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After winning his second national championship in three seasons, could Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright team up with the Greek Freak in Milwaukee?
Jay Wright has built one of the most endearing legacies in modern college basketball history as the unquestioned leader of the Villanova Wildcats and could continue to remain at the top of his game for the foreseeable future.
But how long will that be?
Having built up a small, not-even-Philly school into an automatic NCAA tournament contender with middle-of-the-road talent, Wright could remain in his current position for as long as he would like to and continue to have young, hard-working, team players flock from around the nation to learn under his wing, but at some point, you’d have to assume that the nearly incessant calls to take his talents to the NBA would become too loud to ignore.
Maybe sooner then Nova fans would like to imagine.
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At this point, it’s no secret that plenty of lottery-bound NBA teams would love to bring Wright and his $3000 suits to their sidelines, but for whatever reason, these situations have simply failed to inspire the Nova coach to forgo the trappings of the college game for a fluid professional situation.
Enter the Milwaukee Bucks.
After starting out the season with a 23-22 record, the Bucks sent minor shockwaves through the league by firing Hall of Fame point guard-turned-head coach Jason Kidd after four seasons with the team and handing their reigns to interim coach Joe Prunty for the remainder of the season.
Sure, the Bucks haven’t totally fallen apart in Prunty’s hands, having finished the season with a 44-38 record following a season finale loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, but if they are going to take the next step as a franchise and finally make a push for the soon-to-be wide-open Eastern Conference they will need to reinforce their coaching ranks.
And for Wright, this opportunity may simply be too good to pass up.
Unlike many teams searching for a new head coach after the season, the Bucks are firmly a playoff caliber team, with a quality NBA roster loaded with quality players like Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton and 2017 Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon.
Oh yeah, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
For those unfamiliar with the Greek Freak, he’s quietly developed into a legitimate top-10 NBA player with a feathery handle, highlight real dunks, and the ability to play all five positions and with the right coach, forget about it, he could go down as the best player in NBA history.
Measuring in at 6-foot-11, 222 pounds, Antetokounmpo lead the 2016-2017 Bucks in all five categories (point, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks) and while he hasn’t had to handle quite as large of a burden with the addition of ex-Pheonix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, the Milwaukee forward has remained a matchup nightmare, averaging over 27 points, four assists and 10 rebounds as the Bucks number one options.
Now imagine how much better he would be in Wright’s system.
In a league dominated by zone coverage and schemed open offenses, Wright has challenged the conventions of college basketball by running a remarkably pro-style assault over his stint on the Main Line, with his players often covering there man one-on-one, and shooting the three ball at a once unimaginable clip, and he’s done so without relying on one-and-done talent.
While hardly a ‘system’ offense, Wright’s scheme has lived or died by its point guards. When helmed by the likes of Ryan Arcidiacono, Kyle Lowry, and Jalen Brunson, it’s been almost unbeatable, but with Giannis running the show, we could be talking about NBA Championships.
Much like current Sixers point guard Ben Simmons, Antetokounmpo has flirted with the one guard position at times over his tenure in Milwaukee but has mostly remained on the wings as a combo forward where his length, speed, and athleticism can be effectively deployed against opposing team’s best players.
But with a creative coach like Wright, the East yet another 6-foot-10 point guard.
Lauded for his instincts and high basketball IQ, Antetokounmpo is a Hall of Famer in the making, but for that to happen, the Bucks need to commit themselves fully to bringing in the best possible head coach to further his development as both a player and a leader.
Wright is a great teacher.
Sure, the Bucks would need to surround their best player with a number of high clip three-point shooters (just like the Sixers did with J.J. Redick) as Antetokounmpo hits the three about as well as Simmons, but with a three happy head coach like Wright steering the ship, it’s entirely possible that the Bucks could become the NBA’s next great team, and allow the Nova great to truly develop into one of the best basketball coaches ever.
But would Wright actually leave Villanova, even for a once in a lifetime opportunity to coach the Greek Freak?
You can breathe easy Nova Nation, because as of right now, the answer appears to be no.
In a recent interview with Dana O’Neil at The Atlantic, Wright stated that he has no desire to leave Villanova for the pros, which is obviously great news, but as with anything in college sports, this stance is subject to change. I mean remember how Matt Rhule said he would never leave Temple for Baylor?
With the Bucks heading to the playoffs to face off against the Boston Celtics in the first rounds, the team obviously isn’t knee deep into their head coaching search at the moment, but whenever their season does end, baring a crazy Cinderella-style championship run, expect the team to at least show interest in Wright, however misguided it may be.
While he’s obviously built something magical at Villanova, it’s understandable that Jay Wright may eventually want to test his mettle at the professional level, the only question is when. With a seemingly perfect opportunity to take over a playoff team and coach one of the best players in the league, the Milwaukee Bucks may give Wright the best opportunity to continue his winning pedigree at the gam’s highest level but will he take it? Only time will tell.