coach to keep his head in the game despite the tragedy.
As for coaches to look for to replace Budenholzer, Nick Nurse is a popular choice floating around at the moment. The Toronto Raptors fired Nurse on April 21, and given his impressive resume with Finals victory himself, many expect him to be a leading candidate. Becky Hammon of the WNBA Las Vegas Aces is another possibility. Like Budenholzer, Hammon is a product of the Greg Popovich coaching tree which could make for an easier transition for the Bucks.
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