Game six was a mess, but everything isn’t terrible for once

We could rehash everything that went wrong in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 120-66 game six, season-ending loss to the Chicago Bulls, but when a team suffers a 54 point season-ending loss, what’s really the point in reflecting on it.

Before I tell you two stories, I’ll just note these things about the game:

  • Chicago started the game on an 8-0 run and never looked back. They difference in aggression, confidence and poise was evident from the outset. Chicago looked like a veteran team that had rediscovered everything that had ever made it a contender. The Bucks looked unsure of themselves and without a player capable of calming the team’s nerves and asserting control on the game.
  • While the Bulls figuratively came out and punched Milwaukee right in the face, Mike Dunleavy literally came out and punched Milwaukee right in the face. It will be interesting to see if he hears from the league about his cheap shot on Michael Carter-Williams to kick off the game. Cheap shots are part of Dunleavy’s career.¬†He kept it up throughout the night, and it led to a few technical fouls on the Bucks and the ejection of the typically mild-mannered Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  • Zaza Pachulia led the Bucks with eight points. Eight! No one on the Bucks had enough points that we’re even supposed to use numbers to describe their points!

Everything fell apart quickly and never came back together for the Bucks. The 54-point margin was the largest in franchise history, and the 66 points they scored was the fewest they’ve ever scored in a playoff game.

But I promised we wouldn’t rehash the chaos too much and that I would tell two stories.

The first happened last Saturday night¬†after the Bucks pulled off an improbable buzzer-beater victory in game four. Those were good times. After Jerryd Bayless executed his juke move, after Jared Dudley fired one of the best passes you’ll see, and after Bayless had finished the layup I found myself at a local watering hole. There was a group of fans who on and off chanted Bucks in seven throughout the evening. It was a funny thing to happen and not something typical of Milwaukeeans, who haven’t always been real vocal about supporting the Bucks. But this was the playoffs, so I wasn’t too shocked to see people getting into the Bucks, especially after a win like that over the Bulls. So the chant wasn’t surprising.

I was caught off guard during a lull between chants. I headed to the bathroom, and a number of the chanters were in there, along with other patrons. Four or five conversations were taking place about the Bucks between some people who knew each other and some people who were strangers. Eventually everyone started discussing Brandon Knight vs. Michael Carter-Williams. Right away a couple of the guys in there were complaining about the trade, reciting the usual lines about how much better a shooter BK was and how Milwaukee’s offense hadn’t been the same with MCW. But quickly a few of the guys said that the trade wasn’t about today. It was about tomorrow. Finally, the team was building for the future, and that was great.

And the BK dissenters agreed. There was no argument! All of these people suddenly were on the same page and were fired up that the team was looking forward. Instead of typical sports fan fighting, it’s like they had all gone to Bucks messaging boot camp. I thought they were going to end the conversation by putting their hands in the middle and yelling #OWNTHEFUTURE.

It was amazing to me that seven or eight people were all willing to accept after a playoff game that a team had probably downgraded at point guard for the sake of the future. It demonstrated patience these fans were willing to show that you don’t often hear in public.

But Bucks fans did another thing, this time Thursday night that demonstrated to me that they’re on board for this whole future thing.

Everyone in the BC on Thursday night had a right to be very disappointed. Milwaukee got blown away, and the game was never competitive. Those tickets weren’t cheap, the game started early enough that getting there was a hassle, and it’s still too cold outside, dammit. But as the seconds ticked away in the final minute of the game, virtually every person in the crowd joined in on a Mil-Wau-Kee, chant. The crowd was on its feet, giving a collective tip of the hat to a Bucks team that just lost a playoff game by 54 points.

It was a salute for an impressive season. From 16 to 41 wins. From eighth seed or bust to patience is the plan. This season’s Milwaukee Bucks were a product of a different organization. There’s no question Milwaukee is heading in a different direction in April of 2015 than it was when it last made the playoffs in April of 2013. Bucks fans took the long view on Thursday night because the organization has demonstrated this season that they’ll be doing the same.

