The tiny water bottles were out in full force this morning, as the Bucks offically introduced Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton, two-thirds of the package that came to Milwaukee in exchange for Brandon Knight (Viacheslav Kravtsov wasn't there, sadly). They were flanked by head coach Larry Drew and a rather enthusiastic GM John Hammond. More on that in a bit, though.
Though the roster is in the midst of a massive overhaul, it was pretty clear that both Hammond and Drew have the same idea as to how they wanted to shape said roster and what they wanted the main points to be.
BUT DON'T YOU DARE CONFUSE THAT WITH TANKING. More on that in a minute.
From Coach Drew, on how Knight and Middleton fit:
"When John and I had conversations about the possibilities, and looking at what our chances were of bringing in pieces to what we feel is a puzzle at the very beginning of this whole process, we wanted to bring in a certain type of player, a certain caliber of player, and a certain type of young man. Both of these gentleman sitting up here are two guys who I feel are really going to be a big part of our future, a big part of the equation in terms of building something special here, building a culture. These guys fit the bill, and I'm excited about what we've done this summer."
So it seems that the focus is centering around getting younger and finding potential building block pieces moving forward, but there were a few more layers to Hammond's vision, as well as affirmation of what we already were thinking.
"Where we are now, there are three key points that we need to focus on. Number one is our financial flexibility. We have great flexibility moving forward, and we'll be prudent as we move forward and make sure that we make the right decisions in dealing with that."
"Number two is the youth of this team. We looked at a piece like Brandon, and being able to acquire him as a 21-year-old point guard (he'll be 22 this season). But we really want to start talking about the youth on this team and what we have with the young pieces."
Admirable. He has a point, though. Pretty much anyone that the Bucks may be considered to be building around is under the age of 25, with Ersan being a small outlier at 26 years old. Hammond added that having Ersan, "one of the best stretch 4's in the NBA," being one of the veterans means that your roster is in a pretty good spot, as far as potential progress is concerned.
"The third point I think would be the veteran players we brought in. With a young team like this you need veteran guys who will help lead and mentor these type of players."
Again, cool. This all makes some sense.
Then things got a little bit weird. Encouraging in a way, but weird.
"People use these words like ''tanking." We are by no means in that mode whatsoever. We're trying to remain competitive, we want to be a competitive team, and I think we can be a competitive team. Also, we really want to start focusing on the youth of this team and start talking about things like a championship caliber team and building around the young players that we have on this team and can they develop into a core like that."
"I think they can. We're going to have to have the right kind of people, people that say I want to be a part of that and will work hard enough to become that. We need players to develop and say "I want to become that. I want to be the best player I can become," but also, it's very important that we have the right kind of people that can say that I want to become great, but not more important than winning, and winning a championship someday. I think we should start talking about [becoming a championship caliber team], and I think that we can become that."
It is refreshing to see John Hammond get passionate like that, though. In past press conferences, Hammond would play things a little more mildly, saying that he thought so-and-so could help their ball club win games or improve this or that area of the team. The change (if even a minute one) in mindset is definitely something to keep an eye out for in future transactions.
However, some people might begin tugging at their collars a little bit, as this may have the makings of those panic ''get better'' moves down the line. It's one thing to say that you're committed to building a potential championship caliber team. It's all the more important though to make sure you're able to walk before you can run.
- Brandon Knight said there was "no doubt in his mind" that he is a point guard, and nobody really offered up any defense to that.
- Knight will wear #11 for the year, and Middleton will wear #22. The Bucks also tweeted out that O.J. Mayo will take Brandon Jennings' old #3. Meanwhile, Nate Wolters spent his day numberless with Giannis Antetokounmpo at the NBA's rookie photo shoot.
- You don't have to worry, Larry Drew used his plethora of buzzwords, such as ''same page,'' ''committed,'' and ''family.''
- Knight and Middleton were up early already working out with Gary Neal this morning, who is house shopping while he gets acclimated to his new digs. Hooray for camaraderie!
More from Brew Hoop:
- Giannis and Larry hit the practice court, Pistons think Jennings is worth the risk
- Slava Kravstov likely to be released by Bucks: A tearful farwell
- Caponomics | Brandon Jennings trade completes reset of Bucks backcourt
- Bucks sign second round pick Nate Wolters
- Saying goodbye to Brandon Jennings, who never made it easy to believe