Over the last two decades the Milwaukee Bucks have been playing mediocre basketball at best. They have only made the playoffs three times in the last nine years. They have not won a playoff series since the ’00-’01 season. They have not had an MVP or an All-NBA First Team player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1974. They have had just one top five pick (Andrew Bogut, #1 overall, 2005) since 1996 and one All-Star (Michael Redd, ’03-’04) since 2002. Echoing Bucks fans everywhere, it is time for some change.
While owner Herb Kohl recently said that rebuilding is not an option, it may be their only option. Speaking of options, here are the options that the Bucks have:
Stay in house
The Bucks frontcourt has two future stars in Larry Sanders and John Henson. Sanders has already proven to be a defensive force for the Bucks and he still has plenty of room to grow,
while Henson is barely just getting his feet wet in the NBA. The Bucks also have a double-double machine in Ersan Ilyasova.
Milwaukee’s backcourt in an entirely different story.
Brandon Jennings, their starting point guard over the last four seasons, is a restricted free agent and has long said that he wants to explore other options. Monta Ellis, their starter at shooting guard, recently declined his $11M player option for next season and has also expressed interest in playing elsewhere. J.J. Redick, the main asset acquired in the trade-deadline deal with Orlando, is also a free agent.
The Bucks may elect to overpay for Jennings or Ellis, but both players have low basketball IQs and are not known for their winning ways. Milwaukee might also try and resign Redick, but while he is a solid scorer off the bench, he is not worth the money that he’s looking for in free agency.
If the Bucks want to stay in house and resign Jennings and/or Ellis they will remain mediocre and not get past the first round of the playoffs anytime soon.
Actively participate this offseason
Milwaukee is not a big market but it would not be impossible to convince a semi-big-named free agent to sign with them. Players like Josh Smith, Paul Millsap, Andre Iguodala and Jeff Teague would be decent fits with the Bucks. There are also smaller names that would fit in with the Bucks such as Tony Allen, Kevin Martin or Jarrett Jack.
There has been rumors surrounding a possible trade between the Bucks and Wizards that would send Ersan Ilyasova to Washington for the third overall pick in this year’s draft. The Bucks and Bobcats have also had discussions involving Milwaukee’s 15th overall pick.
While signing a free agent and/or trading up in the draft would be nice, it would not make them a real contender in the east by any means.
The Bucks already have a frontcourt that will be very good in the near future in Henson and Sanders. But Milwaukee has to take their time in developing their players
Constantly picking in the teens as the Bucks have been doing will not lead to success. Milwaukee needs to get a high pick in the 2014 draft which will feature a bunch of superstars such as Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Andrew Harrison and Aaron Gordon.
They will need to get one of those players so that they have someone they can build their franchise around.
If the Bucks get a high pick in the 2014 draft to go along with the talent they already have, they may be able to convince a top-tier free agent to sign with them. Those free agents will include players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Zach Randolph, Amar’e Stoudemire, Danny Granger and Rudy Gay.
Milwaukee can elect to resign their players and enjoy another dreadful season of mediocrity. Or the Bucks can realize that it’s time for change and start the rebuilding process. It’s fair to assume that every Bucks fan wants the latter.