That’s the sort of thing that makes a 54-point loss sting just a little bit less.

Categories: Playoff talk,Recaps

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36 Comments

  1. I was there. I disengaged before halftime (and more after) to spare myself emotionally. But like Jeremy says, I was up chanting and applauding at the end.
    This season was a lift; Games 3-5 were amazing; and I can’t wait til next season!
    Go Bucks, 15-16!

  2. Players that I’d like to retain: MCW, Giannis, Middleton, Jabari, Henson, Inglis, Dudley, Mayo

    Players that I’d like to get rid of: Bayless, JOB, Zaza, kind of Ersan

    Players that I wouldn’t mind either way: Plumlee, Guitierrez, Ennis, kind of Ersan

    Players that I’d like to acquire: anyone of these 5: Marc Gasol (not very likely), Enes Kanter (semi-likely, I doubt OKC will match making him an UFA), Robin Lopez, DeAndre Jordan (very unlikely), Brook Lopez (connection with Kidd). Also I’d like to acquire Kendall Marshall to have a true point guard. I’d also trust him to run the offense if MCW missed any time. I’d like to acquire one of the Morris Brothers from Phoenix if possible too in a package that sends Ersan away.
    So, ideally we’d have:
    MCW/Marshall
    Middleton, Mayo
    Giannis/Dudley/Inglis
    Parker/Morris
    Gasol/Henson

    That’s a 50+ win team with room to grow. Thoughts?

    • Are there any under-the-radar guys, for example a bruiser like Enes Kanter but not as expensive — the next Enes Kanter, if you will?

      Who do people like in the draft who might be available in the middle of the first round?

      In general, how much should the Bucks focus on acquiring more outside shooters; along with possibly more frontcourt bulk; and also maybe a point guard, perhaps a savvy veteran to complement MCW?

      • You know, taking a shot on a guy that hasn’t done much for a couple of years but still has potential and won’t demand much could work in our situation. An Andrew Bynum type of player? But personally, I really like the 5 I mentioned. With the salary cap rising, the 10-12 million that Kanter would demand wouldn’t put us in an awful position financially. I think they’re set to have 20-25 million free this summer alone.

        I would love to add a shooter too but I don’t know that there is one available that would be willing to come off the bench. The only one I know of is Danny Green, but he’d have to be willing to leave SA and back up Middleton.

        • I like the types of players you’re looking at, but just a few things:

          The Suns went a little out of their way to bring the Morris twins together in Phoenix. Yes, they probably can’t keep them together for their entire careers, but I don’t think either brother would be OK with being split up at this time in their careers.

          If we get rid of Ersan and replace him with a Morris twin type, we lose height that may be needed to go against some of the bangers in the league. Maybe we can slide Giannis to the 4 to guard some truer post players, but I’d like to see us have a stereotypical big guy to back up Jabari

          Also, I like the Marshall add. I thought trading him back to the place he left was pretty mean.

          • Fresh off their assault of the man that sent inappropriate texts to their mom, now is the time to nab one of the Morris brothers. As far as Ersan’s height, does he ever really use it? Even if he has a smaller man on him and tries to post him up, he throws up an awkward fadeaway with little to no chance of going in. He doesn’t block shots and doesn’t have the rebounding prowess he used to. A back-up 4 the size of one of the Morris brothers would work just fine. They’re 2 inches shorter, but they’re more powerful so that would make up for it.

