Awesome column by Gery Woelfel over at the Journal-Times. And by "awesome" I mean candid, insightful, depressing, and suggestive of everything you were worried was true about the Milwaukee Bucks. Larry Krystkowiak doesn't foresee a trade before the trade deadline on Thursday, which is equally unsurprising and indicative of the Bucks' resignation to doing nothing until the summer. On behalf of fans paying good money to see the Bucks disappoint on an almost nightly basis, we thank you. Among the many interesting nuggets in the article, Woelfel suggests that Herb Kohl's meddling might include not just personnel decisions, but game tactics as well:
In a couple of conversations after last season, I couldn’t help but sense the excitement in his voice when he talked about implementing the triangle offense and how it would benefit so many Bucks like Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd and Mo Williams.
The Bucks began using the triangle offense during the Las Vegas Summer League, and Krystkowiak continued to use it during training camp and in preseason games. He liked what he saw.
But then, poof, it was gone. Completely gone.
Why? Who really knows? Krystkowiak never gave any legit reason, stating only that it was a nice instructional tool for getting his players to share the ball.
Several players and other Bucks’ personnel contend it wasn’t Krystkowiak’s decision to abandon the triangle. In their minds, he was instructed to change the offense and that the mandate came from Bucks owner Herb Kohl.
Even if it's not true, the mere existence of this perception is a striking indictment of the cultural issues at play. As much as Krystkowiak has struggled as a rookie coach, he at least deserves the latitude to fail on his own without the help of his owner. Woelfel also offers another indictment of the Bucks' way of doing business, which again sees the names Ron Walter and Mike Burr come up:
In hindsight, management’s bungling of Charlie Bell’s contract negotiations over the summer had an adverse effect that snowballed over into the winter. Instead of immediately giving Bell an offer that was commensurate with his quality of play from last season, Bucks owner Herb Kohl and his negotiating team — which includes Ron Walter, the vice president-alternative governor, and Mike Burr, the chief financial officer — dragged its feet on a contract that should have been finalized relatively quickly...
But this wasn’t the first time the Bucks’ negotiating team has rankled someone over the years. I’ve had discussions with several former Bucks general managers, coaches and agents and they revealed their frustrations in how contractual matters were handled.
According to several NBA execs, the Bucks are believed to be one of only two teams in the NBA that negotiate trades, contracts, etc. by committee. The other is the Los Angeles Clippers. Need more be said?
- Speaking of the Bucks' fearless leader, Kohl offered some unsurprising "insight" in an interview this weekend with the JS.
What has to change? Kohl was asked. "We have to start winning games," he said. "That's primarily a function of playing better down the stretch. That's where we've lost so many of the games that we had a good chance to win. We haven't made it happen in the fourth quarter. Last night was a good example of that.
"We went into the fourth quarter tied against one of the best teams in the league. And we played them even almost entirely in the fourth quarter and lost the game in the last couple of minutes. Which has been plaguing us most of the year."
The Bucks have been so unlucky this year that their record in games decided by five points or less is just 10-9. Oh wait a minute, that's actually pretty good...
- Andrew Bogut spoke to the Daily Telegraph about the Bucks in 07/08, contract extensions, the Olympics, and the future of Australian basketball.
"That's something I'm going to be adamant about in off-season negotiations. It isn't going to be all about money for me, it's going to be about my role within the team: I want it to be bigger and better,'' Bogut says.
"At the same time, I'd rather be on a winning team than take $70-80million (over five to six years), so I think if we're building for the future, that's definitely something I'd like to be a part of.'' Bogut says he's not an NBA star, but he plans to be.
"I definitely think I can be an All-Star in this league. It's a matter of working hard and progressing, not just saying it. Once I'm ready, I'll know and everyone else will know, put it that way. But I've got a lot of work to do, I'm nowhere near where I need to be.''
Free throws, Drew. Start making your free throws and everything else will come together.
Sunday Bucks Notes
By Frank Madden