Coaching Carousel: Who Will the Bucks Hire?
COACHING CAROUSEL: WHO WILL THE BUCKS HIRE – The Milwaukee Bucks ended the regular season as the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Just a couple of weeks later, they lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs to the Miami Heat. Jimmy Butler’s unreal performance ended Giannis Antetokounmpo’s run at another NBA title, and it ultimately proved to be the end for Mike Budenholzer.
Now, the Bucks have one of the most coveted coaching jobs in the league, and Giannis is the main reason why. The Bucks have narrowed down a list of candidates, including conducting and planning interviews with Frank Vogel, James Blair, Mark Jackson, Scott Brooks, Tyronn Lue, Monty Williams, James Borrego, Kenny Atkinson, and even Houston Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson, among many others. Nick Nurse is another option, although nothing has surfaced of him receiving an interview.
There is not much intel at the moment, but let’s examine the top three options for the Bucks head coaching job.
3) Mark Jackson
This is a name that has popped up more and more.
Yes, Jackson hasn’t coached in the league for nearly a decade. On the other hand, he has lots of experience and went 121-109 during his days with the Golden State Warriors, which eventually led to the dynasty we have seen over the past few years.
The biggest question here is whether or not Jackson can adapt to the current NBA. Nonetheless, he deserves a second chance, and who knows, it just might work out in Milwaukee. It’s risky by all means, but I believe the Bucks need an experienced coach, and Jackson at least has that.
2) Kenny Atkinson
Kenny Atkinson sure is an interesting name. He spent four years with the Brooklyn Nets and made the playoffs once, albeit with a less-than-superior roster. He thrives on analytics, and he has recently spent time learning from Ty Lue and Steve Kerr.
Moreover, he rejected the Charlotte Hornets job, so an opportunity to coach one of the top teams in the NBA could be appealing to Atkinson.
1) Monty Williams
The Phoenix Suns lost to the Denver Nuggets and fell short of the Western Conference Finals. As a result, Monty Williams was let go, and now he is one of the most coveted coaches on the market.
Was it entirely his fault in Phoenix?
No, although not being able to win with a roster that includes Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Chris Paul, and Kevin Durant isn’t encouraging.
He also lost to this Bucks team despite having a 2-0 NBA Finals lead. But, the Suns dysfunction was at an all-time high, and injuries to Paul and a poor attitude from Ayton certainly didn’t help. The Bucks are much less drama, and Monty Williams should have another job in a matter of weeks.
Honorable Mention: Nick Nurse
Frankly put, Nick Nurse would be the favorite, but there have been zero reports of him even being granted an interview with the Bucks, which is surprising.
He won an NBA title with the Raptors, and the Houston Rockets have reportedly expressed interest in him. Nurse is a terrific coach that has made the jump from the G League as seamless as possible. If he takes an interview, he will be the favorite.
Honorable Mention: Kelvin Sampson
Sampson has been the coach of the Houston Cougars, so the Bucks turning to a college coach would be a massive gamble.
On the other hand, he breathes toughness and defensive ability, and the Cougars had the top ranking in the nation for much of the season. Can it translate to the NBA? Nobody knows, but the idea of Sampson coaching the Bucks is somewhat fun to think about.