Budenholzer Humbled Giannis At Early Season Practice

An altercation between Mike Budenholzer and Giannis Antetokounmpo paved the way for the Bucks' success

January 25, 2019 - 10:23 am

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At 34-12, the Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in the NBA. This wouldn’t be possible, of course, without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 26.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists, but head coach Mike Budenholzer has had a profound impact on this team in his first season.

“They love him,” Bill Michael Show host Bill Michaels said on Ferrall on the Bench. “They think he’s a better coach (than Jason Kidd), but they love him. He went right up to Giannis in one of the first practices and just got in his grill and just got on him about a couple of things he was doing wrong and said, ‘You’re not above anybody here, and if you think you are, you can hit the door.’”

Antetokounmpo, 24, may be young, but he’s also one of the top players in the league. Not every coach, especially a coach in his first season with the team, would have the courage to say that to their franchise cornerstone.

“Everybody looked at each other and said, ‘If he’s going to yell at Giannis like that, he’s going to yell at all of us,’ – and they respected that,” Michaels said. “Since then, it’s been an open-door policy. He talks to everybody like a man. The very next time down the court, he’s going to be the guy to put his arm around you.”

Antetokounmpo likes that.

“Giannis appreciated that kind of coaching where he was going to not (make) it personal, he was going to get right in your grill about something you were doing wrong, and the next time down the floor he’s giving you a lot of praise and he’s doing it to everybody,” Michaels said. “The big thing on this team right now is accountability – not only accountability to your coach, but accountability to one another. It’s just a different atmosphere in that locker room right now.”

Michaels agreed with the Bucks’ decision to move on from Jabari Parker and John Henson. The roster is full of unselfish, high-energy players like Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Brook Lopez.

“You got rid of Jabari, you got rid of Jason Kidd, you got rid of that whole coaching staff, and you brought back the energy,” Michaels said. “It all begins and ends with Giannis. Right now, everything is flowing really well. It all flows through Giannis, and the team is 100 percent healthy.”