The Hawks have made their decision to hire Mike Budenholzer as their new head coach, which comes as little surprise as he has been the rumored front-runner all along. However, for most fans the question remains: Who is Mike Budenholzer?
Budenholzer went to Pomona College in California before spending one year playing in Denmark. After his one year in Denmark he returned to the US where he began his NBA career, all in San Antonio.
Budenholzer has spent 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, the first two as a video coordinator, 11 years as a secondary assistant, and the last six as Gregg Popovich's top assistant coach. In that time, Budenholzer has coached on all four of the Spurs' NBA Championship winning teams and has been integral in the development of stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili.
Ivan Johnson knows of him, but does not really know him. When I asked for his thoughts on the new coach Ivan told me, "Don't really know him, but talked to him before back in the day."
Jeff Teague, should he be back, is excited to work with Budenholzer. Teague told Chris Vivlamore of the AJC, "I'm excited to work with a coach who has worked with one of the best point guards in the league in Tony Parker."
While Budenholzer is not a household name, he has a great deal of clout around the league and his pedigree working for Popovich commands the respect of the players. Ferry and Budenholzer have a long history together which no doubt played a role in the decision to bring Mike in as the head coach for Ferry's rebuilding project.
We will not know for sure exactly what to expect from Budenholzer from an X's and O's perspective until the season, but we can expect to see many of the same concepts from San Antonio to come with him. I will have a look at some of those concepts tomorrow, especially how the Hawks will be utilizing Al Horford in the same manner Tim Duncan was used in the Spurs offense. I will also have a report from Philips Arena after Budenholzer's introductory press conference tomorrow morning at 11 AM.