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Bucks Benefiting From Culture Change

The culture has changed in Milwaukee, which has helped the Bucks get off to a surprising start this season.

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After finishing with the league’s worst record last season, the Milwaukee Bucks knew that they had to make some changes to their organization. One of the most noticeable changes they made was hiring a new head coach and they went with Jason Kidd. Now, the running theme around the Bucks’ locker room is that Coach Kidd is installing a system that helps bring out the best in all of his players.

Days after retiring from a successful playing career, Kidd became the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Last season, he led the Nets to a 44-38 record and the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. However, after Brooklyn’s early exit from the playoffs and a failed power play by Kidd over the offseason, the two parties decided to part ways.

Milwaukee has served as an opportunity for Kidd to start from scratch again and get a do over. So far, he’s doing well. The system that he has put in place lets everyone earn playing time and his players are happily buying into it. Jared Dudley says that if they go to practice and they prove themselves then they’ll get playing time. This is causing players, young and old, to play extra hard.

“He’s a great coach. As good as a player he was, I think he’s a better coach,” Larry Sanders said. “He really knows how to run a team. He’s putting all of us in a position to be successful.”

Sanders has played with the Bucks for his entire four-year NBA career and has experienced the changes the team has gone through. He likes the current group of guys in the locker room and says that the new coaching staff and new owners have created an exciting buzz around the community. He views this season as a fresh start for the organization as well as an opportunity to develop new habits.

The Bucks have a young team with promising players like Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo. They might not have a lot of experience but they bring a unique set of skills to the table. Parker’s teammates describe him as a humble and hungry young man who has the potential to be one of the best players in the league. The rookie has a lot to learn, but has plenty of people to help him throughout his development in his coaching staff and veteran teammates.

Less than a month into the season, the Bucks have surprised many with their defense. They have the potential to become one of the best defensive teams this season, as they’re only allowing 95.2 points per 100 possessions (which is third-best in the NBA). So far, the success on defense has not come from steals or blocks but rather from keeping their opponent’s shooting percentage down. Dudley credits assistant coach Sean Sweeney for staying on top of them about defense, while Kendall Marshall says Kidd doesn’t let the little stuff slide and is very meticulous.

“If there’s a mistake, he corrects it right then and there,” Marshall told Basketball Insiders. “I think we need that as a team that’s continuing to get better [and] continuing to learn. We don’t overlook the small things. We continue to strive for perfection.”

Kidd’s attention to detail on and off the court is helping the team come together and work for a common goal. The players are being unselfish and they are trying to learn as much as they can, but they will have to be patient. They know their goal is to make the playoffs, but it comes down to performing well as a team and winning games.

“Everyone knows in the East you always have a shot at the eighth [seed],” Dudley said. “You just have to go get it.”

Mary Stevens is entering her third year covering the NBA. She is based out of Orlando, Fla. and has also covered the NFL, NCAA and MLS.

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