Get your laughs in now, Milwaukee may be serious in a few months

This right here my friends, could be a saving grace for next season’s Milwaukee Bucks.

The laughter that their name still triggers out of your typical talking head. The sixth place in the East assumption we see from a panel of 93 (yours truly included). A C+ off season grade. Each and every one of these things are the best of things. The Bucks can comfortably remain under the radar and avoid the expectations a team would typically have to deal with after a season like last.

The team that came out of nowhere the year before is always supposed to improve in the following season. Especially with so many young players so featured. From hunter to hunted is the journey. And it’s not always easy to switch those roles. We’ve seen it so many times before. Remember the Philadelphia 76ers three years ago? They put a little scare into the Pistons in the first round and were supposed to be a team to watch the following season. Well, they scuffled, fired coach Mo Cheeks and righted the ship. They were back in the same position after pulling out two games in the first round against Orlando. Heading into last season, five of 10 ESPN panelists picked them to make the playoffs, with John Hollinger expected a fifth place finish. But we know how that turned out, a 27-55 season later and they’re back at square one. They weren’t the first underdog story gone wrong.

Scott Skiles knows the underdog situation all too well. Entering 2004-05, his Chicago Bulls were coming off a 23-59 season and written off as too young to matter. A 47-35 finish later and they were talk of the town with their young talent and hard nosed coach. After consecutive first round exits, the Bulls finally broke through the first round in 2006-07 and were looking to finally break down the door to the finals the next year. But everyone was ready for them and they weren’t ready for each other. Ben Wallace didn’t work out, the rookies and second year guys got ornery and Skiles was gone after a 9-16 start. Moving from underdog to favorite didn’t go so smoothly.

But the Bucks are still apparently a ways away from that. They’re still the punch line, despite a few favorable articles here and there. And it’s much easier to play without hype. Chips can be planted on shoulders, coaches can use clippings as motivation and the team can have something to unite over. No one likes being disrespected, whether you’re a professional athlete or a grocery bagger. Proving everyone wrong is about as fun as it gets. So get ready for another year of “nobody believed in us” and “everyone was so focused on Miami, Chicago and New York that they forgot about us.” The underdog role seems to be here to stay, at least for one more year.

And like last year, the Bucks could be getting the last laugh come playoff time.

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog

Categories: The Off Season



  1. One problem I can see though is that the hometown fans have a lot of expectations. Sure it’s nice when the national media falls on it’s face predicting the standings, but hopefully they can keep the home crowd into it. A good start would go a long ways for that. Us Bucks fans expect to have a really good season, I personally would be disapointed with anything worse than 4th in the east. I know Miami and Orlando should be good again, but the C’s and bhe Bulls will be in the mix too. Considering how the “Celtics don’t care about the regular season” I would expect to beat out at least one of them.

  2. I never did like Dan LeBatard. He’s your typical Miami douche, and I’m from Miami so I know. Can’t wait to see the Bucks topple the Heat next season (hopefully).

  3. Dan LeBatard is a fat loud mouthed asshole and his success enrages and confuses me. Who gives a shit what he thinks anyway. But Miami is going to kill everyone, sad to say

  4. Anyone who takes a look at the league and looks at the Bucks roster can see they are going to the playoffs barring a terrible injury bug plaguing them. Obviously LeBatard has not done his homework, but I wouldn’t give much thought to any other team in the East if I were a Miami fan, too. Still, I think it is his job to at least be a little familiar with the competition… He will know the Bucks a little better come playoff time.

  5. guys, it’s LeBatard’s job to be abrasive like that. He’s paid to be outlandish and insensitive. He’s just a sports troll.