The Method and The Man Behind The Movement: What to Expect From Mike Budenholzer’s Bucks Offense

Following the disappointing tenure of Jason Kidd, the Milwaukee Bucks wanted to take the growth and development of their young team to the next level with the hiring of Mike Budenholzer.  After the sputtering and missteps of the Jason Kidd/Prunty regime, the team is looking to create a stable, Spurs-like culture.  Over the course of the last few seasons, the Bucks have been outcoached at most areas of the game — A complete schematic rebuild for the “Young Bucks”, will be a nice change of pace for Bucks and their fans.

Under control of their new coach, expect the Bucks to run a ton of Pick and Rolls and utilizing the 3 point shot more — A vastly different scheme compared to the recent Kidd/Prunty regime.  The Hawks scheme for the 2017-2018 NBA season relied heavily on P&R’s and 3 point shooting while keeping the ball moving constantly — The Bucks however  relied heavily on transition offense and using Giannis to penetrate in the half court.  The new coaching staff will have to find the best ways to utilize their personnel but staples of Bud’s offense will transfer well to Milwaukee.

Expect the ball to be moving around much more than the Bucks of last season, the Budenholzer Hawks were second in the league for passes per game with 343.9 per game — the Bucks ranked 24th with only 284.6 passes per game.

Pick and Roll Frequency 2017-2018 NBA Season:

Bucks:

  • John Henson: 16.8%
  • Tyler Zeller: 21.8%
  • Thon Maker: 14%

Hawks:

  • Mike Muscala: 25.1%
  • Dewayne Dedmon: 26.1%
  • John Collins: 22.5%
  • Miles Plumlee: 29.4%

3 Point Statistics for 2017-2018 NBA Season:

Bucks:

  • 31.2% of their shots were 3 pointers, 25th most
  • 3’s FGA & FGM, 8.7/24.5
  • 3 point% was 35.6%, 24th in the league

Hawks:

  • 38.6% of their shots were 3 pointers, 7th most
  • 3’s FGA & FGM, 11.2/30.8
  • 3 point% was 36.3%, 17th in the league

The Budenholzer signing puts the team in capable hands, something that will do wonders for Milwaukee.  The Hawks from 2013-2018 were a much more stronger and well rounded team in comparison to the 2014-2018 Bucks.

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Coaching changes can make all the difference, look at Steve Kerr and his first year with the Warriors directly following Mark Jackson’s tenure. A new system and culture can bolster their championship chances. A huge key to keeping Star player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, happy.

Three Plays To Expect From the Bucks:

 

“45 Cut”

A Bud favorite for attacking the zone defense, “45 Cut” will be in the arsenal for the Bucks this season.  Replace Kyle Korver with Khris Middleton and Paul Milsap for Giannis, you get deadly action between the two lead men.  By forcing the defense to load the strong side, the flare screen by Giannis gives him a “feel touch” — Giving him the options of rolling the pick, pick and pop off a flare screen, or to kick the ball to the open shot on the weak side.  The personnel of the Bucks even allow Ilyasova as the flare screen and Giannis as the cutter, couple that with the cerebral mind of Brogdon and you have a great play to attack the zone defense.

“Double Curl”

“Double Curl” offers an intriguing option for the Bucks during the upcoming 2017-2018 season.  The goal of the play is for the curls to create confusion, creating an easy shot at the bucket.  Replace Dwight with Thon Maker, John Henson — the Curl cut with Khris Middleton and have Giannis as Paul Millsap throwing the oop.  This play will be an excellent way to utilize the length and versatility of the Bucks this season.

“Loop Power”

Just a facet of Budenholzer’s “Loop Specials”, his “Power” play easily sets up an attack at the rim for Giannis. Other than Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the personnel on this play can vary greatly.  Khris Middleton is the best option for the down screen that frees up the lane for Giannis, if not Khris it must be someone with a shooting threat forcing their defender to follow them directly on the hip — regardless of the other three players, all options culminate with the same result.

 

Mike Budenholzer (213-197)

4X NBA Champion, 2015 NBA Coach of the Year

One of the best minds in the NBA, the former college basketball player has spent years molding his scheme.  After playing four years of basketball at the University of Pomona Budenholzer went on to play one season of basketball overseas, for the Vejle Basketball Klub in Denmark.  Vejle was the real turning point for Budenholzer and where the itch of the coaching bug began to take over as he coached the youth programs for his team.  At Pomona, former Pomona head coach, Greg Popovich became a key figure in Bud’s life and saw him as sort of a protege.  Their relationship and bond was so strong, to the point that while Bud was in Denmark and Pop was an assistant for Don Nelson in Golden State, the two continued to keep in touch. So often in fact that Pop even allowed Bud to follow around the team video coordinator for a couple of weeks, as long as he didn’t annoy the coordinator too much.  When Pop got the vice president job in San Antonio, Bud was one of the two people that he brought along with him with the other being future GM, RC Bufford.

After spending 17 seasons as a Spurs assistant,  6 as the head assistant of Popovich’s staff, Bud left for the head coaching job in Atlanta.  His first season Al Horford went down with a torn pectoral muscle but it didn’t stop him from leading the team to the playoffs with a 38-44 record.  Winning the 2015 NBA coach of the year award, his best season with the Hawks ended in a number one seed and a 60-22 record.  Mike spent the last season heading the controls of a tanking ship, literally and figuratively — embarking on a new trek with Milwaukee is the change of scenery Bud needed.