Ranking top 10 NBA coaches: Where Houston Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni lands
5. Mike Budenholzer-Milwaukee Bucks
Mike Budenholzer just wrapped up his first season with the Milwaukee Bucks, and led the team to the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the best record in the NBA. The Bucks went 60-22, which was the most wins they’ve had since the 1980-1981 season. This was a steep improvement from the previous two years before Bud’s arrival, as the Bucks averaged 43 wins and were first round playoff exits in each of those two seasons. To no one’s surprise, Budenholzer took home the Coach of the Year Award this past year.
Budenholzer’s Bucks started off the Eastern Conference Finals up 2-0 over the Toronto Raptors, but ended up losing the next four games. Regardless, Bucks fans have a lot of reasons to be encouraged, as that was Budenholzer’s first year in Milwaukee. Last season, the Bucks finished first in points per game and also first in defensive rating. During Budenholzer’s first season with the Bucks, eventual MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had career highs in scoring, rebounding and assists per game, leading the team in each category. In addition, Khris Middleton had career highs in assists and rebounds per game and was named to his first All-Star team.
The success the Bucks had last season isn’t surprising, as Budenholzer also experienced massive success during his time as the Atlanta Hawks head coach. In fact, Budenholzer’s Hawks won a franchise record 60 games during the 2014-2015 season before being defeated by the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Unsurprisingly, Budenholzer won Coach of the Year at the conclusion of that season as well, as former Hawks Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, Al Horford and Paul Millsap all made the All-Star team that year. In four of Budenholzer’s five seasons with the Hawks, Atlanta made the postseason, and made it past the first round in two of those seasons.
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