By: Jeffrey Newholm
Many viewers’ favorite episode of each American Idol season is the first. A very long line of terrible singers think that somehow they are good enough to win the megabuck contract, only to be rudely disillusioned. Except some are stubborn enough to come back season after season to get rejected multiple times. Fundamentally, the NBA isn’t much different. Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich can sing a pretty good basketball tune. That leaves 28 other owner-judges who sit stoically at the podium, turning away failure after failure. The Bucks, Hawks, and Raptors are three also-rans in the east that can’t seem to find the right coach. And without him or her, the show will go on, but without the bright lights of the finals or bandwagoner following across the nations.
The Hawks were the envy of many NBA teams when they made ten straight postseasons. Was this enough? No. That’s why there was celebration after the firing of Mike Woodson (later fired by the Knicks as well) and Larry Drew. The Hawks fell to 24-58 this year, leading to firing of former coach of the year Mike Budenholzer. That’s still better than Toronto, who fired current coach of the year Dwayne Casey after 59 wins, but 0 over the Cavs in spring. Hawks: consistent playoff participant, can’t make finals. Raptors: make playoffs every year, can’t beat Cavs. Bucks: haven’t won playoff series since 2001. So what are the Bucks to do? Hire the dismissed coach of one of the other east runner-ups!
After the extremely forgettable Jim Boylan Bucks were swept by the Heat, Milwaukee picked up Drew. 67 losses later, Drew was rightfully terminated in favor of Jason Kidd. Kidd ushered in a new era for the Bucks with rising stars Giannis Anteteokounmpo and Kris Middleton, new ownership, and a new arena. After a throttling of Toronto in game three of the 2016 playoffs, some insisted the future had arrived. Not even a year later Kidd was fired, and interim Joe Prunty not retained. The Bucks owners decided to usher in a new era, again, by picking up Budenholzer Wednesday. But Budenholzer promises to sing the same song as Casey, Drew, Boylen, and Prunty. That’s a very forgettable cover of Don’t Stop Believin’, a song already rather tired by its own right.
No one can blame a man like Budenholzer in taking another try at coaching. Former Packer coach Mike Sherman liked coaching so much he even took a high school job. But at this point one must seriously question the wisdom of taking another coach with a proven track record of mediocrity, who was already fired for having a proven track record of mediocrity. If Giannis, with three years left on his contract, genuinely likes Budenholzer, it’s a #1 hit of a move. If, more likely, Budenholzer becomes the ninth fired Bucks coach since George Karl, the wealthy investor Bucks owners will again have to sell the public on another supposed franchise savior. Unfortunately for them, fans have the same remedy as Idol viewers who can’t take the bad screeching: the remote control.