3. What win-loss record can we realistically expect from the Bucks next season with Budenholzer as their head coach?
Chris Young: I don’t know that we can expect the Bucks to have a radical increase in the number of wins they’ll have in Budenholzer’s first season. The change in coach will precipitate a fairly major change in style (one would hope) and that may take some time for players to come to grips with.
With that being said, the Bucks finished at 44-38 last season, and that should absolutely be their benchmark. The best case scenario would be the Bucks becoming a 50-win team, and there’s also no reason to think that shouldn’t be possible either. One of the things Coach Bud has to do in his first season is raise the floor of the Bucks, shrink the gap between their best and worst.
Eliminating frustrating losses to rebuilding teams like Dallas, Chicago and Orlando should be good for at least five or so extra wins in the 2018/19 season. Winning the games they’re supposed to win will go a long way towards further establishing the Bucks as a contender.
Brian Sampson: 50 wins is a fair and realistic expectation to put on Milwaukee heading into next season. Budenholzer should be able to make up for some of Kidd’s coaching blunders, but that’s not where I expect the biggest growth to come from.
The biggest growth will come from the players themselves as this young team gets one year older. Antetokounmpo will be 24-years-old midway through the year and one year closer to his prime, Middleton will be 27, Malcolm Brogdon will be 26, Thon Maker is still 21-years-old and so on and so forth. The core of this team is just beginning to come into their prime or will be in the next couple of years.
Mike Wendlandt: After hovering around .500 the past few years with coaches like Jason Kidd and Joe Prunty, this team should be able to improve dramatically with Budenholzer if he can tap into the same intangibles with the Bucks that he had with the Hawks.
During his time with Atlanta, “Bud” won 60, 48, and 43 games with guys like Jeff Teague and Kent Bazemore in major roles. With talent like Antetokounmpo, Middleton, and Eric Bledsoe to build around, I see no reason to think that the Bucks can’t win 55 games or more in 2018.
The talent for the Bucks is among the best in the Eastern Conference behind Boston, Philadelphia, and Toronto. And each team has serious questions to ask of them for next year. With a good coach in place, the Bucks should be primed to get a top 3-4 seed in the Eas and have home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.