Budenholzer, Bucks planning to return this season

Bucks players are receiving coordinated film work and might start doing group video sessions.

General view outside the Fiserv Forum on March 12, as the game between the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

The Milwaukee Bucks are planning to be back on the court this season.

On hold since learning via a team group chat on March 11 that the regular season would be paused indefinitely, the Bucks are hopeful the season didn't end a month before the playoffs were scheduled to begin.

"We are operating and functioning and just have a mentality that we will play," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said during a recent conference call. "I think it's important for players and all of us to function that way, to think that way, and it's out of our hands. Luckily, (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver and the league office, they'll make the hard decisions and they'll do what's best for everybody, but I think it's certainly important that we kind of operate and have a mentality that we will play again, and we'll be excited about that if and when it does happen."



Milwaukee has an NBA-best 53-12 record and is the top seed in the Eastern Conference despite losing three games in a row before the hiatus began.

"A lot of people find it hard to believe, but we actually live and believe it every day," Bucks general manager Jon Horst said. "We've taken a focus to get better every single day and to literally just focus on getting better every day, not thinking about championships or Finals or opponents that we're going to play weeks out or months out, but to really think about how to improve every day. That's been a mantra and something that we believe in and something that's ingrained and built into kind of the fabric of who we are."

On the other side of the hiatus in the Western Conference stands Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who reiterated he has "no idea" nor any feel for when or if basketball will be back this season. He had said March 21 in a TV interview in Dallas that contacts at the Center for Disease Control indicated a possible return to play in mid-May.

"I mean, the only thing I know is that we're going to put safety first and we're not going to take any chances," Cuban said on ESPN's "Get Up."

"We're not going to do anything that risks the health of our players, our fans, our staff, the whole organization. So right now, I really don't have anything new to say."

Bucks players are receiving coordinated film work and might start doing group video sessions. The team is also doing individual workouts at their homes, but not all basketball activities are feasible for all players.

Budenholzer said he has indulged in a few popular series on Netflix, such as "Ozark," but otherwise has committed time to studying potential playoff opponents.

"Basketball-wise, I would say we are kind of finding ways to dig into potential playoff opponents, maybe not just first round, but Eastern Conference," Budenholzer said. "And right now that's kind of where we are, with kind of a little bit more emphasis on if the season ended today it's very, very close with Orlando and Brooklyn (as the seventh and eighth seeds)."

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