            As far as shooters/scorers off the bench go: there’s plenty available. Jamaal Crawford, Lou Williams, Marco Belinelli, Marcus Thorton, etc. They prefer coming off the bench and none of them make more than 6 million a year. I’m not saying the Bucks could get Jamaal Crawford, but there are players like him available. Here’s the list of all the free agents this off season. Tell me who you’d like to see in a Bucks uni next year. http://hoopshype.com/free_agency_2015.htm

          • Couch Potato Scout

            The absolutely ideal guy to replace Ersan and fit into the Bucks’ ideal player mold it Draymond Green. Since he can hit 3’s fairly well, dunk with tenacity, and most of all play D with a nonstop motor. However, I think his price will be fairly steep, but if it is under 12-15 mil, I think the Bucks’ should really try to sign him. Some other players who I like a lot in free agency but don’t think the Bucks’ should go after (because of $$ amount) are Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler.
            I believe the ideal center for the Bucks is DeAndre Jordan, because they aren’t many centers who grab double-digit rebounds and have the athleticism to consistently finish dunks. I’d love to see if the Bucks can submit in offer or two, but doubt he’ll come to the Bucks’ small market. Tyson Chandler is another solid fit for the Bucks, but I think he is a little too old, however at the right price I think he would fit in great, because he’s a great locker room guy who plays solid D, grabs boards, and can finish at the rim.

            A couple great cheap options are Timofey Mozgov and Brandon Wright. Both would be decent C’s that could share time with Henson.

            And the perfect Andrew Bynum type Center is:
            Javale Mcgee!!!
            I’d love to see if the Bucks could sign him to a small-ish contract, with practically no expectations and see if he could inject some energy at times. I mean how much worse can he be than Johnny O’Bryant?

          • Couch Potato Scout

            Here’s my free agency watch list:
            1. Jimmy Butler
            2. Draymond Green
            3. Roy Hibbert
            4. Tyson Chandler
            5. Wesley Matthews
            6. Thaddeus Young (lanky PF, who is basically a taller SF; pretty solid fit for the Bucks’ D)
            7. Jamal Crawford
            8. Demaree Carol
            9. Tristan Thompson (In the top 20 for most dunks this season; solid energy guy, depending on $)
            10. Brandon Bass (Constantly making the highlight reel with dunks; I love big guys that can finish around the rim)
            11. Brandon Wright (underutilized and underappreciated; the Ed Davis of this free agency)
            12. Kosta Kofus (gradually being appreciated for his work on defense and on the boards)
            13. Gerald Green (Absolute highlight reel with dunks, but can also shoot the lights out; if Kidd can harness his athletecism and length on D watch out)
            14. Mizra Teletovic (Another, cheaper form of Ersan, with better 3pt shooting)
            15. Thomas Robinson (Lottery pick, who I think the Bucks’ could take a flier on for under $2 mil)
            16. Alan Anderson (underappreciated sniper)
            17. Bismack Biyombo (An absolute fantastic shot-blocker with decent athleticism another flier, who could come off the bench; hasn’t turned 25 yet)
            18. KJ McDanieals (Great potential; alread solid 3&D guy)
            19. Derrick Williams (I’m not sure about this guy, but his athleticism is absolutely astounding at times;flier)
            20. Emeka Okafor (I’m not sure if he retired; but if not he could be a cheaper, slightly dumber, version of Zaza. He is a bruiser who can rack up the boards. Solid locker-room guy too.)

            I could go on and on, I have like 20 more guys who I’d like the Bucks’ to watch, but I’ll limit it to this. Someone, anyone tell me your thoughts. Especially on a Bucks’ reunion with the now-sharpshooting Charlie Villanueva? :-)

          • I really liked a lot of the guys you mentioned; however, (if Middleton resigns) we have 1-4 in our starting line up filled. So I was looking at starting centers and back up 1-4. I’d love to go for Jordan, Kendall Marshall, KJ Mcdaniels and Lou Williams/Marco Belinelli. Move the rest of the bench out minus Henson and retool it. Interesting free agent option is Mike Dunleavy. But with what happened with him and Giannis and MCW, it would be pretty unlikely. But he only makes a couple million a year so he’s plenty affordable.

          • My initial question to Couch Potato and Avid: Are centers like Jordan, Hibbert, and Chandler really an upgrade over John Henson? Plus, my hunch is that John is going to improve more than these guys. If the idea is to find someone to go along with John, perhaps someone like Marc Gasol would be a better complement, since he has that nice outside shot, and could be played at the same time as John or separately.

