With the Milwaukee Bucks comfortably removed from the NBA’s postseason, they can now begin the process of replacing Jason Kidd. And according to ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, they have more than a few names in mind:
Sources: Milwaukee embarking on a coaching search with a list of candidates that includes several former head coaches: Steve Clifford, Mike Budenholzer, Monty Williams, David Fizdale and David Blatt. Bucks plan to interview those coaches — and possibly several more.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 3, 2018
Most of these were a given even before they were official.
Mike Budenholzer is atop every vacancy’s list of candidates after parting ways with the Atlanta Hawks. He’s revered for his defensive principles and ball-movement offense. If there’s someone on the market who can take the Bucks’ talent and help them broach contender status, it would seem to be him.
David Blatt might be able to do the same. He never got the chance to run his real offense with the Cleveland Cavaliers, because LeBron James returned home. The Bucks don’t necessarily have the surfeit of sweet shooters to make his primary spacing constructs work to a T, but they have enough to make this an interesting match.
David Fizdale is yet another obvious candidates, but multiple reports have him being the favorite to land the New York Knicks’ head-coaching gig. Though the Bucks’ job is one many may be prepared to wait for, namely due to the chance to coach Giannis Antetokounmpo, he could soon be off the market.
Steve Clifford isn’t all that surprising either. He’s exalted for his defensive intricacies. This was the first season in a while his former team, the Charlotte Hornets, truly stunk at the defensive end relative to expectations. He, in fact, would be a sneaky good fit with the Bucks. Their defensive approach is undisciplined, and he’s shown over the past two or three seasons he can adapt his offensive ideals to meet the needs of his team and the standard set by the modern-day NBA.
Monty Williams could be an interesting hire as well. He was beloved by his players while with the New Orleans Pelicans, has spent some time with the San Antonio Spurs since then and could be the leadership bellwether the Bucks never had in Jason Kidd and didn’t seem to have in Joe Prunty.
Speaking of Prunty, he’s expected to receive consideration for the full-time position after taking over for Kidd. But don’t bet on him getting the green light. The Bucks don’t have cap space. Hiring a coach is, in theory, a way they can level-up with limited resources. Expect them to gravitate toward a splashier name.