Mike Budenholzer knows the Milwaukee Bucks need defense
The Milwaukee Bucks come into the 2022-23 season with high expectations. The team is expected to compete for the NBA Finals with their star Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the team. The Bucks’ defense will need to be more solid than they were a year ago to make it far in this year’s playoffs. Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer recently reiterated to his players the importance of defense to the Bucks.
Last season, the Bucks’ defense was ranked the 14th best defense in the NBA. The top defenses in the league were the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics, respectively. Those two teams faced off in the Finals this summer.
The Bucks will try and get their newly formulated roster to be up to par with the best defenses in the league during the team’s camp that started this week. One player that will need to adjust their game to be more defensive is Jordan Nwora. Nwora, after taking the time to explore other options in his restricted free agency, recently re-signed with the Bucks.
Budenholzer explained how bench players could get more game time
Nwora has shown he has the potential to be an asset to the Bucks’ offense. But Nwora’s defense has been the subject of some contention with Mike Budenholzer in the past, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Per Nehm, Budenholzer made comments about how the young small forward could get more playing time:
Informed of Nwora’s comments, Budenholzer affirmed the importance of defense in Milwaukee and emphasized that words alone will not get it done. Nwora will need to show that commitment to the defensive end daily.
“He’s maturing and he understands it’s a big priority for us for him to get on the court, for him to help us,” Budenholzer said. “Everybody’s gotta be able to defend at a high level. He’s gotta prove it now, every day in camp, and he’s off to a good start. That’s the challenge, really for everybody. Playing defense is not easy, whether you’re Jrue Holiday or Brook Lopez or Jordan. But it takes a mental toughness, a mental commitment to doing it. That’s the challenge for Jordan. That’s the challenge for really all of us.”
Budenholzer is clearly stating to Nwora that he possesses the skills and talent to play defense for the Bucks. It’s up to Nwora to make the mental adjustments to his game so he can be an effective player. If he can make that leap for the Bucks this season, the defense and overall team will be much better.