If we reject the stealth tank conspiracy theory (which states that Bucks GM John Hammond secretly built a team to lose by signing defective and deficient veterans during the offseason) and focus on the reality that Herb Kohl values a playoff push more than a bump in NBA Draft Lottery odds, the 3-13 start by Milwaukee probably isn't what the organization wanted. But now we're here, and with nearly 20 percent of the regular season in the books the Bucks are last place in the Eastern Conference and on pace to win 15 games this year. That's not a white light you see at the end of the tunnel, Herb. It's a precious ping pong ball with your name on it.
The team has fought hard over the years to win the affection of local fair-weather fans searching for entertainment when the Packers and Badgers take a break from playing football, but this time the uphill climb for playoff excitement feels too daunting. And considering what NBA scouts are saying about this incoming draft class, the timing couldn't be better. The organization has some convenient cover from the injuries to Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Luke Ridnour and Carlos Delfino to shift the focus of the team to the development of younger players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson, Brandon Knight, and Nate Wolters. For the first time in forever, the Bucks may actually cater to the needs of loyal hardcore fans who have stuck with the team through a bad decade or two.
But if things continue on the current path, it raises the question of whether the jobs of Larry Drew and John Hammond could be in danger. Drew was hired to be better than what he's shown so far, especially in terms of coaxing a professional effort out of his team every night. Hammond could be under fire for an offseason plan that has largely backfired. The additions of Luke Ridnour, Zaza Pachulia, Caron Butler, Carlos Delfino, Gary Neal, and O.J. Mayo don't look particularly good at the moment, so it's fair to wonder if the GM will feel the heat for possibly building a 20-win team in a terrible conference. Would summer hire David Morway allow Kohl to make a bold move if Milwaukee turns into a bad joke by April? Would such a move even be justified?
In the latest podcast episode, Steve von Horn and Frank Madden discuss the potential fallout for a failed season and then transition into the more exciting byproduct of a crappy campaign: A premium pick in a loaded draft! Dante Exum excites Frank due to his length and quickness, while Steve has developed a soft spot for low post threat Julius Randle. Jabari Parker and Marcus Smart also receive consideration due to their advanced skill level and enticing size, but ultimately there's a compelling reason to consider Wiggins the top choice for the Bucks...even if he's not the top player on the team's draft board.
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