            As far as other positions, it seems like we currently have a lot of length, but not much outside shooting (although a lot depends on whether Giannis and Jabari improve their outside shooting). So a guy like Draymond Green makes a lot of sense, or someone like him who is more affordable, who might be the next Draymond Green in a season or two. Finding those relative bargains is the challenge.

            The delicate balance with finding a shooter is getting a guy who won’t overshoot. I really don’t know, but my impression of Gerald Green is that he is an undisciplined gunner — and that wouldn’t do.

            If any of these thoughts make any sense, I’d be eager to hear who you guys got in perhaps a more refined list — factoring in character, too — and the more other contributors, the merrier.

          • What about Robin Lopez? He’s the kind of guy who is used to being a role player and with the Bucks offense flowing through jabari, giannis, khris (hopefully), and mcw Lopez might be a good cheap option at center. As long as he can get some more rebounds.

      • Yes there is. The one that fits better with the Bucks is Rudy Gobert 7’1 the center of Utah Jazz with 7’8 wingspan !!!
        The perfect starters I dream for the Bucks are :
        MCW-Wiggins-Giannis-Jabari-Gobert !!!
        They are gonna be the best defence in the NBA and on offence every position is a threat from 1 to 5 !!!
        So give anyone except the above to get Wiggins from Timberwolves !!!
        +sign Ray Allen to close his carrer where he started. We need shooter !!!

        • Couch Potato Scout

          Fotis, I absolutely agree and actually wanted the Bucks to draft Gobert, however luckily they drafted Giannis instead. I think nearly anyone in the NBA would agree the lineup you mentioned would be one that would mean the sky is the limit for the bucks, but unless the bucks give up all of their 1st rd draft picks until 2020, (which I’m pretty sure is actually illegal), it will never ever happen.
          AvidBucksFan, I agree, but I feel that in order to have enough money to sign a solid Center (+Middleton) it’s a given that we must trade Mayo and Ersan and possibly Zaza, which would mean a huge hole in the bench scoring. (As inconsistent as Ersan and Mayo are, they do provide scoring fairly often probably every 3rd game one of them goes off). This huge hole in the bench must be filled through free agency. I love your picks, and agree that Dunleavy would’ve been a solid veteran for the Bucks, but there’s no way he coming back to Milwaukee with the conflict between the Bucks and Bulls. I’m a fan of Bellenli, but not really much of a fan of Louis Williams, I feel like he’s too ball-dominant, and doesn’t provide much spacing. He’d be ok on a very low contract, but isn’t he basically Bayless 1.5?
          Swisch, as much as I love Henson, and especially the devlopment he showed in the playoffs, he is not very explosive nor is he able to create his own shot. I think that his ideal role is a 6th man PF/C, who is more than capable of stepping up if there is an injury. But I did not see Henson consistently finish in traffic, and although he is a fantastic shot-blocker, I think he needs to do a better job contesting shots. I believe he’s fantastic at blocking, but he’s gotta do a better job of contesting, even if it’s obvious that he can’t block it. The only example I can think of off the top of my head was, Gasol driving across the basket for a sky hook, and although it was obvious he was going to shoot, and that Henson was unable to block it, Henson did not put a hand in Gasol’s face or try to push him away from the hoop. Your opinion about shooters’ who overshoot (specifically Gerald Green) is dead on, but I have yet to ever seen a shooter not overshoot fairly often. Ray Allen, Kobe, Reddick, Gerald Green, all take a couple of questionable shots.
          Saul, I like Robin Lopez, but his ceiling is very low and I think that we need someone a bit more explosive at Center on offense (I haven’t really seen Lopez ever jump to finish an alley-oop or a nasty dunk) however I stil like the guy as an important role player.

