“Our best case is to make the playoffs. It’s not, ‘Let’s make sure only so-and-so plays, because they need experience.’ We want to play them, but we also want to win.” – Marc Lasry.
This quote from Zach Lowe’s piece on the Bucks at Grantland may have paralyzed some Bucks fans, reminding them of something so familiar.
“We want to be a good team. We want to get to the playoffs; we want to win in the playoffs.” – Herb Kohl (June 2013)
There are a few things Bucks fans need to understand.
1. Bucks fans do not need to worry about this organization valuing short-term goals over long-term success.
Edens and Lasry have already put a lot of time and effort into improving the Bucks organization, including hiring more than 50 new people in various departments. Making the playoffs this year would be great, but, as detailed throughout Lowe’s piece, it certainly isn’t a major goal.
2. The Bucks are not destined for the top of the lottery.
Making this team bad enough for the top of the lottery would require a lot of work. For all of their current faults, Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Larry Sanders, and Brandon Knight are quite talented (and quite young), and the team’s group of talented veterans will keep the Bucks from sinking into the dregs of the NBA.
Also, there are a lot of really bad teams in the Eastern Conference. There will be no campaign to get the Bucks into the top of the lottery this year.
3. Attempting to win games isn’t an awful strategy in building an NBA team.
For some reason, many people have it in their head that the only way for a team to rebuild is to purposely tank for top picks. But, as detailed by ESPN’s Henry Abbott, “tanking” has rarely worked.
The Bucks should be trying to win games. They should have playoff aspirations, but they shouldn’t mortgage the future for those aspirations. Right now, the Bucks should be concerned with creating the right organizational culture. Encouraging winning basketball is a big part of that process.
What to Read
Milwaukee’s Makeover: How the Bucks Decided to Buckle Down and Play for the Future: Mentioned above, Zach Lowe’s piece on the Bucks is fantastic and well worth your time.
Fun with shot charts: KL Chouinard of Bucksketball broke down the shot charts of each relevant Bucks player and did everyone a big favor by analyzing each shot chart and pointing out the most important trends.
While offense takes flight, Bucks’ defense rests: The Bucks were 5-5 after 10 games and 6-6 in their next 12 games, but they obtained those .500 records very differently. Brew Hoop’s Frank Madden examines just what has happened in Milwaukee as the Bucks have struggled recently on defense, but figured it out offensively.
Clip of the Week
Obviously, this is a really cool dunk from Giannis Antetokounmpo, but this clip is so much more. The key to the dunk is his head start as he catches the ball. If Antetokounmpo is going to continue to be hesitant to shoot the 3, he needs to find ways to keep defenses off balance and this is one of the ways to do that.
Week in Review
Friday: After a close first half, the Bucks turned up the defense and pulled away from the Miami Heat down the stretch in a 109-85 victory. Kendall Marshall filled it up off the bench, scoring 20 points in just 24 minutes.
Sunday: The Dallas Mavericks have a historically great offense. The Bucks do not. The Bucks just couldn’t keep and feel 125-102.
Tuesday: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are back. They announced that loudly on Tuesday helping the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Bucks 114-101. The duo combined for 51 points on 55.5 percent FG shooting and 87 percent shooting from the line.
Next Week’s Preview
Saturday: After an unusual four day break, the Bucks will welcome the white hot Los Angeles Clippers to Milwaukee. The Clippers have won nine straight with Blake Griffin leading the way, averaging nearly 26 points per game in the last two weeks.
Monday: The Bucks start a week-long West Coast road trip with the Phoenix Suns, who experimented with their chemistry over the summer by adding a third point guard in Isaiah Thomas.
Wednesday: The Portland Trail Blazers will present quite a challenge as they’ve lost just five games this season.
Stats of the Week
6.8: Giannis Antetokounmpo is attacking the basket much more aggressively this season and it shows in the average distance of his shots. Last year, Antetokounmpo was taking shots from 10.8 feet away from the hoop on average, but this year that number is down all the way to 6.8 feet. (via Basketball Reference)
17.3: The Bucks currently have the third worst turnover percentage in the league as they turn the ball over 17.3 times per 100 possessions. (via NBA Stats)
31.8: Getting shots close to the basket is a focus for any team, but the Bucks are really doing a nice job with it this season, currently average 31.8 shots in the restricted area per game, the league’s third highest total. (via NBA Stats)
Quick Bucks is Milwaukee Magazine‘s weekly roundup of all things Milwaukee Bucks written by Eric Nehm. You can yell at Eric or explain to him why you think Marcus Haislip was actually a better dunker than Darvin Ham on Twitter @eric_nehm. See last week’s column here.