Jon Horst Rumors
Playmaking—Antetokounmpo is averaging a career-best 6.4 assists—has been an area of growth for Giannis, something team officials attribute to the game continuing to slow down for the 26-year old two-time reigning MVP. “The pace that he is playing at is different,” Bucks GM Jon Horst said in a telephone interview. “He’s playing with more control. He’s picking his spots. That’s the kind of thing you only get through maturity.” Regarding the MVP race, Horst offers the strongest possible endorsement. “He is a better player this year than in the years he won,” says Horst. And while GM-supporting-star is hardly an objective take, there is evidence backing it up. Antetokounmpo is in the top-five in offensive and defensive win shares—only Jokić can claim that—and one of two players (Jokić, again) averaging at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
The Bucks had an eight-game winning streak snapped against Boston last week and are once again within shouting distance of the East’s top seed. “We’re not a better team [than last year] on paper,” says Horst. “But I think we are a better team.”
Eric Nehm: Budenholzer: It’s hard to articulate what a great job Jon Horst, the entire front office and ownership have done in building the roster. “Every offseason (Horst) gets things done. In-season, he gets things done.” Referred to Horst as relentless in his pursuit of a better roster.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Bucks were persistent in pursuit of PJ Tucker, and GM’s Jon Horst and Rafael Stone closed on deal this evening. Redirecting draft picks they had exchanged in previous deal was key in getting trade done. Bucks expect a rejuvenated Tucker in contract year to help make run in East.
With seemingly no inclination to spend money and pay the luxury tax and, with GM Jon Horst having virtually mortgaged the team’s future — he dealt three No. 1 picks (all unprotected) to acquire Jrue Holiday, the Bucks options are clearly limited. One player who could come at a small price and help them is Glenn Robinson III, who was recently released by Sacramento and whom the Bucks have shown interest in in the past. “I think he’s a solid player,’’ a player personnel official said of Robinson. “His shot is pretty good; his defense is pretty good. I think he’d be a handy pickup for a team like the Bucks looking for an off-the-bench guy.’’
Horst, 37, recently joined The Athletic Wisconsin for a conversation about Antetokounmpo’s contract negotiations, the addition of Jrue Holiday, expectations for head coach Mike Budenholzer and much more. What are your thoughts on Giannis signing his supermax extension and what it means for the franchise? Jon Horst: I think it means everything. I think it shows that in a lot of ways, the system that the NBA and the players’ union have worked to put in place has a chance for success. I think it shows mostly a lot about Giannis and his desire to win and to be part of a culture where winning is first and foremost, and where the resources are going to be provided to you to win and continue to push the envelope and be in a position, year in and year out, to compete at the highest level.
After signing his supermax extension, Giannis mentioned that part of your “unbelievable relationship” with him was that you played basketball with his brothers when he first got to Milwaukee. Are we talking drills, shooting contests, one-on-one, five-on-five? Jon Horst: So we don’t violate any draft rules or tampering rules, this is much more to the reference that we’ve known each other for a long time. From the day that Kostas and Alex and Veronica and Charles came here, because obviously, they weren’t here immediately with Giannis, it wasn’t because Giannis was going to be an MVP. I don’t know that we knew that. It wasn’t because he was going to be everything he is, it was because it was the right way to treat people and take care of people. After all, you know me, I’m a junkie, I love to hoop. Kostas was probably 15 and Alex was probably 11.