Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer heaps praise on Bulls assistant Josh Longstaff

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Rob Schaefer
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Budenholzer, Donovan detail what Josh Longstaff brings Bulls originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Billy Donovan made hiring Josh Longstaff as an assistant coach one of his first significant moves with the Bulls.

And it wasn't the first time he tried to hire Longstaff, who got his break in the NBA working a variety of roles for the Thunder from 2010-2014 before moving on to a player development position with the New York Knicks.

"I’ve known Josh for quite a bit of time. We have a lot of mutual friends," Donovan said. "We had a position open when I was in OKC. He was just finishing up maybe his first year with the G League team as the head coach, (the) Milwaukee (Bucks) decided to move him up to behind their bench, and I think he wanted to stay put where he was at. Obviously, coming to Chicago, when something opened up in front of the bench, I called him up and he had interest and we talked."

Indeed, most recent on Longstaff's resume is a two-season stint in an assistant role on Mike Budenholzer's staff with the Milwaukee Bucks, which also featured responsibilities with their G League affiliate.

Budenholzer could hardly have heaped more praise on Longstaff when asked what he expects him to bring to the Bulls before the two sides tipped their matchup on New Year's Day.

"Great coach. He's somebody that's been around for several years now, I've known for a long time," Budenholzer said of Longstaff. "I think he's one of the young, bright minds in our league. I think the fact that he was a head coach in the G League really gave him an opportunity to kind of grow at a really fast rate and understand the whole big picture, what it's like to be a heard coach and how -- defense and offense and player development -- a whole program fits together. And so I think he's gonna be invaluable to Billy Donovan. He's great with players, building relationships, developing talent, developing skills. I'm a huge Josh Longstaff fan."

Donovan added that those qualities have translated seamlessly to Longstaff's first weeks on the job in Chicago.

"He’s a very, very good basketball guy. He has great enthusiasm. He is really good relationship-wise with the players. He’s very sound in terms of schemes and strategies," Donovan said. "I think he’s an outside-the-box thinker. In OKC, people spoke very positively about him when he was working in the video room."

And Longstaff is a grinder, having started his coaching career with an assistant gig at Portland High School -- his alma mater -- then head coaching two seasons at nearby Gorham High before the Thunder tapped him.

"He’s taking the hard road so to speak, working his way up the through the ranks," Donovan said. "Loves the game, works very hard, incredibly bright and a great guy."

Budenholzer sees continued success ahead.

"I miss him (Longstaff) a lot, but I'm also excited for his growth and his opportunity with coach Donovan and the Bulls," he said. "I just couldn't think better or more highly of a coach or a friend."