I think I've finally figured out GM Jon Horst's game: You can't blame him for making questionable draft picks if he has nothing but second-rounders to work with (although that will not be the case this year).
That's the only reason I can fathom the Bucks stumbling their way, once again, dangerously close to an eight seed berth in the playoffs and an almost guaranteed wash of not only this season, but the off-season as well. Bucks fans deserve better than the double gut-punch of a sweep at the hands of the Toronto Raptors and the loss of the team's desperately-needed first pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, that timeline appears to be just beyond the horizon.
Sure, the Bucks went 2-1 last week, but those two victories weren't convincing in the least, and the loss was a disaster of an outing in Orlando against the Eastern Conference's worst squad. Milwaukee has virtually ran out of time to figure things out, with 13 games remaining and an uphill climb ahead if they have any hopes of avoiding a difficult first-round series against the Toronto Raptors.
It's like Groundhog Day come to life!
What’s Wrong With the Bucks? (The Ringer)
Not enough Brandon Jennings, if I was to guess.
In reality, pretty much everything is wrong with the Bucks (which has been the theme of the season). Giannis Antetokounmpo is special, but he's being relied upon to do literally everything, and now that role is taking its toll: Look no further than his new-found reliance on midrange jumpers on offense instead of trying to barrel his way to the basket to see his game changing to save himself from extreme effort.
Everyone else is an afterthought, and that’s a problem. Jabari Parker can still score in bunches, but his defensive deficiencies remain. Khris Middleton could slot in as an outlet for Giannis, but he loves stepping just inside the three-point line for a ticket on the Tough Shot Express. Eric Bledsoe needs the ball to be effective, but the team runs through Giannis. Thon Maker could be out of the league in a few years if trends continue.
So, there's a simple answer to a simple question: What's wrong with the Bucks? Damned near everything.
I appreciate what Jason Terry has brought to the team the past few years, and in a sense, it isn't the bench unit's fault that they aren't talented enough to make a significant difference on a nightly basis, but isn't it a little late to be calling out the starters for not doing their jobs?
At least Jason is inexplicably getting ~14.3 minutes a night. It definitely isn't indicative of how shallow the team is that a 20+ year veteran is getting that much burn.
How two friends brought Brandon Jennings back to Bucks (Journal Sentinel)
The interplay between Bucks GM Jon Horst and Wisconsin Herd GM Dave Dean brings up an interesting number of questions about how the two pursue their jobs. For Dean, he serves two masters: the parent club in Milwaukee and his team/fans in Oshkosh. Horst, on the other hand, can't possibly keep track of every moving part of G-League-level players.
It helps that the two have known one another for a long time within the organization, and the fruit of that friendship, at least in part, has been the return of Brandon Jennings to Milwaukee from time spent playing in China.
The Herd are still an embryonic organization figuring out its definitive path ahead. Maybe the transfer of Jennings from Oshkosh to Milwaukee is indicative of a future strategy, but as long as Dean and Horst are heading their respective teams, all options are open.
Can Brandon Jennings help this team? (Hoops Habit)
Speaking of Brandon Jennings, it might be helpful to evaluate how his first week back in town went.
After a near-triple-double in his debut against the Memphis Grizzlies, Jennings returned back to Earth with an averages line of 6.7 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.7 rebounds (shooting a mere 33.3% on threes with a ridiculously small sample-size). He can play within a half-court offense and is capable of making flashy plays to set up teammates in transition, but that tendency to attempt excessively difficult passes dilutes his effectiveness. In short, he's played about as well as an out-of-the-league third stringer guard could hope to in short stints.
Important to remember is the fact that Jennings may not necessarily be on the roster the rest of the season: If Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova are close to returning by the end of Brandon's 10-day contracts, he may find himself out of a use and job quickly.
Enjoy The Return for as long as it lasts, Bucks fans.
From the Social Media Realm
Who is “Malcolm Brodgon”?
Malcolm Brodgon ain’t walking through that door....— John Henson (@Johnhenson31) March 17, 2018
Brew Hoop member Kyle Carr making waves in the national media:
Holy crap they gave my article a shoutout!! https://t.co/GwnXt2hGhL— Kyle Carr (@KyleCoche) March 16, 2018
We've officially reached the “Sitcom Intro Graphic” segment of the regular season:
Can't tell if I should commend Khris for his honesty, or be upset that this is the state the team is in:
Another Bucks postgame quote, this one from Khris Middleton, “If we don’t play the right way, we can get our ass beat any night.”— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) March 15, 2018
And finally, a throwback to just-as-frustrating-times in Bucks history:
The degree of difficulty ticks up a notch or so this week with a visit to the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight, the hosting of the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, and finally a short road-trip featuring the Chicago Bulls on Friday. Each opponent has weaknesses that could be exploited by a competent team, but the Bucks surely aren't that.
At least the uncertainty should translate into unintentionally exciting basketball! Unfortunately, I don't see the Bucks having enough to stop either the new-look Cavs on the road or keep a Clippers team right on the cusp of the West playoff picture down. Hopefully we'll get the honor of seeing the team put one more smackdown on the Bulls before the season ends. All that together means I'm pegging a 1-2 week ahead.
Before we go, just remember that it isn't the fact that the Bucks don't appreciate their fans; it is more that we need to beat them over the head with it before they realize how deep our love runs: