Jim Boylan is out, but the Milwaukee Bucks sound like a franchise heading down the same old path

For the Bucks, Larry Sanders is the face of tomorrow, which started yesterday and already looks a lot like last week. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
For the Bucks, Larry Sanders is the face of tomorrow, which started yesterday and already looks a lot like last week. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Spoiler alert: I could never be an NBA general manager.

There are tons of reasons. Not smart enough. Lousy at networking. Don’t work hard enough. Generally a grating person to be around for extended periods of time. Poor leader. Not enough basketball experience.

I’m getting a little bummed out, so I’ll just toss one more out. Too honest.

I’m incapable of playing the games necessary to get into public positions. I always knew that, but rarely has that been more clear to me than it was yesterday during and after John Hammond’s press conference discussing the past season and the parting of ways with Jim Boylan.

I know how the game goes. A leader of a team isn’t going to tell everyone that things are bleak and there isn’t a clear solution to getting past that. In a post season press conference, no general manager is going to hold on to bad feelings from the season before. It’s never doom and gloom, it’s only the possibility of a better tomorrow.

When he said, “If you look at our roster, this thing surely is not broke right now,” I understand that, despite a strong season of evidence to the contrary. But he could never say that the roster is riddled with flaws that may or may not be solved this summer. Yeah, the team has Larry Sanders and John Henson, but it’s pretty thin outside of the four and five positions. He can’t say that there’s little hope of Milwaukee acquiring a true impact player, because that would be insane. Facing reality is not what these press conferences are about.

But there are some opportunities to paint a realistic picture of the current situation the team is in and look like you’re serious about getting them out of it. I suppose I mean that there are chances to give hints about what’s really important to the franchise. Chances to say super easy things like, “We want to win a title” or “We’re not satisfied with simply making the playoffs.” These are boilerplate terms that aren’t inspiring, but at least give you the sense that a team has those goals in mind. I couldn’t hear questions during the conference, but at some point, someone must have asked Hammond if he was disappointed with the past season.

“You look at the season and I hate to use, don’t want to use, not going to use words like disappointment. I’m not going to describe our season like that. We made the playoffs. We were heading in the right direction, we just had major slippage in the very end. We didn’t accomplish every goal. We accomplished an important goal.

We got in. And once you get in, you have a chance, but we have to be more consistent in doing that.”

That’s just the craziest thing to me. That’s the kind of talk that makes me wonder why I even bother. What’s the point? When the bar is set so low that this last season could be categorized as anything other than a major disappointment, how do you continue to believe in a franchise? In the sense that this team turned it a performance that largely reflected most realistic expectations before the season, yeah, I suppose this team wasn’t disappointing. But most people predicted they would be the ninth best team in the East and only the Sixers demise prevented that from happening. How is that not disappointing?

I feel like I’m in some bizarre dream where every time I open a door I’m hit in the face with a hammer. I was excited to see this season end and I had hopes that this off-season would bring much needed change in the roster and hopefully a new direction. But if last season isn’t a disappointment, that means it’s acceptable. And if that’s what’s acceptable, that’s what will continue to happen.

38-44. Two coaches, one who may have quit because he knew the team’s limitations. Never more than five games over .500. This is not a disappointment in Milwaukee. I’m not saying it’s categorized as success, but it isn’t categorized as failure.

I just don’t get it. Hammond seems so sharp. He’s such an accountable person and threw blame all over himself for Boylan’s situation. Hammond said it was on him and that when he goes home at night, he thinks about what he’s done wrong, not what everyone else has done wrong. And I totally believe that. There’s no reason to assume Hammond is anything but accountable, intelligent and a smart basketball mind.

But somehow, the organization continues to hop on the treadmill of mediocrity  Hammond said that it’s important for the Bucks that they can control their own destiny to a certain extent when he was talking about the team’s salary structure and number of free agents. It sounds like a great thing, but at this point, I’m pretty terrified of what they want that destiny to look like.

Categories: The Off Season

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  1. Yeesh…

    All I can think right now is it’s our lot in life as Bucks’ fans. We are doomed for failure until we get lucky and/or smart enough to make a push, then we will be crushed by the NBA machine (and by that I mean the refs screwing us over). But we love our Bucks so f*ck it, or whatever. All good. Sanders!

    Also, how lame is it that the draft talent pool is lower than usual this year, and we could concievably have good trade pieces to move up. But not really worth it is it? Or another go ’round of mid level free agents in a trade. Lame.

