Milwaukee Bucks: Imagining a documentary on the Jason Kidd years

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 10: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 10: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks /

Imagining a Kidd era Milwaukee Bucks documentary: The shape of the roster

During Kidd’s time as head coach in Milwaukee, the Bucks suffered from an ever-changing supporting cast, and an inability to pin down how they could best build around their promising young players.

Kidd’s influence on personnel decisions in Milwaukee was always the subject of great discussion and debate, and it’s certainly possible that the coach didn’t help in that regard either, even beyond any shortcomings of John Hammond and the front office.

Similarly, the ownership also acted in an incredibly involved fashion when it came to basketball decisions early in their tenure, which was something that inevitably led to mistakes.

Perhaps the most striking example of that came after Kidd’s first season in charge, when the Bucks had won 41 games and put in a spirited playoff performance, only for major changes to be made in the offseason that followed.

With the intention of making a speedy jump to contention, and also in creating cap room to chase bigger fish, the Bucks dealt away the veteran trio of Ersan Ilyasova, Zaza Pachulia, and Jared Dudley. That group had been key contributors to Milwaukee’s resurgence the previous season, and yet they were traded away without anything of note coming back in return.

Speaking to Rich Kirchen of the Milwaukee Business Journal in 2016, co-owner Jamie Dinan admitted that what the ownership “didn’t realize was we were losing our veteran locker room presence”, while his colleague Marc Lasry admitted:

"“I think the biggest mistake we made is (the basketball experts) said, ‘Don’t do anything the first year,” Lasry said. “We ended up trying to do a lot after our first season.”"

The truth is they started to do a lot before that. Brandon Knight had enjoyed a breakout season, generating legitimate All-Star buzz, only for Milwaukee to trade him away for reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams at the trade deadline.

That meant that the young core of players which included Middleton, Antetokounmpo, and Parker, who was recovering from a first torn ACL, extended to Carter-Williams heading into Kidd’s second season as coach.

In what was certainly the splashiest free agent signing in franchise history to that point, that group found a center in Greg Monroe, as he opted to join the Bucks’ project in spite of interest from the Lakers and Knicks.

That left the Bucks with plenty of top end talent to build on Kidd’s strong start, with Jerryd Bayless, O.J. Mayo, and John Henson also remaining as holdovers from the previous campaign, Rashad Vaughn being selected as a first round draft pick, along with two of Kidd’s former teammates, Chris Copeland and, later, Steve Novak, also joining the cause.

The only way could possibly be up, right? Well, not quite…