Q&A With General Manager Jon Horst
General Manager Jon Horst sits with Bucks.com to discuss the Milwaukee Bucks coaching search and the 2017-18 season.
Bucks.com: Can you describe your plan for finding the right coach?
GM Jon Horst: We have a well thought out search in place and are interviewing quality candidates. In the end we feel confident that we’ll find the right fit and the right person to be the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
What are some of the attributes you’re looking for in a coach?
We are looking for a candidate who’s a great communicator, possesses a demonstrated knowledge of the game in terms of Xs and Os, has a strong basketball IQ and relates well to people.
Player development initiatives are important for us, as well as their ability to develop players. The candidate is someone who’s creative, has a willingness to adapt to circumstances and who is a great organizational partner for Peter Feigin and me.
We want to continue to build on the momentum that we’ve had this season and the prior seasons.
How important is it for the coach to have NBA head coaching experience?
Experience is important and it’s something that we’ll certainly consider as we vet these candidates, but head coaching experience itself would not be something that we would limit our search based on. There are quality candidates that don’t have head coaching experience, and we’ll consider them as well.
What about a college coach? Is that something you’d consider?
Absolutely. If it’s the right person, the right fit and fits the characteristics we expressed earlier, then we’d have no problem doing that.
What’s your time frame on hiring a coach?
We’ve started the interview process and we plan to move through the search efficiently. We have key dates coming up with the draft and free agency that we’ll factor in, but at the end of the day we’re not going to hire someone just to hire them. We’ll make the hire when we find the right candidate.
What are the selling points you make to prospective coaches?
There are countless points to sell on the organization. First and foremost is the roster. Coaches want to know they have a chance to win and every coach who considers this opportunity I believe will look at our roster and see a clear path to winning and having success, not only in the immediate, but the long term.
Beyond that they want to know that they have resources to be successful. You can look at the brand new arena being built and you can look at our practice facility. You can look at all the different things we have from an infrastructure standpoint and staffing standpoint to understand that we have an ownership group that will invest any resources necessary to have us compete at the highest levels.
We have a great group of people here at the organization on the business side and the basketball side. There’s an unbelievable culture of creativity, energy and excitement that’s evident around here every day. And I think anyone that comes in and spends time around our environment, that’ll sell itself as well. I think there are a lot of positives that make us a great destination for a coach.
What’s your summary of the Bucks season that just finished?
The team that we brought in was largely the same group of guys we had the year before and we hoped that continuity would be a key piece of our success.
We had a team that went through adversity throughout the season. A few things that you can point to with coaching changes and significant trades, injuries at the end of the season to key players. I think through all of it our guys stayed together, they fought together. We have a high character group of guys that tallied the most wins (44) since 2009-10.
Although we didn’t reach the Second Round of playoffs, advancing was a goal and if we would’ve done that it would’ve been the first time in 17 seasons for the organization. We had a group of guys that made the playoffs for two consecutive years for the first time since 2003-04 and had an extremely competitive playoff series against the Boston Celtics, a very formidable opponent. There are things for us to build on.
Going into next season, we have a brand new state-of-the-art arena and beautiful training facility, we’ll have a head coach in place and a budding superstar. There’s a lot of things for us to build on as we continue to strive for continued success and build toward a championship.