    • I second Jabbar!(Get it done Hammond! Like RIGHT NOW!)Not only because he could be had on the cheap but, he is the coach perfect for Centers and bigs. And what does this team have an abundance of again? He is the Mr. Myagi of bigs! Plus, Kareem is Hollywood! He could have influence over players,SUPERSTAR players, players that would NEVER come to Milwaukee with Sampson, Hollins,or SVG. Larry will be BETTER. Henson will be BETTER. Hell, Ersan will benefit from Kareem! However, I do feel Ksreem will have some apologizing to do to the older Bucks fans, His comments in his autobiography about Milwaukee left somethings to be desired to say the least. But, overall, He was ours first. He lead Milwaukee to greatness once. And I think this is the best POWER MOVE the Bucks could make to bring back the fans! The rest of the coaches couldn’t make such a splash!
      With Hollins, and SVG, we will never work with the youth we have or have the coaching to make our picks we do have better like Kareem can. SVG reminds me so much of Skiles in defensive philosophy and brashness with players. We cannot afford to waste the time we have!
      Kareem for head coach with Casell and Sampson as assistants! Get it done!

      • That is an EXCELLENT point, Marko… Kareem has star power in his legacy…that could attract BIG NAMES to come play for him in Milwaukee!

  2. Jeremy,

    “I’m pretty terrified of what they want that destiny to look like.”

    I feel like the Milwaukee Bucks refuse to ever give us an HONEST answer to what the direction of the future really is. I LOVE Mr. Kohl, but I fear he is turning into Al Davis quickly. He just needs to sell the team to some rich Wisconsinite who loves basketball and will keep them here. This whole, “We’ll keep putting the best team on the court that we can buy (paraphrase)” just doesn’t work. I want a total rebuild or a DEEP F@#$ing pocketbook to sign free agent stars to play (not named Brandon and perhaps Monta, done with those guys).

    • ^^^“We’ll keep putting the best team on the court that we can buy IN OUR PRICE RANGE (paraphrase)” ^^^

    • Other than James Goldstein is there such thing as a super rich Wisconsinite that loves basketball that would keep them here?

      I fear as fans we are stuck with Herb Kohl because no one else is going to pay billions to run this franchise unless they want to move it to another city. Probably Seattle.

      • Seattle was always my “second team” as far as the NBA goes so it really sucks that the target is on my first teams’ back to go there.

        • Me too, thats why I loved it when Sam Cassell and Gary Payton came to Milwaukee! I also like the idea of Nate McMillian as our coach.

  3. “I just don’t get it” – – that sums up my thoughts too. I go to several games a year – but – this year really has me questioning where I spend my money. If they are not going to put an honest effort behind this team, why should support them?

    I think there are a lot of people who want to support the Bucks – – please give us a reason to!!

  4. I respectfully disagree with this. I actually liked most of what Hammond said yesterday because it’s true for the most part. Larry, Ersan, and Henson are all very nice and intriguing pieces while building forward. That being said I feel that this year was a disappointment strictly because of the state of uncertainty, lack of identity, and lack of leadership from the coaching position. The bucks are out looking for a coach and based on their list of candidates I’ve read from, they’re more high profile than Skiles was. What more can you ask for? We’re a small market team and a TOTAL rebuild would be too much for this fanbase if you ask me. Look at the bobcats, they’re no closer to elite than they were two years ago. The kings are another great example, a total rebuild takes a lot of luck and panning out (thunder). The pacers are close to elite by doing what the bucks are now doing. It starts with a good coach and cap flexibility. The bucks just need to spend wisely and hire a good coach who preaches team basketball and establishes a culture. Look at this years bulls team without D-Rose….they play hard every night without A-level talent and are a 5 seed. Just saying when they had an identity and all played hard, a starting 5 of Jennings, Salmons, Delfino, Mbah a moute, and Kurt Thomas almost made the second round. (Obviously I’m being very optimistic that Hammond makes nice free agency moves this summer)

    • Im with you 100% on the Pacers model I think that is the route the Bucks should go, but with a weak Free agency and really really strong draft class next year with Wiggins, Parker, GR3, Marcus Smart and a bunch of Kentucky kids I think next year the Bucks should take a dive and Pray for one of those players and then build around the frontcourt and whomever they draft. They’ve got til 2016-2017 til the lease on the BC runs out.

      Plus next year the East is going to be much stronger. Wizards looked good once Wall came back, Raptors improved with Gay, Bynum if healthy will vault the 76ers over the Bucks. Unless Larry and Jennings improve vastly the Bucks probably will be the same or worse than those teams. So they’d be stuck 8-10 in the East which means pick 10-14 in the draft.

      Personally I havent been on the tank and rebuild bandwagon but for next year and only next year they gotta do it.

