If you missed part 1 of the recap talking about Herb Kohl's time in front of the mic, check it out here.
Hey, guess what? The Bucks have a LOT of new faces in town. 11 new faces on the team, to be exact. Generally, massive roster overhaul isn't good. Yes, whatever wasn't working is now gone, but that means a lot of what you built your team upon was not going to work. In short, an overhaul like this usually comes with some pretty sour vibes.
To the Bucks delight, this season's overhaul has been met with mostly positive feedback. For a team like the Bucks to be given an opportunity to press the franchise restart button after coming close to being shackled to something that was bound to get ugly was a rare stroke of luck.
That is not to say that the team is a year or two away from being title threats or even conference finals contenders, but having a roster filled with guys who seem like they want to be in Milwaukee and part of this community is, at the very least, refreshing.
General Manager John Hammond sure views it as a positive, citing the players' desire to be here, as well as having almost all of his players under contract for multiple years, this during his Q&A at media day. Having everyone on board for this season is great, and Hammond cherishes that. But he didn't dismiss how the Bucks got here. He even acknowledged how difficult it was for last year's squad to form that cohesion. With so many players unsure of where they'd end up playing this year, there was almost no way of achieving that.
"Being around the league as long as I have (13 years), I know that it's difficult to go through free agency on the last year of your contract.
"Guys wake up in the morning, and when you're a free agent, every day you wake up and the first thing you think about is what's going to happen to me. Most of the guys try to come to work and be focused on the team and doing what's right, but being on the last year of your contract is not an easy way to live.
So, I think having guys who are under contract will help us. I do think we have an attitude of players that want to be here, which I think can help us. I don't want to be critical of the guys that were here, because that's not easy. I'm just saying that on the other side, I think it's a very positive fact that we have an attitude of guys that want to be here. I think that can help us win games."
Interpret that however you'd like. Point is, the vibes surrounding the new team are better than they were four months ago, even if it comes as a result of 73 percent of the roster being new.
Majority overhaul isn't new to (also new) head coach Larry Drew. Last year as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, he had to introduce nine new players to his roster and make them a productive unit. Drew did end up leading the Hawks to the sixth seed, though they ended up being eliminated in six games by the Indiana Pacers.
So, how will coach Drew get these guys on the same page as quickly as possible? "We're going to force feed them. We have no choice." The Bucks better be hungry, because their first preseason game is only eight (!) days away.
Per contra to last year with the Hawks, Drew doesn't feel the pressure to meet any set expectations with the Bucks, at least right away. His focus is elsewhere at the beginning.
"My focus right now is to get these guys all on the same page as fast we can. We feel that with what we have, it will take some time to get everyone on the same page. [There are] so many new faces, but it's something that I embrace as far as the challenge is concerned. I look forward to having all the new guys on the same page, getting them playing together. We'll play the right way. We'll leave it all on the floor, and that starts tomorrow."
As eager as everyone is to see what this fresh start yields, time is going to be the only true judge of what is assembled. Nobody, not even the head coach knows what he'll see tomorrow. The challenge ahead is definitely daunting. But with everyone intent on remaining on the same page, more good vibes than bad are hopefully on their way.
(Sorry, I couldn't resist).