It has now been about a week since the Miami Heat knocked off the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and the quick exit hasn’t become any more palatable. While it has been known by most fans for a while, a change in Milwaukee Bucks head coach looks to be needed, and the fanbase has been vocal to express this.
After the Bucks fell to the Brooklyn Nets in Game 5 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals, it was clear that Mike Budenholzer’s job as Milwaukee Bucks head coach was all but done for if they didn’t find a way to win the next two games. Owner Marc Lasry had a heated confrontation with Bud and it was enough to right the ship. The Bucks gutted out two wins and would eventually conclude the season with the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Since then, the Bucks blew a 3-2 series lead against the Boston Celtics in 2022 before they were embarrassed by the Miami Heat this year. Looking back at Budenholzer’s resume, his job survived after the Bucks barely beat a short-handed Nets team. With nothing but failure outside of the 2021 playoffs, where everything broke their way, it’s time for Budenholzer to go.
One question remains: who would be the best option to be the new Milwaukee Bucks head coach?
Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Candidates
Nick Nurse was recently fired by the Toronto Raptors after failing to make the playoffs this season. He won a championship with the Raptors back in 2019, thanks in part to a comeback in the Eastern Conference Finals after falling behind 2-0 to the Bucks. Nurse changed his entire defense and found the code to stop Giannis.
Nick Nurse is a great defensive mind who has been working with an average-at-best team for way too long. Quite simply, there is no way that he should’ve been expected to do anything with Toronto. The one point of concern for fans about Nurse is that he played his starters for heavy minutes the entire season. While that is not ideal, he probably wouldn’t have to do that in Milwaukee as they’re often in front with a sizable lead by the start of the fourth quarter.
What Tyronn Lue has been able to do with a dysfunctional Los Angeles Clippers team is nothing short of spectacular. Paul George is a shell of himself. Kawhi Leonard can’t stay healthy and, even when he is, can only play about half of the games. Yet, they still finished the regular season ahead of the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers.
He made the NBA Finals three straight times with LeBron James in Cleveland and he made the Western Conference Finals in his first season with the Clippers. He may need a great top player to go deep in the playoffs. Lue rarely underperforms and would inherit the best player in basketball right now. If the Bucks are looking for a no-nonsense coach who delivers when it matters, Lue is their guy.
There are few NBA coaching candidates more qualified for a head coaching job than Becky Hammon. Not only did she play around the world for 13 years, but she was also a top assistant under Gregg Popovich for nine seasons, won a WNBA Championship in her first season as a head coach and has been lauded as a brilliant coach by Lakers legend Pau Gasol who said in his article in The Players’ Tribune:
“I’ve played with some of the best players of this generation … and I’ve played under two of the sharpest minds in the history of sports, in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. And I’m telling you: Becky Hammon can coach. I’m not saying she can coach pretty well. I’m not saying she can coach enough to get by. I’m not saying she can coach almost at the level of the NBA’s male coaches. I’m saying: Becky Hammon can coach NBA basketball. Period.“
Milwaukee is a pretty tolerant city and she has the respect of players all around the league. While it may seem weird for some fans off the bat to have a woman head coach, there is no doubt that those feelings would quickly be eradicated when the wins start to pile up. Many coaches with half of the resume of Hammon under Popovich have gotten a shot at head coaching jobs, it’s time Hammon gets her shot as well.