I have long been living under the belief that tanking is not acceptable, that losing in general is unacceptable, and that at all costs my sports teams should win games even at the cost of draft status. Unfortunately, this is not the real world for the NBA anymore, sometimes you really do have to lose in order to turn the corner.
Not only are the Bucks now a team that needs to lose to get better, they are actually a team that is fighting hard but still losing any way. How much more could fate step in to tell the Bucks what is required of them?
It is thrilling, although still frustrating, to see that they are trying as hard as they can to win despite the ultimate result being loss after loss. This is actually the best of both worlds because it enables the team to get better in the long run, while not enraging fans like me with a lack of effort in the mean time.
It isn't ideal, losing never is, but it is the best case scenario for the future of Milwaukee's professional basketball team. We all know the truth, we all have lived with the bitter neglectful truth for a long time: the Bucks have been stuck at below average to mediocre for years. The difference now is that for the first time the future of the Bucks feels sincerely bright. It is no coincidence that the optimistic feeling comes when the win/loss columns are severely stretched into the red.
The addition of a top 5 talent in the upcoming 2014 draft pick to a core of Brandon Knight, John Henson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Larry Sanders is just too intriguing to stick to the archaic stance of winning at all costs. This time the "at all costs" portion of the conversation could be the difference between finally joining the upper echelon of teams and continuing to toil away in mediocrity or worse.
It is a cruel twist of fate that requires teams to drastically lose in order to get drastically better, but the absolute best players in the NBA come from the lottery or from Free Agency. Unfortunately for the Bucks though, Wisconsin just isn't the draw that California, Florida, Texas, and New York are for the best Free Agents. That facts leads them to being stuck having to draft the best players in order to get a top level talent to play for them.
This year though is finally the crossroads for Milwaukee. It is a year of losing to get better in the long run, and it's one that is not even requiring a suspension of sportsmanship morals to be accomplished. This team is capable of growing into something special with the addition of a great player, and they just so happen to be too young right now to avoid the top end of the draft anyway.
It comes down to picking the right player which is an art that often leads to spoiled canvases, but this year the talent at the top is so good that it is hard to go wrong. It is a great year to lose, even if losing always hurts.
The growth within the youth of this team and the addition of a lottery pick next year has me dreaming of a team finally capable of reaching the pinnacle of success. The time of the Deer isn't here yet, but it finally does feel like it is on the horizon.