JS: Walker opposed to extending stadium sales tax
Responding to comments from Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce President Tim Sheehy, a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker stated his opposition on Thursday to extending the Miller Park stadium sales tax to help build a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. This comes on the heels of Walker turning down the Bradley Center's request for $10 million in state bonding back in March, with the budget again cited as the issue. Earlier Sheehy had raised the possibility of extending the 0.1% sales tax beyond its expiration in 2018, but it's also clear that he's a realist who seems more intent on starting a discussion than getting a deal done in the short term. For more, check out his interview with WSSP on Thursday morning.
Walker's opposition is hardly good news for Bucks fans, but in many ways it'd be crazy to expect Walker to throw his weight behind an arena tax when he's preaching fiscal responsibility in Madison--especially when the Bucks aren't threatening to hit the road anytime soon. Walker raised renovation of the BC as a possibility in his days as County Executive, but the political calculus just doesn't add up right now. And that's part of the longer term problem as well. Politicians worried about the next election cycle have a hard time being proactive about long-term, inconvenient issues, whether it's a new arena for the Bucks or funding social security. Still, the dialogue has to start well before the moving vans show up, so the increased chatter should be considered a very good thing. Considering that the arena issue has been mostly ignored up until now, there's no such thing as bad publicity, and Sheehy should be commended for raising the issue.
But while it helps to have community leaders talking, the real question now is when Herb Kohl makes it an issue. Until now that has always been complicated by his status as an elected official, but not running for re-election in 2012 simplifies things. Ironically, his generosity in sponsoring the Kohl Center in Madison with a $25 million gift will raise expectations that he make a similar (or more) commitment to a potential new Bucks venue, but it's not like the Bucks were ever going to get a new building served on a silver platter. The other key variable is the new CBA, which we'll have a resolution on much sooner than the arena question.
Woelfel: Team is on guard for draft
Gery Woelfel's first mock draft probably won't make many people happy: he's got the Bucks nabbing BYU guard Jimmer Fredette. Woelfel noted that the Bucks were Fredette's first interview today at the pre-draft camp in Chicago. and also tweeted that Fredette measured 6'0 3/4" barefoot and 6'2.5" in shoes. Woelfel also had a couple other tidbits from Chicago, including measurements from Tristan Thompson (a solid 6'7.5" / 6'9") and Kemba Walker (5'11.75" barefoot), as well as news that Jon Leuer worked out for OKC over the weekend and Kansas forward Marcus Morris will talk to the Bucks tomorrow.
Woelfel also spoke to the WSSP gang on Tuesday, touching on the Bucks' team needs, the arena issue, and some of the notable names in the draft. One thing I find a bit weird? All the talk about backup point guard being the Bucks' biggest need (or one of them). Sure, they need one more PG to round out the roster, but don't try to tell me that the Bucks' problems last year were rooted in Keyon Dooling and Earl Boykins not being good enough backup point guards. No one would claim they were terrific, and they weren't as good as Luke Ridnour in 09/10, but they're backups. Were we that spoiled by Ridnour's surprising season? Maybe. But let's not forget that Dooling had the best net +/- and adjust +/- on the team--pretty good evidence that the Bucks weren't hurt by him being on the court last year. And then there's Boykins, who single-handedly won three or four games while leading the team in PER--about as much as you can expect from a 34-year old third stringer who's shorter than my girlfriend.
The real problem was the Bucks' lack of production and consistency at virtually every other position, but that's the problem: the Bucks will have a very difficult time dealing guys like John Salmons, Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden in the short term, and odds are there won't be much flexibility to add free agent talent once the new CBA is in place. So the party line is that they don't need upgrades at those positions anyway, a stance that's part charade, part pragmatism. Still, it's a bit curious that wing depth hasn't been brought up more since Chris Douglas-Roberts and Michael Redd are likely gone and Luc Mbah a Moute isn't a sure thing to be back (as much as it pains me to write that).
Paschke: Tweeting from Chicago
Brew Hoop favorite Jim Paschke will be reporting for Bucks.com from Chicago this week and started with some tweeting today. Of note: Jim writes that the Bucks have already interviewed Colorado guard Alec Burks and that he "likes Milwaukee's players and system."
JS: Bucks show interest in Burks
There's no telling who will actually be available to the Bucks when their #10 pick comes up on June 23, but for the moment at least Burks is the mock universe's most popular choice to end up in Milwaukee. Charles Gardner writes that Burks' interview in Chicago didn't do anything to change that.
"It was a great meeting for me," Burks said of his interview with the Bucks. "They liked me a lot. I liked their staff a lot.
"I liked their system, where they're going and their players."
I haven't seen much of Burks, but the scouting report on him is appealing on multiple levels. For one, he appears to have all the physical tools, scoring instincts, and play-making ability needed to be a very good all-around NBA guard. He was extremely productive in his two years at Colorado--20+ ppg in the Big 12 with excellent efficiency, a very high free throw rate, and some of the best rebounding numbers among college guards--and it's precisely that kind of scoring productivity which the Bucks could really use. Most scouts agree he needs to improve his jumper and get better defensively, but at number ten there are no perfect prospects. We'll have much more on him in the coming weeks.
TrueHoop: Mbah a Moute scouts the superstars
Very cool piece written by Luc Mbah a Moute about his approach to defending some of the league's superstars: Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Dirk Nowitzki.
Bucksketball: History begs for low expectations at no. 10
We love charts, so of course we're down with Jeremy's latest post.
We're Bucked: The good, bad and ugly of Corey Maggette
K.L. Chouinard with a detailed look at Maggette's frustrating first year in Milwaukee.
Pune Mirror: Jennings takes his swings
It seems like Brandon Jennings has been in India for weeks, but at least the kid is making the most of his NBA-sponsored trip to Southeast Asia. Also: something tells me those quotes from Brandon weren't taken word-for-word.
Bucks.com: Skip Robinson honored
Big congrats to Bucks Director of Community Relations Skip Robinson for being honored by the Boys & Girls Club last week. Larry Sanders and Bucks VP John Steinmiller were among those who were in attendance.
Hickory-High: 2011 Draft Similarity Scores
Stat-heavy analysis: comparing draft prospects from this year to guys from past drafts. Interesting stuff.