          One final note, although I like Plumlee’s potential and think he should’ve played more the one negative I keep coming back to is that he didn’t seem to be emotionally tied to many of the Buck’s games. Like whenever Middleton hit a buzzer beater, he was always the last guy off the bunch and just kinda hung out while they were celebrating. Not really a team spirit guy; I don’t know if that’s a deal-breaker.
          And for me free-agency should be more about value over anything else, and that’s why monitoring a great deal of solid guys and seeing who can be signed at the best deal (factoring in their talent and potential) is a lot better than, simply choosing 3 guys and basically “putting all your eggs in one basket” and trying to only sign them.

          Lastly here’s my sleeper list of guys waaaaaaaay below the radar (could probably signed to almost the minimum but have solid potential)
          1. Jordan Hamilton 6’9 wing who can shoot, and sometimes shoots too much (24 yrs)
          2. Jamaal Franklin 6’5 SG who is a great defender (I actually kinda hoped the Bucks would get him a couple years ago in the draft) and is starting to shoot 3’s (24 yrs old)
          3. Meyers Leonard 7’1 C/PF not that much below the radar, but is surprisingly very solid at 3’s 23yrs
          4. John Jenkins 6’4 SG who has underacheived; was known as a great shooter out of college, but injuries have hampered his progress 24yrs
          5. Hollis Thompson 6’8 SG/SF who is a very solid 3&D prospect, supposedly “overagressive”, and has inflated stats (76ers) 24 yrs. old
          6. Damjan Rudez 6’10 PF, on the Pacers; a Eurotransfer who is fantastic from 3pt line; could be a cheaper, smarter, but less quick Ersan 28yrs
          7. Charlie Villinueva 6’11 PF who has had a resurgence with the Mavs, very good from the 3pt line. 31 yrs
          8. Garrett Temple 6’6 SG who was a free agent for a large period of time, but has become an important piece in the Wizards’ playoff hopes 28 yrs
          9. Kyle Signler 6’8 SF Extremely good from the 3pt corners. Solid everywhere else. He’s not that good on D, but is a smart player who is unappreciated at times.

          Draft?
          The only options I think that make sense based on who’s going to fall to the Bucks range are:
          RJ Hunter
          Devin Booker
          Sam Dekker
          (And a couple of those guys won’t even fall)
          People are talking about taking Montrel Harzell, but I don’t feel like we need an undersized PF clogging the lane.

          • Great stuff, Couch Potato Scout. I appreciate the education and enjoyment from your scouting reports, as well as the contributions from other commenters.

            I know very little about about players outside of the Bucks, so it’s a big deal for me to get an introduction to who is out there. I like the idea about keeping many players in mind, so as to keep our options open.

            However, if you, Couch Potato, or anyone else, wants to hone in on your personal favorites for the Bucks to acquire, and why, that would be good, too. Plus, if Bucksketball wants to get in on this, that would be a bonus; I’m not sure if Jeremy & Co. would see this as being within their role, but I just want to let them know (or reaffirm) that I respect their observations and opinions.

            As far as John Henson, I get the sense that there aren’t too many centers out there who don’t have something significant lacking in their game, whether it’s an outside shot, or mobility, or agility, or whatever. Plus, these big guys seem to have a greater tendency to injury. Then I think about how much the Sixers gave up to get Andrew Bynum, or the soap opera that has surrounded Dwight Howard, and I really think there are a lot of factors to consider when evaluating a big man, perhaps even more so than other positions. I don’t know a lot about Rudy Gobert, but taking everything into consideration, I’m wondering if he adds up higher than John.

            I’m guessing that John exceeded almost everyone’s expectations this season, including mine, especially in the playoffs. (Including the regular season, I think he was something like 10-3 as a starter.) Given that he is likely to keep improving, that he seems to have a great attitude, that he seems to be a real team guy, I would tend to treasure him as a key part of a winning future for the Bucks.

            Whether he starts or not, at about 24-30 minutes per game, playing center and power forward, I think John is a keeper, big time.

