ESPN has come out with updated future rankings for all NBA franchises, the Milwaukee Bucks are now 18th, up from 29 last November, up from 21 in March. I would argue the Bucks should at least be in the top half of these rankings due to immediate outlook, young stars Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut, and great a great management team led by GM John Hammond and head coach Scott Skiles. I am not a crazy Bucks homer and think the team belongs in the top five or even top ten due to the lack of new arena and the market the Bucks are in, but they should be higher than 18.
Here is how ESPN breaks down each category
PLAYERS (0 to 400 points): Current players and their potential for the future, factoring in expected departures
MANAGEMENT (0 to 200 points): Quality and stability of front office, ownership, coaching
MONEY (0 to 200 points): Projected salary-cap situation; ability and willingness to exceed cap and pay luxury tax
MARKET (0 to 100 points): Appeal to future acquisitions based on team quality, franchise reputation, city’s desirability as a destination, market size, taxes, business and entertainment opportunities, arena quality, fans
DRAFT (0 to 100 points): Future draft picks; draft positioning
Players 180 20th. This makes little sense, 20th? The Bucks made the playoffs last season, are expected to be in the top 6 of the East this season. Their best players are Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut who are both under contract long term. The Clippers, Knicks and Kings were all ranked ahead of Milwaukee in this category. HOW?? ESPN again gives more credit to what you haven’t done that what you have. They are putting a lot of stock in Sacramento’s big two of Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins, one or both will be traded within 4 years. The Knicks suck, simple as that. The Clippers have Blake Griffen who has not even played yet. I understand basing things on future projections but shouldn’t the players have to play at least one minute before we give them a boost? Cousins and Griffen have not set foot on an NBA floor yet those two players were big reasons those two teams were ahead of the Bucks.
Management 129 11th: This category should have been in the top 5. After Phil Jackson and Larry Brown there may not be a better coach in the league than Scott Skiles, take a look around. John Hammond has built a playoff team from a scrap heap with smart trades and quick free agent signings. This is one category that should have been in the top 5.
Money 100 15th: This put the Bucks in the middle, I have no issue with that. When Redd comes off the books the Bucks will have some extra money but they will not butcher the roster for specific free agents like several teams did last year.
Market 38 22nd: This was better than I expected.
Draft 47 17th: What a stupid category, based on future draft picks and draft position. Sounds like something ESPN would add in to allow wiggle room. Some teams may have stockpiled some future draft picks but those do not mean squat if they are not in the top five or six, or that team does not know how to draft.
Things like this are done for fun so we shouldn’t get too upset about it. If ESPN ever used some common sense and saw they had the Knicks, Clippers, Kings and Pacers ahead of the Bucks they would fix it. Giving the Bucks a more appropriate player rating of at least top 12-14 and giving the management team its fair due would boost the Bucks to where they belong, somewhere in the top 14.