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Public arena funding still faces opposition, Knight deserving of an All-Star bid?

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

London coverage from yesterday. The Bucks showed no ill-effects from jet lag or driving on the other side of the road, easily handling the New York Knicks 95-79. If you missed the game--perhaps because it happened in the middle of the day local time--check out our recap.

Our friend James Plowright provided a ton of great coverage of the Bucks' London trip. You'll definitely want to check out his interviews with the team from London media day if you haven't already.

Poll: Opponents outweigh supporters of public funding for Milwaukee Bucks - Milwaukee Business Journal
The dangers of throwing around raw polling data are well-established, but for what it's worth, this poll suggests that people are, in fact, generally opposed to having their money spent on things that aren't themselves. But even then, it's close.

The January 2015 Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Inc. survey asked 600 statewide respondents to assess their support for putting tax dollars toward the team.

Thirty-six percent of respondents favored the idea, although only about seven percent said they were strongly in favor. Conversely, of the roughly 40 percent of respondents who opposed public funds, nearly 24 percent identified as "completely opposed" to the idea. About 23 percent of people polled were neutral toward public funding.

FWIW: The WPRI is a conservative non-profit think-tank based in the Milwaukee suburb of Hartland that conducts polling and policy development in line with its advocacy of free-market economics.

Bucks owners build power base by getting business people in game - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
No polls needed to convince most folks that getting public financing for a new arena is going to be a battle, even if the eventual plan and bill come out looking more attractive than originally expected. As such, Marc Lasry, Wes Edens, and Jamie Dinan have sought to shore up their case by enlisting the support of a number of local business leaders. This means bringing in more local investors, including five announced last week. Bucks President Peter Feigin says the investors to whom he has spoken have all agreed to help build support for the arena project. Many of the newest additions to the ownership group also have ties to Governor Scott Walker and others in the Republican-controlled legislature. Establishing connections with the conservative-majority state government is seen as a key strategy in securing the support of lawmakers for any public financing plans, especially given Lasry and Edens' well-known Democratic ties.

There's still a lot of work to do before the realities of the project become clear, but discussions are taking place regularly. Speaking with media members last Friday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos downplayed the possibility of securing financing directly from taxes, but said there may be attractive alternatives.

"If we just took a portion of that increasing revenue, nothing we're getting today, but only revenue we're bringing in over time that we would certainly lose if they left, and put that toward the Bradley Center where it needs to be or a new Bradley Center. That's a good economic investment from a taxpayer standpoint, as somebody that represents the district that recalled George Petak over the Brewers," Vos said.

That's basically the exact concept that our Frank Madden outlined back in November.

Let's pick the NBA All-Star teams -
No mention of Brandon Knight as Paul Flannery and Tom Ziller pick their All-Star reserves. The top-5 reserves are tough to argue (Lowry, Irving, Butler, Millsap, Horford) but the two wild cards are more debatable. Ziller chose Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver while Flannery took Chris Bosh and Kemba Walker.

Walker is a particularly interesting comparison for Knight. Their per-minute stats are very similar and Walker narrowly outpaces Knight in PER (19.4 to 18.6) and WS/48 (.131 to .126). Knight has a large advantage in scoring efficiency (57.2 TS% vs. Walker's 51.0) but his turnover rate is more than twice as high. Walker has more name recognition, but Knight's team has played better this year. Could be a tough choice if those two are candidates for a limited number of spots.

Stephen Curry, John Wall lead Amin Elhassan's All-Star picks -- ESPN
For ESPN NBA analyst Amin Elhassan, Knight's case is strong enough to demand a spot on the team.

Brandon Knight should make the All-Star team; his is one of the feel-good stories of the season. I had a coach recently tell me that he thought Knight should win Most Improved Player over the likes of Butler and Draymond Green because "At least we knew those other guys could play." Perhaps no one has rehabilitated his image and built up his free-agent value as much as Knight.