The Milwaukee Bucks are one of just eight NBA teams who will enter the 16/17 NBA season without their own D-League affiliate. If General Manager John Hammond's interview on 620 WTMJ yesterday was any indication, it might not stay that way for long.
In an interview that otherwise wasn't too earth-shattering, Hammond told WTMJ's Greg Matzek that the Bucks expect to add their own affiliate "probably within one more season," a welcome move for a franchise that has often been reticent to use the NBA's minor league over the last decade.
Instead of only being able to allocate players like Damien Inglis and Rashad Vaughn to teams thousands of miles away with coaching staffs of other teams, a local D-League affiliate would enable the Bucks to install their own coaching staff and system, assuring alignment with the organization's broader development goals. There are still good arguments for keeping young players with parent clubs -- practice time against veterans, adjusting to life on the road, etc -- but having the chance to cycle players down for rehab stints or to simply get some minutes would be a major plus.
Off the court, establishing a new D-League franchise somewhere in Wisconsin would also provide another avenue for extending the Bucks' brand outside Milwaukee. That's been a renewed point of emphasis since the arrival of principal owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan -- the new Wisconsin state alternate logo isn't a coincidence -- and it figures to make even more sense now that the state has chipped in money towards the team's new downtown arena. No one said it would be easy catching up with the Packers, Brewers and Badgers in the broader state's sports pecking order, but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying.
As for where a potential franchise might go? Well, Madison and Green Bay would be the first options that would jump to most people's minds, though the presence of the Badgers, Packers and UWGB mean there's already a fair bit of winter sports competition in both markets. So smaller cities like Appleton (near Green Bay), Kenosha (not too far from Milwaukee) and La Crosse (previously home of a fairly popular CBA team back in the day) also figure to get a long look and may ultimately be the best option. Ideally you wouldn't want the team too far from Milwaukee -- players and staff might need to go back and forth fairly frequently -- though from a brand perspective it'd be nice to get it outside of the shadow of Milwaukee county, too.
Some more bits and bobs from the internet this week:
- Here's me talking to Justin Garcia on WTMJ 620 about Dwight Howard and the Bucks' offseason: Related: I have no desire to talk about Dwight Howard anymore.
- The intrepid Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal wrote a fun piece about NBA players lying about their heights. Fittingly, there's a fun Giannis quote at the end.
Even abnormally tall forwards don’t seem as sensitive about the 7-foot threshold anymore, and that’s in part because of the positionless nature of today’s NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was drafted three years ago by the Milwaukee Bucks at 6-foot-9, but has since grown to 6-foot-11 at age 21, says he’d have no issue with being known as a legitimate 7-footer if he grew another inch. In fact, he said, it would be kind of cool.
"Honestly," says Antetokounmpo, who has been tabbed as the Bucks’ starting point guard next season, "I want to get taller."
Khris Middleton the Milwaukee Bucks' plus-minus star for second straight year https://t.co/GwATdJQ6TV— Frank Madden (@brewhoop) May 2, 2016
Podcast: Debating DeMarcus Cousins, Jabari Parker's fit in Milwaukee and the Bucks' odds of draft night dealing https://t.co/gRj4JJ253k— Frank Madden (@brewhoop) May 4, 2016