Here we go again.
As of February 24th, the Bucks stand at 22 wins, 35 losses. Last year at this same time, the Bucks were 26 and 28, and fresh off the acquisition of John Salmons. This team has never ceased to tease us all year, as we went through periods of, "Is this when they turn it around?" and "Is this what they're really capable of?"
Now or never? It was now or never a while ago. In fact, I feel like "Now or never" was the mantra before every single game, and still was after every...errr, not-so-fun-to-watch loss.
Right now? It was a very uneventful trade deadline for the Bucks (well, there's the possibility of Earl Barron!!), and I think it wasn't reasonable to expect that it would yield another player that would go on to give 20 points per game on 58% TS%. And if they did, how far could it possibly push them? The Bucks are 4 1/2 games out of the 8th seed, which is at best a rough fight with the Heat, Celtics, or even the Bulls, and at worst a humiliating beatdown.
Too negative? Eh, maybe. But when you come off a season like the Bucks had last year, you have expectations. Perhaps I should rephrase that. For a lot of teams, last year would be just another season. For the Bucks, it was a dream, sadly enough. The $107 million the Bucks invested this offseason doesn't quite help ease the pain either, but what can?
Well, for starters, It's not as bad as the $200 million that Larry Harris and company blew out the window in 2005. That's all I got folks, cheers.
I'm joking of course (Am I?). You need something you want to accomplish at the end of the year. Even if you don't make the playoffs, don't you have some goal for the end of the year? Obviously the team came into this season with a bit higher expectations, but like many seasons before this one we'll all have to settle for a lot less.
Perhaps you are still rooting for playoffs, which is completely fine. (PLAYOFFS? WE'RE NOT TALKIN' ABOUT PLAYOFFS!) Myself, I would love to have a magical run at the end of the year to top the last, but where oh where would we find one? The Bucks' offense isn't going to fix itself, will it? And even if it does, the Bucks have dug themselves a China-sized hole. If just making the playoffs is going to be a problem, then competing in them figures to be one too.
Or do you go the "rebuilding team" route, and root for player development? It's probably a good place to start, although with Bogut's grocery list of injuries and Jennings' attempts at building a new arena with nothing but bricks, you might still have just as much fun as actually rooting for victories. If these are the so called building blocks for the team, they better give me reason to believe. If Bogut and Jennings disappoint, then the other younger guys (Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Chris Douglas-Roberts) could fill in, but of course not to the extent. CDR's lack of playing time has been disappointing thus far, so it would probably be wise not to count on him for a whole lot. Larry Sanders has been delegated to the D-League as well, so that's one less young player to look forward to seeing, although he could be back after just a few games.
However, this goes back to that whole issue of putting the orange ball in the hoop. Skiles' teams are not traditionally good offensively. Are we underrating each individual's offense because the team itself just doesn't have the greatest offensive leadership? Or are they really that bad? Either way, we may just have to rate what we have within Skiles' system, because I highly doubt he's going anywhere soon.
You also have the chance for the next day to root for salary to be cleared...! Oh wait...
Then there's the last option. The path that no fan really wants to take but sometimes does out of pure pessimism and wanting to see a bright future. Rooting for losses and a higher draft pick. Truth be told, the Bucks aren't exactly built to tank (yes, that's what I was implying), but the way this season has gone, it's easy to take a "The grass is always greener" approach. And what better way than to look at all the good teams and their superstars, then look back at the Bucks' (none), and then look back to where all of them were drafted?
I won't explicitly say that I am "Pro-tanking," but I am leaning that way because I can't forsee this team going anywhere currently and I'm all for getting younger and better. However the plan isn't fool proof, this draft of all drafts especially. Apparently this draft is "weak" (although it does seem like they say that every year) and because of the probability of players dropping out due to labor uncertainties.
Because really, that's all the Bucks have to look forward to right now: uncertainties. At the end of the year I will be trying my hardest to forget all of this, as I imagine many others will. There doesn't seem to be an easy way out of this.
So, what do you want for the rest of the year? (Besides for it to be wiped out of your mind...)