4 reasons why the Milwaukee Bucks had the worst year in the NBA
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As many Milwaukeeans painfully know, it’s difficult being a diehard Milwaukee Bucks fan. For every glimmer of hope (Brandon Jennings making a layup, Larry Sanders catching a pass, Ekpe Udoh catching a pass), there are dozens of reasons to subdue that hope (See Joe Dunk, Drew Gooden, the Bradley Center). This past year, owner Herb Kohl once again put the present ahead of the future, and his desire for a meaningless playoff berth caused the Bucks to have arguably the worst year in the NBA. Here are some reasons why:
Traded for Stephen Jackson
The season started off on the wrong foot when on draft night, general manager John Hammond decided to call the Charlotte Bobcats. He agreed to drop down 12 picks in the draft to exchange the terrible Corey Maggette for the terrible and insane 33-year-old rapper Stephen Jackson. The Bucks’ ridiculous desire to be average, and their obsession with acquiring over-the-hill wing players around draft time (see Corey Maggette), caused this move. It was clear that Jackson in Milwaukee with coach Scott Skiles would never work. Before the lockout shortened season even started, Jackson was talking about wanting a contract extension, and that if anyone on our team was scared, “they should go to church.” Once the season did start, he had little commitment to defense, showed no discernible basketball talent, and quickly got benched for good, until he was traded at the deadline with Andrew Bogut. After the trade, Jackson called Skiles a “college coach,” and his nine-month term as Milwaukee’s première lunatic was finished.
Played Drew Gooden
By all accounts, Drew Gooden seems like a great person. He tries hard and hustles when he’s on the court, he’s an above-average passer, and he’s extremely active in the community. But good golly his defense is atrocious. The Bucks gave up 12.7 more points per 100 possessions when Gooden was on the court, and when you compare those numbers to Larry Sanders—who gave up 11.6 less points when he was on the floor—it makes one wonder if Skiles was deliberately trying to lose. The Bucks still have the opportunity to amnesty Drew Gooden this summer and clear his five-year, $32 million contract off the cap. But this seems very unlikely, as most in the Bucks’ front office (Kohl) adore him, and believe that he’s the key to getting the coveted eighth seed.
Sold low on Andrew Bogut
Andrew Bogut had a frustrating seven-year career in Milwaukee. Under Skiles, he quickly became an elite defensive center and fluctuated between outstanding and abysmal on offense. There were times when he was the second-best center in the NBA, but an aching back, migraines, or a freak injury always held him back from being consistent. The most severe of his freak injuries, a gruesome fall during the Fear the Deer campaign, clearly limited the mobility of his right arm, and he struggled mightily on offense. So when he rolled his ankle early in the 2011-12 season, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give him time to fully heal his hand/elbow/arm. But nope! “Sell, sell, sell” said the Bucks, and they shipped him and Stephen “TrillStak” Jackson to Golden State in exchange for Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh.
Didn’t make the playoffs
The four reasons above all happened for one reason: to make the playoffs. But the Bucks didn’t, and the hapless team got to watch the playoffs from the illustrious ninth seed. They failed to capitalize on assets, sold low on their franchise center, played Drew Gooden 26 minutes per game, and dropped 12 spots in the draft all to make the playoffs. They went all-in and failed. And now, all signs point towards them once again gunning for mediocrity, as evidenced by their recent trade for Samuel Dalembert and insistence on keeping Drew Gooden. Average doesn’t win championships, and neither will this roster. Be Milwaukee. Fear the Dur.