- NBA Rank: 28
Conference Rank: 13
- Milwaukee Bucks
The young Bucks might just be poised to put in their year in Hell. Milwaukee was "stealth tanking" (we told you this before the season) last year en route to selling the team. Now that the team is sold, it seems to be following a weird mirror of the Thunder's rebuild/relocation timeline. If you remember, the Sonics were sold in 2006, then tanked for Durant in 2007, went through a season of hell in 07-08 (which got them Westbrook), then moved to OKC after failing to put together a new arena deal.
If you're keeping track, Jabari is Durant in this scenario, last year was the tank season and this year looks to be the year of hell with an uphill battle to get a new stadium deal. Seattle, in a complete role reversal, is playing the role of the other city that is tempting the team to move away.
I like this young roster and believe in their future but this is going to be a year in the trenches.
I'll quote the Bucks preview from last year:
The two key ideas behind this roster are the future and the tradable assets.
Bucks fans should consider this an open audition for the team of the future. The pieces brought in (or kept) reflect that. Brandon Knight has not been a good NBA player but he's getting every chance to prove he can be. OJ Mayo has been an ok player and here he gets a chance to be showcased. Butler and Neal have playoff pedigree.
We should all be prepared to see these guys actively shopped for picks, young players, or expiring deals. In fact, management may have brought them in specifically for just those purposes.
The true Bucks nucleus looks to be the very young rookie Giannis (another clue right there) together with the Sanders, Henson, Ersan, and Udoh rotation.
This team is young and could exceed expectations but I do expect that their front office will do their best to keep them in the lottery hunt. The fact that every other team in their division has a real shot at 50 wins or more should help their lottery chances a lot.
We got some of these right.
|Ramon Sessions ||909.0||28||.135||2.5|
|Caron Butler ||821.0||34||-.007||-.1|
|Ekpe Udoh ||804.0||27||-.043||-.7|
|Luke Ridnour ||763.0||33||-.018||-.3|
|Jeff Adrien ||705.0||28||.212||3.1|
|Gary Neal ||607.0||29||-.074||-.9|
|D.J. Stephens ||15.0||23||.164||.1|
Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.
As I said it was all about the future with this team. The roster they actually put on the floor was pretty darn terrible (if fun).
People talk about the Sixers tanking and being terrible, but this Bucks roster was every bit as bad. The situation was not helped at all by Larry Sanders losing his mind during the season. You'll note that the two best per minute players for this team last year, Jeff Adrien and Ramon Sessions, have moved on. This is still a long term project.
|Jabari Parker ||3.0||1805.0||19||.077||2.9|
|Jared Dudley ||3.0||1320.6||30||.057||1.6|
|Jerryd Bayless ||1.5||810.0||27||.042||.7|
|Kendall Marshall ||1.0||587.9||24||.079||1.0|
|Johnny O'Bryant III ||4.0||420.1||21||.013||.1|
|Damien Inglis ||3.0||420.0||19||.043||.4|
Indicates that the player is new to the team.
The Bucks are preparing to throw out a ridiculously young roster. That youth means that we can expect a lot of these guys to improve this season. It also means that they're not close to being ready.
All the improvement for this team must come from the players on the roster. The historical data says this is an excellent (long term) plan. I've done the crunching on this before. Build a team of youngsters, identify the stars, grow them together and turn them into a contender. With Parker and Giannis, it looks to me like the Bucks are on this road.
But barring a significant comeback from Larry Sanders, playoff glory is still a ways off.
Last year, the model and I both thought that Vegas was dead on at 28.5 wins. Larry Sanders' precipitous drop-off in production made the result worse than expected. This year, again, the Vegas over/under at 24.5 looks right on.
I was tempted to like the over before I found out about the stadium/relocation issue. Now? This feels like a tragedy unfolding for Bucks fans.