This will not be your average recap. My apologies in advance.
The Bucks finished their finale like they did 66 other times this season, falling short in a 111-103 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. After three quarters of pretty competitive basketball, Atlanta continued to stay relatively efficient while the Bucks sputtered down the stretch. Milwaukee started out equally as crisp as Atlanta with 13 first quarter assists, but only managed 12 the remaining three quarters while Atlanta quietly chugged along and wound up with 29 assists of their own. Sharing the ball led to a wide distribution of points, led by Mike Scott (17 points, 4 assists), Mike Muscala (15 points, 4 rebounds), and Cartier Martin (14 points, 6 rebounds). Upon further review, those are silliest leading scorers and now I feel kind of bummed. Oh well, season's over.
On the Bucks end of the things, a trio of youngsters put up very solid performances. Brandon Knight (31 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists), John Henson (19 points, 5 rebounds), and Khris Middleton (16 points, 7 rebounds) all performed pretty well in their final games of the year. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 10 points and 5 rebounds (and a stretchy dunk at the end) to close out his rookie year on a decent note. In the second half, the minute distribution shifted slightly towards the young guys, a fitting way to end a season that had seen the focus of the franchise begin to focus more and more on the young talent going forward.
At the same time this (franchise-worst) season was ending, you could feel the sense that the next one was already beginning. But before folks could look ahead to the future, they deemed it best to pay their respects to the past. During the game, Bucks owner Herb Kohl was honored by TV color analyst Jon McGlocklin, which garnered the large standing ovation Kohl very much deserved (Vine courtesy of Jim Owczarski from OnMilwaukee.com)
Later in the game, the Bucks paid tribute to Kevin Vanderkolk. If the name doesn't ring a bell right away, it's because Vanderkolk has been hiding inside the Bango costume for the last 13 years. After a brief video tribute, Bango was brought to midcourt where the fans give another deserving person (er, deer?) a heartfelt standing ovation.
To be frank (not madden, just regular), I hardly paid attention to much of the game, because tonight was about so much more than 48 minutes to decide whether this season would end with 66 or 67 losses. With the announcement of Kohl selling the team earlier this afternoon, the discussion of the new era could begin. There are still so many obstacles that will need to be met and passed to get a successful product on the court (and a new arena for them to play in), but the standalone fact that Bucks fans can go into the summer with some honest-to-goodness excitement about where the franchise appears to be headed cannot be ignored. They wrapped up the best lottery odds on Monday and are soon to have new minds calling the shots and it honestly makes most of us feel the best we have in a really, really long time.
So, now what? What do we have to immediately look forward to under the new regime? For starters, there are a few important dates to keep in mind up until the all-important draft.
- April 27th-- NBA Draft Early Entry Eligibility Deadline
- May 14th-18th-- 2014 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago
- May 20-- 2014 NBA Draft Lottery (start praying now, please)
- June 16th-- NBA Draft Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline
- June 26th-- 2014 NBA Draft