In my second ever post with Vendetta, I put out an article claiming the Milwaukee Bucks wouldn’t win the 2020 NBA Finals. At the time, they were the runaway favorites to claim the title, and some scoffed at me for believing they wouldn’t make it happen in the postseason. Well, I was RIGHT.
The Milwaukee Bucks lost in the second round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year, bowing out to the Miami Heat 4-1. Giannis went down in Game 4 with an injury and did not play Game 5. The Bucks bench was unbelievably atrocious, and Pat Connaughton won my inaugural Bonafide Scrub of the Week award.
The Real Problem with the Milwaukee Bucks
Despite not being overly fantastic, Giannis wasn’t the main problem here. Middleton wasn’t the problem. The bench wasn’t even really the primary issue. Let’s take a look back at something I said in my piece denouncing the Bucks:
Mike Budenholzer is a really good regular season coach, but he’s just a decent playoff coach. He currently ranks fifth among active coaches in regular season winning percentage, and his teams have won the Eastern Conference regular season twice. However, his current playoff winning percentage is .500. There’s not really a whole lot to this one. I just don’t really see Mike Budenholzer as a coach who can elevate his team from good in the regular season to good in the playoffs.Karl Heiser, “Why Milwaukee Bucks Won’t Win 2020 NBA Finals”
As it turns out, I gave Budenholzer too much credit. He’s not even a decent playoff coach. He’s a terrible playoff coach. The tactical decisions he made in the Heat series were unbelievably poor. Coach Bud voluntarily put out rotations with the worst efficiency possible. He played newly-retired Marvin Williams over Giannis in critical moments.
There’s a reason Mike Budenholzer is a .500 coach in the playoffs. The guy doesn’t get that the NBA Playoffs are the time to play your star 40 minutes, maybe even more than that. That’s the only reason LeBron gets through with terrible teams. Kawhi load manages in the regular season for the sole purpose of playing big minutes come playoff time. If Giannis is the MVP, why isn’t he always on the floor with the team’s back against the wall?
So, yeah. I told you so. The Milwaukee Bucks were never going to get it done. Some of that is for sure on Giannis, but most of it is on Mike Budenholzer. The Bucks reportedly don’t plan on firing him, but that honestly wouldn’t be the worst thing for them to do after these playoffs.
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