Bucks fans, it's time to hit the reset button. In the midst of this brutal 6-21 start, the moment has come to take drastic measures and wipe the slate absolutely clean. But I'm not talking about starting fresh on John Hammond, Larry Drew or the players, I'm talking about you.
Bucks fans, it's time to hit the reset button on your emotions.
This is my first post on Brewhoop (or ever), so hear me out.
I'm a Bucks fan living in Los Angeles (I think the only one). I've been a fan for over 20 years and started reading Brewhoop in the last few years. I love the articles and really enjoy reading the comments. But I'm surprised by all the negativity.
Don’t get me wrong, I get it. This organization has put together an almost comical run of chaos and incompetence. Literally 10 years of escalating baggage. The Michael Redd years tried our patience, the Fear the Deer run gave us false hope, The Swag Twins made us bitter and the on-going Kohl edict to chase the 8 seed has turned us into a national laughing stock, with the Tobias Harris trade finally pushing most Bucks fans over the emotional edge. No doubt it’s been a rough decade.
But in the last six months some things have changed. And it 's time to let go of the past (believe me it feel good!) and start to embrace what is happening with the hometown team.
Here are 5 reasons to start getting excited about the Milwaukee Bucks.
I don’t follow the NBA religiously, but it doesn’t take a basketball expert to spot something special. And the Greek Freak is special. This kids has other worldly physical gifts and on any given night he does at least one thing that makes you say WOW. When is the last time you could say that about a Bucks player? Giannis is debatably the most buzzed about young player in the league right now and we should be having a blast with it. Regardless of what he ultimately becomes, Milwaukee hasn't had a reason to be this excited about a Buck's player's potential since draft night 1994.
So don't overthink it. Just be thankful that Giannis is a Buck and enjoy the ride.
2) We Escaped the ‘Curse of the Swag’
Go back to last spring. The two "faces" on our team were both undersized, over ego’d gunslingers who took bad shots, didn’t play defense and clearly didn’t want to be in Milwaukee. Both were about to be free agents and neither had much of any trade value. With the Buck’s track record in free agency, this was bound to end very badly. We risked losing both of them with nothing in return or worse yet signing one (or gulp both) to a long term franchise killing deal. But here we are 6 months later and somehow we got out of the Swag era fairly clean. For me that’s reason to celebrate all by itself.
And I personally don’t understand all of the negativity on Brandon Knight. He is an athletic, lighting fast guard with good point guard size. He plays hard, says all the right things, generally takes good shots and is a plus defender. So basically he’s the anti-Jennings. And let’s not forget he just turned 22 and should be a senior this year at Kentucky. I actually really like Knight and have high hopes that he eventually will grow into his enormous potential in whatever role that might be. Yes, he turns the ball over a lot but that is an area that can improve dramatically in young point guards as they grow more confident and begin to understand the pace of the NBA game. Let’s support this guy. I’m not saying that he’s going to be Chris Paul but at least he’s not Brandon Jennings. And that’s good enough for me.
3) John Henson is Doing Work
"John Henson doing work" is my favorite Bucks expression. It seems like John Henson is always doing work. He has already progressed light years since he was drafted last year and it feels like he is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. To me Henson just seems like the kind of smart, hard working player that will continue to get better year after year. And given how he is already filling up the stat sheet, that is a really exciting proposition. I don’t have some big analysis on the finer points of his game, I’m just hopeful that John Henson will be "doing work" in Milwaukee for the next 15+ years.
4) We’ve Got Milwaukee Guys
This one speaks to the first three. We all know that NBA players don’t want to play in Milwaukee. It’s just a fact of life for a small market team in a cold climate. It didn’t take a prophet to figure out that guys wired like Jennings and Monta, if given the choice, would never choose to stay in Brew City long term.
We all know that to build a championship caliber team in a place like Milwaukee you need to not only secure key players that fit the team on the court but also embrace the community off the court. In a place like Milwaukee (or Indiana, or San Antonio) that means finding players that enjoy a low key lifestyle and value team and winning over personal achievements and endorsements.
It’s hard to put a whole group into a box, but doesn’t the core young group on the Bucks seem to fit this description? Henson, Sanders, Giannis, Ilyasova, Knight, Middleton, Wolters all seem from the outside like low key guys that would embrace Milwaukee if the team could put together the right pieces and build a winning culture. Even Mayo, a top 3 lottery pick from the University of Southern California of all places, CHOSE to come here. Regardless of where this ends up, we’ve undoubtably seen a HUGE improvement in this area over where we were just 6 months ago (and for the last 10 years for that matter).
And this can only be a good thing.
5) For Once we have Great Timing
We’ve been talking about the tank forever, but the Bucks are actually bottoming out the year before what is potentially the most stocked draft in the last 20 years. And that is a beautiful thing. Whether that was by design or by some strange twist of good fortune doesn’t matter. We’re in a prime position to add another big piece to the future of this franchise.
Between Giannis and Henson I believe that we already have two long term two-way foundational players that can be the base for a likeable and highly competitive team. With a top 6 pick in this draft, we have an unbelievable opportunity to add a 3rd. And that’s not to mention players like Sanders and Illysova who at their best are boarderline All-Stars. Or young guys with plus starter potential like Middleton and Knight. And people seem to like to throw OJ Mayo under the bus, but if Mayo is your 5th or 6th best player, you have a pretty darn good team.
So fellow Brewhoopers, there you have it - 5 reasons to throw out all of the baggage, hit refresh and start to get excited about the future of this franchise.
Obviously it’s still going to be a painful season and there is a lot of work to be done to turn the Bucks into a consistent winner, but I for one feel that the organization has turned an important corner and there is finally hope that they are on their way to building the (swag-less) pieces for long-term success in Milwaukee.
Do you agree? Or should I hit the reset button on my posting career?