Mike Budenholzer Rumors
When asked about the different dynamic Howard has brought to the Hawks so far this season, head coach Mike Budenholzer praised the big man. “Dwight is very unique,” Budenholzer said. “His physical gifts and attributes give our whole group a greater physicality. We’re rebounding the ball a lot better. I think we’ve been a very good defensive team and he allows us to maintain that and hopefully maybe even be better. Offensively, I think the group is adjusting to him and what he can do and what he can create kind of with that same physical presence on the offensive end.”
In Atlanta, Howard has found a coach in Mike Budenholzer who has challenged him to “get out of the box.” In Los Angeles and Houston, Howard would become frustrated over not receiving the same touches in the post that he was accustomed to receiving in Orlando, where he had his greatest career success. “Bud, he’s going to push me to the limit,” Howard told The Vertical. “He knows how to really communicate with me, as far as what he needs from me. Sometimes in life, we need people to hold us accountable. And as basketball players, we always have people that tell us what we want to hear. But when you have somebody that’s willing to tell you how it is, good, bad and ugly, those are the kind of people that you want around you.”
Following the Hawks’ 117-96 win over the 76ers Saturday night, I asked Howard for his thoughts about the team’s training and coaching staff. Here was his answer: “It’s the best,” Howard said. “It’s the best. So grateful to be in this situation. They’ve done an amazing job, the training staff, the coaching staff. Bud has done an amazing job. We have a growing relationship that has been great so far. We are really understanding each other. And it’s good. I love having him as a coach. From the first time I met him until now, we’ve had a great connection. We want to continue that. I love how he holds me accountable every single day to be the guy for the team to lead them in the right direction. When I’m not doing the right things, he is on me. When I am doing the right things, he pushes me to do more. It’s just a great feeling.”
Injuries and illness had a clear impact on Tuesday’s slate of NBA preseason games. And that was just among coaches. New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry missed his team’s game against Atlanta with stomach discomfort, and Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer — already wearing a sling after undergoing surgery on his right hand Monday — left that matchup when Pelicans guard Langston Galloway knocked him over while attempting to save a loose ball. The good news is that neither is expected to miss time when the games start counting for real next week.