Atlanta Hawks Coaching Carousel: Could Mike Budenholzer be the Darkhorse?

It’s no mystery that GM Danny Ferry is looking to change the culture of his Atlanta Hawks team. I think that was pretty obvious when two weeks into his tenure he made the blockbuster trade that sent $100M shooting guard Joe Johnson to Brooklyn and Marvin Williams to Utah.

In this case, Ferry is looking to move on from head coach Larry Drew.

In an earlier article, fellow SDS writer Wesley Morton mentioned some of the coaching options for the Hawks, and one of the more interesting candidates was San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer.

Well, it looks like Wes was right because according to this ESPN report, “many league insiders believe Spurs longtime assistant Mike Budenholzer will be Danny Ferry’s choice in Atlanta.”

Budenholzer has been with the Spurs organization for two decades since he got hired by Gregg Popovich in the summer of 1994. He was named top assistant in 2007-08 and is the right-hand-man to Pop. Budenholzer and Ferry have connections from back when Ferry played in San Antonio, then later when he transitioned from on the court into the front office.

Outside of Stan Van Gundy, Budenholzer is the only other coach that I am really hoping the Hawks hire. If he is anything like his mentor, multiple Coach of the Year award winner, Gregg Popovich, then the Hawks are getting a great person to lead the team, as he would bring a winning culture into the locker room.

The only knock on this hire would be that Budenholzer is another longtime assistant coach that has no prior NBA head coaching experience, similar to his two predecessors Larry Drew and Mike Woodson. The difference, however, is Budenholzer is coming in from the most successful franchise in the game over the past 20 years.

Budenholzer is a very strong candidate for the Hawks’ head coaching gig, and is this writers favorite among the pool of available coaches this off-season. If Ferry is trying to follow the Spurs’ blueprint while attempting to rebuild the Hawks then this is a great start. My only fear is that Budenholzer won’t come because he is the likely candidate to succeed Popovich in San Antonio. However, we can hope that Ferry and the Hawks gain his interest.

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