  5. Jeremy, I have a high regard for your opinions and
    would be sincerely interested in who you like for the
    next coach of the Bucks. (Including, what do you think
    of Sidney Moncrief being ready for the job?)

    When I hear names like Stan Van Gundy and Kelvin Sampson
    I get really downhearted. It seems like Stan was wimpy
    when it came to handling Dwight Howard and then got fired
    anyway. It seems like Kelvin was a cheater at Indiana and
    then was a big loser anyway. Maybe I’m wrong about these
    guys, but that’s my perception; please correct me, anyone?

    Regardless, aren’t there any fresh names out there to be
    the coach of the Bucks? We could really use a strong,
    independent, dynamic coach who relates well with players
    but doesn’t pander to them. We need a coach who can
    relate well with the front office but can also tell them not
    to interfere with the team.

    If the Bucks blow the hiring of a new coach, especially if
    they don’t even try to get an exceptional replacement, then
    we’re doomed to at least a couple more seasons of maddening
    mediocrity. What I’m concerned about is that Kohl and Hammond
    might want a yes-man who does their bidding and allows the
    team to sputter in the doldrums. That might be unfair, but it’s
    how I feel.

    • I think Kelvin Sampson gets a bad rep. All he did was make too many phone calls to players. Not that serious of an offense in my opinion.

      Not sure if he is on the Bucks radar but I think Golden State assistant Mike Malone should be a candidate. 2011-2012 GM’s voted him as the top assistant coach in the league just above Brian Shaw

      I’d be willing to bet Sam Cassell gets at least an interview and would not be very surprised if he is their coach next year if they cant land Sampson since the Bucks seem to like to keep things “in the family” ex) Porter, Krystowiak, Wolf, Boylan, Moncrief

      • Thanks for the opinion on Kelvin Sampson. I don’t
        want to unfairly characterize the guy, but I would
        ask why his time at Indiana seemed to be so short?
        Also, what has he done since then to make him a
        good candidate for coaching the Bucks? Maybe he’s
        really good, but I’d like to learn why.

        Is Brian Shaw available? I don’t know anything about
        Mike Malone, but I do like the idea of getting a top
        assistant coach. I had never heard of Mike McCarthy,
        either, but he led the Pack to a Super Bowl and
        perennial contention.

        Boy, I sure hope we get this right!

  6. Just be glad you’re not a Kings fan, or a Bobcats fan, or a Twolves fan. Unlike some NBA teams, the Bucks have a potential future. It will be tough to climb the hump to being a legit playoff team, but it is possible.

    I have faith in Hammond to get it done. He hasn’t made a move yet that significantly hurt the team, and he has made many really good moves.

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  8. Hammonds a fucking retard, just like Ernie Grunfield. Ernie traded Dirk, Hammonds traded Tobias. Ernie even traded for Payton via Ray Ray. Point being, bucks will suck, and will continue to suck until they stop getting retarded gms.

  9. View from China

    Tanking has definitely taken a major hit given how the Rockets restored their franchise without becoming terrible and how well the Bulls played without Rose this year. Making the playoffs is valuable.

    At the same time, if the Bucks resign Reddick and Jennings and Ellis stays, they are probably slightly worse than mediocre. Will they actually be better than the Wizards and Raptors next season? The 76ers, Pistons and Cavaliers? There is some uncertainly about the Celtics and Hawks, but it seems more likley that the Bucks will be passed by teams than overtake teams. The short-term future ceiling seems to be 6th with the floor being 13th. That sucks really.

    So why not get bad. See if you can sign and trade Jennings and Reddick. Trade Udoh and Mbah a Moute. Consider offers for Ilyasova and even Sanders (yes, even he shouldn’t be untouchable). Give Ellis the freedom to entertain and score so he improves his value and you can trade him. Fill the roster with hungry young players and cheap, tradable vets on one year deals.

    Now you have some extra picks and a good chance at landing an extraordinary player. 2014 looks like it might be a draft were several teams come out with franchise altering players. It might only take two bad seasons before you’re looking at making the playoffs, but making the playoffs as young up and coming team, rather than a team looking to peak as a fiesty first round out.

  10. 1) ellis & redick leaving
    2) upstart coach, not k.sampson
    3) sign and trade jennings (dallas?), get serviceable PG or SG (collison? or mayo?) & future draft pick
    4) do not amnesty Gooden, unless Bucks somehell over cap
    5) re-up dunleavy for 2 years
    6) draft normal, best available except C (no 19 year old j.alexander BS)
    7) try for big free agent (CP3?)…good practice for day when bucks might entice superstar, shows we’re serious sorta