Michael Hunt wants change, and makes a pretty compelling case for why. The Brewers' promising about-face on and off the field has left their NBA sibling as the dunce of the state's pro teams, though we should also be clear that the Brewer resurgence was given a huge shot in the arm by a publicly-funded new stadium, something the public doesn't seem thrilled about doing for the Bucks. Still, Hunt is right that the onus is on Herb Kohl and company to get with the times before it's too late (if it's not already).
The Bucks will change only when the culture of the franchise changes. The times have changed, and the only real concession the Bucks have seemed to make is jumping on the NBA's garish in-game entertainment train. Except that real change doesn't come at the barrel of a T-shirt gun.
There is a model for culture change the Bucks could emulate right here in town. The Brewers used to have that provincial feel about them, the mom-and-pop store against a league full of Saks Fifth Avenues, but credit the Seligs greatly here before they sold: They hired Doug Melvin and Jack Zduriencik. Vice presidents with World Series experience, from San Francisco and Anaheim, were brought in. And Mark Attanasio has created a big-league atmosphere that has allowed the Brewers to compete again.
No one can force the senator to sell, and when he does you can only hope he keeps to his word that it will be to local investors who would want the Bucks to be here forever. Until that time, it is incumbent upon the senator to identify big-picture NBA people, pay them to change everything about the way the Bucks operate and get out of their way.
- Yi Jianlian scored eight points (3/8 fg, 2/2 ft) along with two rebounds in 23 minutes of action in the rookies'136-109 loss in the Rookie-Sophomore game last night. Yi's first bucket came on a dunk, as he scrambled the ball past a defender on the right side and flushed it home uncontested. He also hit a turnaround jumper out of the post from the left elbow and hit a tough 20-footer from the top of the key. While guys like Rudy Gay, Jamario Moon and Sean Williams looked born to play in the free-flowing, defense-optional format, Yi looked mechanical and a bit out of his element. He seemed intent on treating it more like a regular game, but then later seemed to realize that setting screens and waiting around on the perimeter wasn't going to get him anywhere. Unfortunately he ended the game by just missing a tall alley-oop pass and then seeing his one-handed up-and-under dunk attempt go off the back iron.
- Jim Paschke is following Yi all weekend and has lots more on what Yi has been doing both on and off the court. Jim also is bringing you Bucks Weekly video wrapup at Bucks.com.
- Tom Enlund recaps Yi's night and finds that the rookie isn't hiding his anticipation of the Beijing Olympics.
"I think that right now I'm just preparing my heart for the Olympics," said Yi. "I'm working and struggling in practice to get my skills up to be ready for the Olympics. It's definitely helping that I'm having this NBA experience."
- Marty Burns at SI dishes out grades for the Rookies and Sophomores.
- The Bucks' struggles haven't put the brakes on Truman Reed's reporting over at Bucks.com. He checks in with Yi ahead of all-star weekend:
As Yi reached the midway point of his rookie campaign, he was asked if any particular highlight stood above the rest.
His answer was typically succinct, but it said a lot.
"This," he replied with an almost sheepish grin and a chuckle, pointing to the shelf adjacent to his locker holding the trophy trophy recognizing him as the NBA’s Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for December.
And he's also showing some love to our man Jake Voskuhl, who sounds like he's having some fun in spite of what's typically been happening on the court.
"After the game, since we had Sunday off, I went back home, picked up my family and some friends and we went to a giant hill downtown right near the hospital," Jake said. "We went sledding at like 3 in the morning and just tore it up. We had so much fun.
"That's the kind of thing you might ordinarily do in the offseason, but you never know how much it's going to snow, so you have to take advantage of it."