Hold up a second here.
When we conducted this little exercise last year, we knew what the Bucks were. Or, at least, we thought we knew what they were likely to be. And that knowledge pretty clearly colored our rankings. Young players who had proved little were prioritized over old players who had proved much (though that being proved wasn't always enticing). It was all about potential, because the Bucks were at rock bottom. Nothing mattered but the future and the loftiest of aspirations.
Now we're a year removed, and our assumptions were proven...well, about half wrong. The Bucks weren't great, and for much of the late portion of the season they weren't even that good, but they definitely weren't horrible. The rebuilding plan got accelerated in the minds of many. And as a result, we're seeing some funky results early in our roster rankings for this year.
Because in consecutive responses (three-straight, if you buy the value of even a terrible rookie season from a recent draft pick), the Brew Hoop community has elected to cast off young players whose value still falls almost entirely on the "potential" side of the spectrum, despite cap-friendly contracts and youth to match the team's timeline. First Tyler Ennis and now Damien Inglis (the 8th-ranked player on our board last year) have been jettisoned before the likes of last-year's 18th- and 15th-ranked players.
To be fair, there isn't a complete lack of justification. Ennis wasn't very good last season, and we really don't know what to expect from Inglis. Both have injury concerns and (probably) limited trade value. And both are likely to see little more than spot minutes on the squad this year, though whether that's a wise choice is up for discussion.
Still, even if the course corrects soon, we're seeing a pretty fundamental shift in how Bucks fans view the optimal makeup of the team. Potential has, at least in part, given way to a pretty hopeful reality, in which the Bucks have opportunities that need immediate attention. There's certainly some truth to that. Maybe it just caught me off-guard, especially the degree to which folks think the momentum of last season will carry over (and indeed, grow) this season. Will that meta-prediction bear out? Your answer probably has a lot to do with who you're voting for next.
Milwaukee Bucks 2015 Roster Rankings
15. Johnny O'Bryant
14. Tyler Ennis
13. Damien Inglis
Cast your vote for the next guy off Bucks Island below. Remember -- production, potential and salary all matter, though you can weigh them however much or little you like. Here's the Bucks' updated cap situation as a refresher: