The Milwaukee Bucks added one of the NBA’s great basketball minds to take over as head coach, and the biggest key to their success will involve the coach’s relationship with the star players.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, nicknamed the Greek Freak, is already considered one of the league’s best players at 23 years of age. As the Bucks move into a new arena in 2018-19, they will need both Antetokounmpo and Budenholzer to align their visions.
Thus far, the young Buck is optimistic about the partnership.
"He's a great coach. He was the Coach of the Year,” Antetokounmpo told ESPN. “We had a great conversation (before Budenholzer was hired and) talked about the game plan. How he views me as a player, how he can help this team. I had a lot of tough questions for him. But it was fun, I'm excited to play for him."
Both Antetokounmpo and swingman Khris Middleton have been instrumental in the process of hiring a new coach. Bucks ownership sees them as the future of the franchise.
Budenholzer won 60 games with the Atlanta Hawks before falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals back in the 2014-15 season. The Hawks sent four players to the All-Star Game that season, due in no small part to Budenholzer’s contributions.
"He's widely respected and has shown a special ability to teach and develop players," Bucks owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan said in a statement. "His leadership, basketball intellect, championship-level experience and communication skills make him the right fit to take our team to the next level."
Milwaukee will enter the 2018-19 season with high expectations in the Eastern Conference. They fell to the Boston Celtics this season in seven games.
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