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May 14, 2019

Mike Budenholzer

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Practice Day

Q. How important is it for you guys coming out to set the tone in Game 1 and really send a message? Both of you guys have lost series-opening games.
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: You know, I mean, every game is important, but obviously both of us have lost Game 1 and continued to advance. I think hopefully our players are just ready, maybe understand something better going into this round than the last round, but ultimately it's the first team to get to four, so you'd like to get off to a good start, but it doesn't always happen that way.

Q. Giannis left the final game and tweaked his ankle. Is that an issue at all this week?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: No, there's no issues with Giannis' ankle.

Q. What did you learn from the last series having that six days off between Game 4 and Game 1 going into Boston and having a full week off as far as preparation for your team?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: You know, I've referenced a couple times, I think the break between the end of the regular season and the first round and then the break between the first and the second round, I think hopefully the team was better, coaches. You're always trying to decide what to do, what not to do.

Again, hopefully we're a little bit better as players, a little bit better as coaches, and we're ready for Game 1 tomorrow. But you never know until the game.

Q. What kind of problems does Kawhi Leonard present?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I mean, he's just such a great player. He scores lots of different ways. It's really difficult to defend him without extra activity. You've got to throw a lot of looks at him, a lot of bodies at him. Obviously he's a great shooter. The mid-range shot, the three-point shot, and can finish in the paint, get to the free throw line. He's just a very dynamic, gifted scorer with a great body, brings a physicality to the offensive end of the court. It's a great challenge.

Q. How much can you draw on your experience coaching Kawhi earlier in your career at San Antonio?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I don't think much. You know, he's grown and evolved. Just obviously one of the elite players in our league, and he was great when he was in San Antonio, but it's been a long time ago that I was there. Know him a little bit and appreciate and respect him, but I don't think it has much bearing on preparing or getting us ready.

Q. As you kind of redefine what this offense is going to do and the way you guys stretch the floor, what's a bad three-pointer look like?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Not sure there is one. I would say we don't want to take contested shots in general, so a contested guarded three. But after that, if we're open, we want to let it fly. We've got guys that can shoot it from distance, significant distance behind the line, and I think more and more guys are adding that to their player development and work. Any time we're open from three, it's a good shot in our mind.

Q. As far as philosophy goes, how easy of a sell is that?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, if you tell guys to shoot it, they're usually pretty happy. It hasn't been that hard a sell. I think we always do want to balance it with attacking the basket, getting to the paint, collapsing the defense. We don't want to be just a three-point shooting team.

Hopefully we've got lots of different layers and ways that we're scoring, but certainly when we're open, players tend to like that, so it wasn't much of a sales job.

Q. Obviously Giannis is very talented, and he loves to train a lot. He comes often late nights, and I heard that the team got him a microwave for late night when he comes to training. Is that true?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I'm the wrong person to ask. That's the first I've heard of the microwave. I've heard a lot of the Giannis late night stories, but not the microwave, so I don't know.

Q. Can you tell me about other stories about his late nights here in the facility?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Hopefully he's having less late nights and working smarter and more efficiently, but when he feels like he needs to come back and get extra shots or extra work, he's great about getting his lifts in. It's amazing the work he does in the weight room, and lots of times that's late at night.

We're trying to actually reduce it, but over time hopefully we'll get it to be less and less.

Q. How much does this rest and this break between series help your guys, help your bodies moving into the series?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, I mean, hopefully it's helpful. We'll certainly be rested, we'll certainly be fresh, be healthy, all those things that are important. But in an ideal world, you're probably playing games and playing basketball a little closer to each other. We're just looking forward to playing Game 1 and getting out there and getting after it.

Q. How do you feel about where Malcolm [Brogdon] is now as opposed to where he was for Game 5 [against he Celtics]?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I mean, I think he's getting better. He looks really comfortable in practice. I thought he looked uncomfortable in Game 5. We'll bump his minutes up a little bit and just continue to be excited about what he brings and adding him into a Playoff rotation at this stage, we feel like it's a great advantage for us to have an even deeper team and more guys that have played and excelled this year and that we trust.

Q. Have you decided if you'll start him again?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: No, Niko [Nikola Mirotic] will start Game 1.

Q. Is there still a restriction on him?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I don't know that I would call it a restriction. I think there's just a logical, sensible way that you bring a guy back from injury. We want to do that. But at the same time, Malcolm can help us, and we're looking forward to that.

Q. You were talking about distance of three-pointers. Does anything surprise you anymore? What's acceptable in terms of player to player who can shoot the 30-footers, and what does it do for your offense?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah. I know the one that stood out to me is how do we determine what's -- if they can make them, it's okay. If they start to figure out if they're missing too much and they're not getting to play as much or whatever, so usually it's a make-miss type of, and the ones that can make them can shoot them.

We don't have conversations like you can't do this, you can't do that. I think we tend to teach and coach and encourage and give guys some freedom, and if they continue to make them and have success, then it's -- keep doing it.

I think the space that it gives us just when -- particularly Brook [Lopez] and Niko, they're multiple feet behind the line and you're thinking about showing a crowd or shifting or loading or whatever that team calls it, they close out back to a Brook or a Niko or Pat [Connaughton] and these guys that are shooting it deep, it's just that much more distance they've got to cover.

So you know, I think it's something that -- it's not really clearly defined, and we give our guys a lot of freedom. Hopefully they take advantage of that.

Q. Darvin Ham was a player the last time the Bucks made the Eastern Conference Finals. Now he's an assistant coach 18 years later on the same Bucks organization team. How unusual is that?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, I would assume probably pretty unusual. But Darvin is such a great human being, and it's kind of a cool story. I think he was a big part of that 2001 team. That was such a good team. They had lots of different talent. But what he brought to that group was unique and special, and what he brings to our coaching staff and to our organization is unique and special.

He's just a great human being, as the whole city of Milwaukee knows. He's probably the most popular -- probably second to Giannis, the most popular Buck in town. It's great to have Darvin be a part of this.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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