          • Couch Potato Scout

            Thank you very much Swisch, and I totally agree that if anyone of the Bucksketball writers wants to contribute something, (they probably know 2x as I do), it would be great.
            The only complaint about Henson I have is for as solid as he is, you aren’t getting anything great. It’s like Henson is the anti-Jamaal Crawford. Wheras Jamaal Crawford is only explosive and dynamic, Henson is almost never dynamic. I really feel a guy that is extremely athletic and can dunk everything under the rim, (while not sacrificing too much defense) would basically perfect the Bucks’ up-and-coming team.

            However the more I think about, the more I realize that it’s not a problem I have with Henson it’s just I feel like the Bucks would be settling if they make Henson the sole heir to rim-protecting, and dunking duties as their Center. I guess it just seems like compared to the other starters, center is the only place which seems to be a weak spot to me. Since Henson isn’t really a posterizer, nor a Roy Hibbert/Zaza body type that can really body guys in the post (though I’d prefer a center that isn’t like that), that being said I’m at a crossroad. Its either you go (kinda) all-in for a really good center, by trading Ersan and Mayo’s bad contracts, and try to sign a center, or you settle for a Zaza/Henson/Plumlee rotation.

            The biggest reason why Gobert has a way higher ceiling than Henson is that 1) Gobert is 7’2 with a 7’8 wingspan, the largest wingspan currently in the NBA 2) Gobert is only 22 yrs old, 2 yrs younger than Henson, and has yet to had a great amount of teaching as a French player he was not pressured to understand footwork or finesse, and has a lot to learn.

            For me, there’s nothing better than seeing a big man who sets hard screens often (ala Kendrick Perkins), understand/actually does roll with some type of foot quickness and is able to finish with a dunk, often and with strength (ala Blake Griffin/Dwight Howard/Shawn Kemp), yet he still offers a solid line of defense, preferably through proper positioning instead of gambling for the huge block (ala Roy Hibbert).
            I would love to hear some input on what you guys look for a big man, what you guys think of my free agents list, and what other names you guys like for the Bucks to get. Also, I’m really interested if anyone can actually think of a realistic trade that Ersan and/or Mayo can be shipped out for nearly nothing in return (and without the Bucks’ giving up a draft pick).
            The only teams I can think that would like Ersan are possibly the Kings, Pistons, Bobcats, Wizards, and the only trade scenario that I could think of in a minute was an Ersan + 2rd pick for Ben Mclemore and Jason Thompson (or Carl Landry), however than would just mean the bucks pay more but get a potential filled SG in McLemore.

  3. Nicely done recap by Jeremy of a game that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but shouldn’t be easily dismissed, either. It’s so good to have won a playoff game; and I’m so glad we won two; and I was hoping for more — but, maybe, in hindsight, it was better for the Bucks to end with a kind of shocking disappointment so as to be under no illusions about the need for considerable improvement. It’s important to appreciate the significant gains made this year, and it’s good to be excited about the future, but without getting carried away.

    I agree with Jeremy that it was evident from the outset of this final game that we didn’t have a player capable of calming the nerves of the Bucks and asserting control of the game. I’m not sure if the young MCW is that guy for the future, if he wants to be that guy — with the sacrifices and burdens it entails to be a leader — but I’m rooting for him to find a good place with the Bucks. In the meantime, it seems good for the Bucks to look for another point guard in the draft or through a trade, in case MCW doesn’t work out there, or even if he does — and I really like Avid’s idea of bringing Kendall back, regardless.

    While our new team administration seems to be heading in a different direction, apparently a better direction, I’m still not sold on them heading in a great direction — but I’m rooting for them to do so. I’m more wary and wait-and-see than most, I guess. For example, the whole situation with John Henson is still troubling to me; if the coach and management were really bringing him along in some masterful way to excel in the playoffs, they were really cutting it close. As others perhaps noticed, I’m a big fan of John, and would be so happy to have him stay with the Bucks, but I’m not sure how much he can trust our new administration — or even most of the fans — to really back him up in the future.

