The Milwaukee Bucks Chronicles (Volume 1): Winning Isn’t Always Winning

Posted: June 7, 2013 in Sports
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Author’s Note: This is from the “lost archives” about the Milwaukee Bucks.

Is winning really winning when it comes to the Milwaukee Bucks or is “winning” setting them back from crafting a real future?

For years, there has been this big question about how to fix the Milwaukee Bucks. I found it to be very annoying because I haven’t found the Bucks to truly be “fixed” since I was eleven years old in 2001. But anyway, now more than ever, to me at least, the question of how to “fix” the Bucks has never been more relevant than it is now.

Larry Sanders could spearhead a new era for the Milwaukee Bucks moving forward. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Larry Sanders could spearhead a new era for the Milwaukee Bucks moving forward. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

The truth of the matter is, the Bucks can NOT be fixed. Instead, the success of this franchise depends on smart drafting and actually developing the players that they draft, rather than trading them away to “win now.” The Bucks are at a crossroads right now and they if they want to turn things around significantly, timing is the key. To be more clear, now is the perfect time for the Bucks to huddle up and decide where they really want to take this franchise moving into the future.

For the better half a decade, the Bucks have been like that pair of glasses on that one kid in elementary school that never truly got fixed but instead gets ridiculous amounts of duct tape put on it to keep it together and functioning at a minimal level. You know, the taped glasses kid. The NBA is elementary school, the Bucks are the taped glasses kid and its roster is those damn taped glasses.

Looking only at recent Bucks history , players like Richard JeffersonJohn SalmonsDan GadzuricStephen Jackson and countless others have all been brought or re-signed in with either the hope for one of two things: 1. the promise that they are that missing piece to put the Bucks toward the top. (or) 2. A large contract that they never live up to, in addition to option number one.

That whole Stephen Jackson thing went south... quick. (Photo courtesy of Gary Dineen/Getty)
That whole Stephen Jackson thing went south… quick. (Photo courtesy of Gary Dineen/Getty)

Hope is something that a team is supposed to do so you can’t knock the organization for believing in players, signing them, promoting them and hoping they do well. If they didn’t do that, they wouldn’t be a very good organization and I honestly believe that the Bucks are a decent organization with some very bad luck. REALLY BAD LUCK.

The fact that I’m writing all of this about a franchise that is fresh off a playoff berth as I sit next to a “Beat Miami” playoff towel saddens me. Countless reports about how star player Brandon Jennings wanted to leave initially seemed like the worst thing to happen to the poor franchise. As the season went on, more and more reports that key contributors such as Monta “Monte” Ellis and J.J. Redick were “unlikely to re-sign” seemed like, again, the worst thing in the world. Not to mention that the coach that started the season (Scott Skiles) left mid-season for one reason or another. Initial reports were because Skiles had a “frosty” relationship with some in the organization. Those were later rebuked, so no one really knows for sure why the two parted ways. None of that matters now.

Again, if the Bucks are to get this thing together and make a successful turnaround like Indiana or Seattle/Oklahoma City, it is going to depend on timing… And luck of course… always that.

With Skiles out, the Bucks turned Assistant Coach Jim Boylan to close out the season before eventually deciding to move onward to bringing in a new coach. This is where the timing would start to come in. The Bucks are at a point where players don’t want to come here, neither do some coaches (Jerry SloanStan Van Gundy). However, this next hire that the Bucks make at the position will be vital in turning around the culture of this franchise. I hate that I even had to write that because it’s so obvious. The Bucks need to establish a new identity and now is the time to begin doing so. The coach will be the face of anything the Bucks have moving on so hiring the right coach is paramount at this point.

Unlike teams like the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks, the Bucks don’t really have too much of a sway with players these days. However, what they DO have are some talented young players that have shown some passion about donning a Bucks uniform. Larry Sanders and John Henson both have shown that they have potential to be a part of a new culture in Milwaukee. Both guys were excellent draft pickups that gave this team size, something that they lacked in the past. While the Bucks do have young players that show promise for the future, creating a newfound culture of winning is something that will take some time. Not a quick signing or fix.

The Bucks have been doing pretty well lately with their drafting. I believe that Jodie Meeks could have been a solid part of what the Bucks could have been. The same thing could have happened with Tobias Harris. Instead, that potential was dealt away for guys that have since come and gone…Except for J.J., who again, is reportedly “unlikely to return.”

With the arena situation hanging over their heads and Seattle (reportedly) looking over their shoulder, it is very necessary that the Bucks have a productive image of a team moving forward to make building an arena an easy sell. The last thing that the organization needs is a heavy flow rumors of stars wanting to leave, mysterious coach vacancies and an on-the-court product that is a seventh seed at best on a great day.

If it is really true that Brandon, J.J. and/or Monta want to leave Milwaukee, I’d say let them. That way the Bucks could continue to start fresh. They would have a new coach; why not start fresh on establishing an entirely new culture in the locker room? This is the crucial first step that the Bucks have to not drop the ball on. (DON’T HIRE VINNY!) Next they will need to cool their jets on bringing in these quick fixes. There comes a time where “win now” and make the playoffs isn’t satisfying enough. The most satisfying change that I believe many of us want to see is long term change, aka a true rebuilding process.

No more fix ups, no more Steven Jackson-types; it is really the perfect time for Milwaukee to get it together and work on building for bright future. There are already a couple solid pieces in place and if they play their cards right in the upcoming draft, the Bucks may be closer to long-term relevance than we may think.  I don’t know about y’all, but I think it is time for the Bucks to some new specs instead of continuing to be that kid with the taped-up glasses in the back of the class.

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