Typically, patience isn’t a strong suit of sports fans. Instant gratification is the name of the game. Fans are paying money, they’re living and dying with their favorite teams games every night, they don’t want to hear about some rebuilding plan that’s going to force them to wait a few years for success. They want it now. And when their favorite team is closing in on that success they’ve been so impatiently waiting for, they want them to stop at nothing to obtain it. Clear the bench of those not ready to contribute in a meaningful way or those associated too closely with past failures. Toss the talentless, free the city of its past ghosts and move on.
That’s why Milwaukee has wanted to see the back of Michael Redd’s number 22 jersey walking out of the Bradley Center never to return for a number of years. He’s a link to the old regime, he and Dan Gadzuric, deservedly or not, were symbolic of everything that’s been bad in Milwaukee Bucks basketball over the past twenty years. Overpaid, under-productive and defensively deficient. Long ago the city of Milwaukee’s patience with Michael Redd ran out.
And at this point, that seems fair.
But why has patience already begun to wear thin for rookie Tiny Gallon?
Can we not remember when Michael Redd was everything Milwaukee loved? The second-round pick turned success story? Back before Mike Redd was Max Redd, he was appropriately paid, perhaps even underpaid, and a reliable offensive performer. But that didn’t happen over night. He entered the league a poor shooting offensive player, but turned himself into a threat after a season paying close attention to Ray Allen. Redd happened to join the Bucks the last time they were relevant, in their division winning 2000-01 season.
Gallon is joining a Milwaukee squad on the verge of something big too. And with all of the talented front court players Milwaukee boasts, he’ll have the opportunity to learn how to be an NBA player without facing much real pressure. Yet he’s already catching some heat after a so-so summer league performance. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit too friendly. After an ugly summer league performance. One in which he racked up 23 fouls to match his 20 turnovers. But it still feels awfully early to be calling for the young man’s head. The loose interpretation of some Scott Skiles quotes has fueled the fire though.
When I see Coach Skiles say Gallon has ‘an awful lot to work on’ and is ‘going to need to be a lot better to make our team and do anything.’ I don’t get concerned. I get excited. That’s how young players get developed in the league. No hand-holding, no bsing, just an organization getting serious with its players. While Coach Skiles is saying that, the assistants are working hard with Gallon to make sure he knows where he needs to improve. To me, Skiles quotes are not an indication that Gallon isn’t going to be apart of Milwaukee’s future, just a comment on how talented Milwaukee is these days.
Three years ago, Milwaukee may have had to toss Gallon right into the fire. With a dearth of draft picks and few players who could even loosely be referred to as prospects (David Noel anyone?), Milwaukee may quickly have attached the ‘next big thing’ label to Gallon. Now Milwaukee can make sure he commits himself the right way. If Gallon is willing to turn himself into the player the Bucks want him to be, the sky is the limit for him down the road. The man has paws as strong as a lion’s. He’s already got a future in the league as a rebounder and someone who can finish around the rim. If he can turn that iffy 3-point shot into a reliable mid-range jumper, Gallon will be a starter some day.
But already people are jumping off the ship.
Be happy with the depth Milwaukee possesses. Love that they can allow their three rookies to develop at their own pace. We don’t know much about Darington Hobson yet, but we know that Larry Sanders will contribute something in 2010. Bask in that. Enjoy that Brandon Jennings has tossed your memory of Joe Alexander up high in the air for Larry Sanders to slam dunk out of your head. Then hope that Tiny Gallon comes around in a year or two.
And remember the start of the Michael Redd Era. Remember what he once was, how he was a model of hard work and grit. Remember that Redd’s glory years are what you’re looking for in every one of their second-round picks from here on out. But don’t forget, even Michael Redd didn’t see the floor much in his rookie year.
Remember that and have patience.
Bucksketball.com is a Milwaukee Bucks blog written by Jeremy Schmidt