Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Milwaukee Bucks Hire Larry Drew As Head Coach

Larry Drew Milwaukee BucksThe Bucks have hired Larry Drew to fill the team's vacant head coaching spot. Just 10 days after his initial interview with the organization, Drew enters the position as the 13th head coach in franchise history, and is the conclusion of a tumultuous first month of the 2013 off-season. General manager John Hammond announced the news on Friday, telling reporters that he is excited to welcome the third coach under his tenure to Milwaukee.

Drew will mark the second hiring of a head coach by Hammond since 2008. Scott Skiles was put in the position that year, though he unexpectedly exited the team in January 2013. Assistant Jim Boylan was then quickly promoted to lead the Bucks through the remainder of the season. Despite a run into the first round of the playoffs, Boylan's interim contract was not renewed or expanded following the team's win-less postseason series against the Miami Heat in May.

Formerly at the helm of the Atlanta Hawks, Drew joined Houston assistant Kelvin Sampson as one of the final two contenders for the position in Milwaukee. Both have ties to the Bucks, Sampson working on the team's staff for three years starting in 2008, and Drew as an assistant in Atlanta during the pair's seven-game meeting to open the 2010 playoffs.

Enjoying six seasons with the Hawks as an assistant, Drew has found ample recent success with the team as their head coach for the past three years. Compiling a winning record during that time, the 58 year-old has taken the team into the postseason every year of his tenure, though a loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2011 was the closest he would get to a title. Losses in the first rounds of the 2012 and 2013 playoffs were not a step in the right direction according to Atlanta management, and the hiring of Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer to take over Drew's responsibilities confirmed the firing.

Drew doesn't leave with a grudge, however. Hawks general manager Danny Ferry aided the coach heavily in his negotiations with other organizations, including the unorthodox allowance of letting Drew interview while still under contract. The Kansas City native is also not unfamiliar with the idea of moving around, as his more than 30 years in the league as a player and coach have seen him with nearly 10 different teams. Exact details of Drew's new contract with the Bucks have not been released yet, though speculation has confirmed that the deal is guaranteed for three years with fourth year team option.

The closure of the hiring process comes just in time for Hammond to shift his attention to possible roster changes due to free agency this off-season; changes that could be effected by Drew's introduction to the team. Standout guard Brandon Jennings will enter the restricted market on July 1, and fellow guard Monta Ellis will chose on June 20th if he wishes to remain with the team on an option or become a free agent. Both have admitted that they remain undecided, though it was known that differences between Boylan and the pair made the eventual coaching choice a factor in their decisions.
Lead assistant to Drew in Atlanta Lester Conner touched on that subject in an interview on Friday. Conner told reporters that he knew Bucks fans and players alike would like Drew's coaching style, which Conner says plays to the team's strengths instead of trying too hard to improve their weaknesses.  

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