The Milwaukee Bucks are in the process of building what they hope will be a contender. Having rolled with some early punches, their vision remains the same.
No one transaction in the NBA can be viewed as if it exists in a vacuum. Similarly, it’s never wise to be definitive before time takes it’s natural course.
The NBA world is predicated on reactions and flip-flopping due to it’s often fast changing nature, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary to step back and take stock of the bigger picture.
It hasn’t been particularly ugly and it hasn’t dragged on as long as similar scenarios have for others, but make no mistake about it. The Milwaukee Bucks are not far removed from a rebuild, and if we’re being honest, it’s still in progress.
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This wasn’t a teardown as much as a consistently mediocre team experiencing a number of sudden changes that led to a dramatic single season drop-off in 2013-14. That 15 season was dark but ultimately painless when compared to the struggles of other NBA teams. The Bucks emerged from the darkness very quickly.
With hindsight, we can know argue that they did so too quickly. A playoff berth in the following season provided a false dawn, and one that triggered a number of decisions that seemed questionable.
A disappointing 2015-16 season was the proof of that, but Milwaukee’s masterplan never changed and remains as exciting as it was on the night when those 15 wins were rewarded with the selection of Jabari Parker.
Milwaukee faces a big season in terms of growth and development. In many ways, although that doesn’t get overlooked by those inside and outside of the Bucks community, it gets muddled in with the expectations and changes that the franchise has experienced over the past few years.
It seems important to draw a line under some of what has been and to ensure that other details of the past don’t get forgotten. This isn’t a team or a franchise that should be judged by what they were supposed to be a year ago or even six months ago, as they are young and growing and as such expectations, abilities, roles and positions have an unusual fluidity.
That lack of certainty makes some onlookers uncomfortable. Accompanied by the relatively painless nature of the team’s rebuild, it may also play into some impatience.
With the ultimate goal still to build a reliable and consistent contender, the likes of which Milwaukee hasn’t seen since the 70’s and 80’s, this isn’t a change that can be implemented overnight.
So far on the journey, there has been plenty of positives and more missteps than anybody with an attachment to the Bucks would have hoped for. Overall though, the direction remains clear and grows clearer with every good decision and every bad decision.
The outlook remains overwhelmingly positive, but let’s recap the state of play with what I believe are some of the key points on why the Bucks are building a winner the right way.
Next: Distancing Themselves From An Era Of Mediocrity