Like pretty much every other Bucks fan under the age of 40, the high points of my fandom have proven remarkably few and far between.
There was the Big Three-era club that won 52 games and came within one game of the NBA Finals in 2001, and then...well, uh...not much else. In case you were blissfully unaware, that 2001 squad led by Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell remains the only Bucks team since 1989 to win 50 games or advance past the first round of the playoffs, a remarkable run of mediocrity that can only be explained by a wicked brew of bad luck, bad management, more bad luck and some more bad management. And so it goes.
Of course, all that heartache also provides an interesting lens through which to view the glimmers of hope we've had as Bucks fans in between, with the current iteration of young Bucks rekindling a sense of optimism that's been mostly gone since the Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut-led 2010 squad won 46 games -- still the second-best record in my life as a Bucks fan. A frisky combination of youngsters and vets (John Salmons, anyone?) helped that team rip through the league with a 22-8 finish, and even without Bogut they nearly sprung a playoff upset on Atlanta. So how does optimism now compare with our optimism back then? Dan Sinclair and I discussed that and a number of other questions on our latest podcast:
Episode 9: #FearTheDeer vs. #OwnTheFuture
On the surface, it's easy to say the upside of the current trio easily overpowers that of the short-lived 2010 squad. After all, Jennings never lived up to the lofty expectations that came with a sensational first month, while Bogut's gruesome injury in April 2010 rerouted his career path from two-way franchise cornerstone to eventual trade bait. Certainly the current group has more to offer than that...right? You'd hope so, but it's also easy to forget how incredible Jennings' first weeks in the league were, just how valuable Bogut was on both ends of the court, and how hot the Bucks were over the final two months of the season. For a brief period basketball was a big deal in Milwaukee again, and the franchise has been struggling to recapture the same intangible feeling ever since. Hopefully we won't have to wait much longer?