22 March 2016 – Photo Credit: Milwaukee Bucks Gallery
With the 2015/16 season winding down and the playoffs less than a month away, it seems as though the Milwaukee Bucks will miss out on the big dance.
This season may go down for the Bucks as one of their most disappointing in recent years. The Bucks came into this season with very high expectations. They came off a very strong first round series against the Chicago Bulls (minus game 6). They drafted Rashad Vaughn out of UNLV in the and made a big splash during free agency; re-signing Khris Middleton and signing Greg Monroe. After the surprise of last season, many expected the Bucks to take that next step to become a contender. But were people’s expectations for the Bucks a little too high? Coming in to the season, the Bucks were one of the youngest teams in the NBA. They had brought in a bunch of new faces on the team and let go of some key veterans such as Zaza Pachulia and Jared Dudley. They probably couldn’t handle the pressure of being circled on everyone’s schedule and not flying under the radar like last season. As we look back on this season, it may be disappointing, but it shows signs of a brighter future down the road (maybe even for next season).
There have been some bright spots in this season so far. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker have developed their chemistry and are clicking together. They are already proving to be a good dynamic duo and maybe the focal points of the team for years to come. The Greek Freak also has managed to become the first Buck to record three triple doubles in a season. Jabari’s comeback from the ACL injury he suffered last season has been fun to watch. He had also recorded a career high 36 points vs the Rockets earlier this month. I felt like the Bucks haven’t had a legit go-to guy on the team since Ray Allen and Michael Redd. At their current progress, I think Giannis and Jabari both can take the mantle of go-to guy. They have the potential and are developing nicely.
Another positive is that the team is still young. The Bucks are like fine wine, they need time to age before they are ready to serve. They also need to be more confident in their abilities. Giannis and Jabari’s recent performances are signs that they are getting more confident in their abilities. As they get more confident in their abilities, it will result in better quality of basketball. The rest of the team can also respond to seeing their two stars getting better and motivate them to be better as well. If they keep it up, next season, they can go from a disappointing team with a ton of talent, to a talented team with the potential to go far in the Eastern Conference. One year can make a difference in a lot of ways. Despite some of these positives, there have been plenty of disappointments this season.
Starting with the fact that injuries had plagued the Bucks all year (including Jason Kidd with his back issues). Mayo, MCW and even Steve Novak (who they picked up a few weeks ago) are all out for the rest of the season due to injuries. The team was not clicking right away and guys did not know their roles. This hurt the Bucks early on and they haven’t entirely recovered. The team’s horrible road record outside of Milwaukee and showing up for certain teams and not the rest has been very frustrating. How do you hand the Warriors their first loss of the season and then get blown out by the Lakers a few days later? This is why it is important for the team to mature and prepare for any team as if it was the last game of their lives. Also rumors that had spread throughout the season on social media calling for Jason Kidd to be fired, trading MCW and Monroe and bringing back Brandon Knight may have been hard to ignore. The Bucks have often been called a team of the future. But fans often don’t want to hear about the future. They often worry about the here and now. Fans even ask, “When will ‘Own the Future’ become ‘Own the Present’?” Bucks fans need to be patient and enjoy the positives of this season and look forward to next season and that the Bucks will be even better than they were in 2015 when they made the playoffs against the Bulls.
Although this season has been disappointing, there are still signs that the future is bright. The Bucks are building chemistry, they are getting more confident, they are still competing and they are not purposefully tanking the season. Bucks fans still need to express some patience while waiting for this young team to mature. Keep in mind, teams like the Warriors, Cavaliers, Clippers and Thunder, all had to endure years of disappointment before they became title contenders. During those years, they all have shown signs that their futures were bright. The Bucks are the same position. They have two future stars in Jabari and the Greek Freak. They also have good role players in Middleton, Monroe, Henson, Bayless, Plumlee and Vaughn. Jason Kidd can get better as a coach and teaching these young Bucks how to win. With a new arena potentially coming as well, the Bucks are looking like a good team already. Some fans might say make some changes or start from scratch. In this case, change may not be a good thing. The Bucks are heading in the right direction. If they stay at this pace, they might find themselves in a place they haven’t been since 2001, a legit contender in the Eastern Conference and maybe a legit title contender.