The Bucks have fought back and evened their series against the Nets at two games apiece, and that’s good for Mike Budenholzer, as his job may depend on the outcome.
Milwaukee got destroyed in the first two games of the series in Brooklyn, but rebounded to come back strong in defending its home court. The series now goes back to Brooklyn, essentially in a best-of-three format, but with the momentum having shifted to the Bucks. Not only that, the statuses of both James Harden and Kyrie Irving have put a major question mark on the Nets’ performance going forward, especially in Game 5.
And now that the Bucks have responded in a big way, the pressure could be off Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was named MVP the past two seasons. Budenholzer could benefit as well, as he has been facing a ton of heat for the Bucks’ failure to reach the NBA Finals. But if the Bucks can advance, that might be enough for the team to commit to Budenholzer for the future. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently spoke about the Bucks head coach’s job security on “The Woj Pod.”
“If Game 3 was the apex of this series for them, I think it’s very unlikely and very difficult for them to keep Bud,” Woj said. “He has a year left on his deal. They could have extended him early in the season or in the offseason. They chose not to. They were going to really ride this year out. I don’t know if he has to come back and win it. If it ends in a thud, it’s hard to imagine he’s back.”
We were surprised the Bucks didn’t part ways with Budenholzer last offseason, but the team instead gave him one more chance, trading away a ton of draft capital to acquire Jrue Holiday. So far, it’s worked out well, but we’ll see how the remainder of the series plays out.