The idea of the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks losing in the first round to the No. 8 seed Miami Heat seemed impossible, let alone in five games, but that is exactly what went down. Former Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse, who is still unemployed, had to be watching that game with a great deal of interest.
This game might spell the end for NBA champion and former Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer. Despite his success, the lack of adjustments across this entire series made it very clear that the Bucks have hit their ceiling under his leadership. A change is needed.
Nurse has not found a job for 2023 yet, as his reported destination of the Houston Rockets chose to go in a different direction and hire Ime Udoka. He might be saving himself for the right opportunity, which could present itself over in Milwaukee.
While the Bucks haven’t made a decision on Budenhozler yet, that Heat series was such a pathetic display of coaching that it will be hard for them to sell the fanbase on bringing him back. The Milwaukee job instantly becomes the best vacancy in the league, and Nurse is a prime candidate.
Will former Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse join the Bucks?
Nurse has had success developing players internally, but he likely wouldn’t have the patience to go to a team like Houston and totally flip the culture upside down. Milwaukee, however, will give him a chance to compete for a title and stick it to the Raptors.
Even though Brook Lopez is a free agent, think of the defensive nightmare it would be to go up against a Nurse-coached defense featuring Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lopez, and Jrue Holiday all at once. That might be enough to give him an edge in what promises to be a competitive East.
The Raptors seeing Nurse go to Milwaukee would be a nightmare. Even if they manage to ace their coaching hire and get back into the postseason picture, the Bucks keeping their core together and bringing Nurse into the fold would make them the clear favorites in the Eastern Conference.
If the Bucks don’t fire Budenholzer (I don’t see how they can go on with him after this travesty), Nurse might be better off taking a year off from coaching and waiting for better jobs. If this job becomes available, there will be a green deer logo on Nurse’s pullover as soon as you blink.