Milwaukee Bucks: Imagining a documentary on the early 2010s Bucks

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 05: (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 05: (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks
MILWAUKEE, WI – APRIL 25: (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) /

Win in 6

Even in a weak Eastern Conference, it’s kind of remarkable that the Bucks even made the postseason in 2013. In fact, the notion that they entered that season expected to be competitive, led by Jennings and Ellis is something of a time capsule in its own right. The NBA was starting to change, and it would sweep the Bucks away in dramatic fashion the following season.

The modern NBA values size in the backcourt and on the wings, and the kind of defensive versatility that allows effortless switching. At this point, the Bucks were dreaming of success with meaningful minutes shared between Jennings, Ellis, and Redick. That kind of strategy was so ripe to be exploited, that it’s no surprise that it was, in Milwaukee and elsewhere.

The idea of what a winning backcourt would ideally look like changed right around that time, but so did the vision of what an outstanding team could be.

The Miami Heat were in their third season since LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade had teamed up in South Beach, and were undoubtedly performing at the peak of their powers.

The Heat came into their first round series with the Bucks as the defending champions, after winning 66 games, and off the back of a season where they’d put together a 27-game winning streak, which is the second longest in NBA history.

So, naturally, Brandon Jennings predicted the Bucks would get the better of Miami in six games.

Jennings’ famous proclamation of “we’re gonna win in 6” certainly spoke to his own precocious nature, but also the kind of irrational and deeply misguided swagger that seemed to run through that Bucks team.

The 2012-13 Bucks were one big heat check, and much like Jennings and Ellis’ field goal percentage, they essentially only managed to scrape around at success at the 40 percent mark.

On their day, a red-hot offensive outburst from Jennings and Ellis could have fired the Bucks to a win against anyone, but both players’ entire careers were built around volume rather than efficiency.

Against the Heat, opportunities were limited. In fact, they were kept to the minimum of four games. The Heat swept the Bucks and moved on to better things. Milwaukee didn’t manage to finish even one of those games within 10 points of Miami.

At what point does a blind commitment to being competitive actually lead to being profoundly uncompetitive?

The Bucks were soon to find out the answer.