In the previous chapter of this two-part series, I discussed why the Milwaukee Bucks would benefit from continuing to compete in the Eastern Conference, despite losing Jabari Parker to a torn ACL. It was a piece about optimism and perseverance. I’m afraid that what you’re about to read may seem far more bleak. These are the reasons why the Milwaukee Bucks should tank the rest of the 2017 season, despite their three game winning streak going into All-Star Weekend.
1. Stacked draft class
It’s been said by many scouts that this year’s draft field is as deep as the 2003 draft that produced LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Now that is a lofty proposition. Guys like Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr., and Josh Jackson, among others, and not proven, but all of the potential is there.
The Bucks really couldn’t go wrong by drafting any position this year. Other than rookie Malcolm Brogdon, they don’t have a strong, true point guard (I argue that Matthew Dellavedova has been a disappointment). Fultz, Ball, Smith, De’Aaron Fox, and Malik Monk could all bring elite point play to the team. If the Bucks do in fact move on from John Henson and/or Greg Monroe, they would be wise to snag another big to pair with Thon Maker. 7-footer Lauri Markkanen has shot up draft boards all season, and he could be the best big in the class. Jackson, Jayson Tatum, Jonathan Isaac, and Harry Giles are all among outstanding forwards entering the draft. The Bucks wouldn’t even have to be among the worst teams in the league to pick up a stud in the first round. This year’s draft seems deeper than ever, so even if the Bucks don’t tank, per se, they could still end up with a great player.
2. Why get to the playoffs just to lose in four or five games?
In part one, I discussed the possibility of the Bucks upsetting the Cavs, Raptors, or Celtics in the postseason. That was meant to give the reader a warm fuzzy, not to paint a picture of reality. This Bucks squad is talented, no doubt. But if anyone realistically thinks they’re ready to win a seven game series against the best of the best, they haven’t been paying attention. Could they beat the Wizards? Sure. The Bulls? Probably. But there is no way they would be able to move up that high in the standings, and that begs the question; why fight for a playoff spot that only guarantees not having a lottery pick?
3. Minutes for the youth
“The youth” is an ambiguous term on a team whose oldest player not named Jason Terry is 31 years old. In this instance, the youthful players would be Maker, Brogdon, and Rashad Vaughn. Also, 10 of the 15 players on the roster were born in the 90s. Now, Brogdon has consistently seen good minutes on the floor, and Maker has recently been starting and playing efficiently. Vaughn still has never seen sufficient playing time, nor has he been very productive. The team should be expecting that Brogdon and Maker be part of the long term “Own The Future” plan. What better time than now to see what the future beholds in those two, by consistently giving them 30 plus minutes per game?