    To finish, I really like Avid’s thinking above about discussing different players on the team and outside the team who could help the Bucks going forward. That could be a fun and productive avenue for good conversation going forward. I don’t think a front office should run a team based on comments from the fans, but I do think it would do well to give some sincere consideration to what the fans have to say.

    • For me, it’s all about making improvements without sacrificing the teams plan for the future. Removing overpaid, slightly washed up vets like Zaza and Ersan and bringing in one of the Morris Brothers and a guy like Enes Kanter would certainly add even more youth and skill to this ever growing team.

      I’m a little wary of Gasol because he’s already in his upper 20’s I believe; however, he plays in a Dirk/Duncan-esque way where he doesn’t really rely on athleticism or explosiveness at all. So he should be able to play well into his 30’s.

      I’m also just a huge fan of the way Kendall Marshall plays and would love to see him back.

      • I think you might be right about Marc Gasol having a long shelflife in the NBA, with various skills plus court smarts, and immensity, and not being overly reliant on athleticism even in the early part of his career.

        I am really enthusiastic about Kendall returning. Even being relatively young in the NBA, he already seems to be highly savvy as a point guard, and a great teammate. I really missed him after the injury in London.

        • Where we go with the five position is probably the most compelling story line for team going forward. I’m a Henson fan too, just been really hard to read why coaches seem to fall out of favor with him despite his rather apparent impact when he’s on the court.

          My problem with Kanter is he’s sort of a defensive turnstile, and after seeing Chicago’s guards penetrate the paint so easily this series, that would worry me going forward. I know he’s been inconsistent, but I don’t think buying low on Roy Hibbert would be the worst idea this offseason.

          This draft is pretty devoid of great shooters. It seems like we’ll have to rely on internal guys developing reliable jumpers. Will be interesting to see which of the “shooting” guys (Bayless, Mayo, Ersan) the team decides to retain after next season. All in all though, exciting things are happening; what a fun season!

  4. For a team that is in build for the future mode, they sure gave us plenty of entertainment this season.
    Everyone was hoping for a better outcome than what happened in that game, and there is plenty of work that needs to be done for next year and beyond. But one can’t help but reflect back on the year and feel good about how the Bucks played through all the drama & set backs and put themselves in this position to play game 6 in Milwaukee. A thrilling season.

    Go Bucks!

  5. John Henson is a backup center, nothing more…if he is a starter then what ever team he is starting for is not a title contender.

    • I agree. He is a very good back-up center, but without a right hand and a little more muscle, he’d be below average as a starter. He’s still young enough to develop but I think they should look elsewhere for a starter.

    • It would be interesting to discuss which teams have centers who are better than John right now, as well as projecting how much these guys are likely to improve compared to John.

      I’d also be interested in who the Bucks could reasonably acquire to replace John.

      Who is better than John in the NBA at blocking shots and generally protecting the rim? He seems to be a huge force just on defense. As far as offense, it would be great to see him developing his right hand, plus mastering 15-foot shots facing the basket, both from the field or the free throw line; however, he’s already showing some nice offensive skills scoring the ball and passing, and doesn’t figure to be a focal point in the offense, anyway.

      It’s important to consider that you don’t get emotional baggage with John, and you don’t get substantial injuries. Compare him to Dwight Howard, for example. With John, it’s enthusiasm and effort, and great rapport with teammates and fans.

      If the front office for the Bucks, and most fans, don’t value John — especially after the way he excelled in the playoffs against Noah and Gasol and the Bulls — then he would do well to go where he is more appreciated. I wonder if the Spurs would like him.

      To me, it would be extremely sad to lose John as a player and a person, and a bad sign for the future of the Bucks. He’s a winner, and playing a major role at 24-30 minutes per night, he’ll help some team to be a winner.

    • (Guessing this discussion is pretty much over but…) From what I’m reading, the consensus is that Henson is a backup center. While it’s true right now, I feel like we might be writing him off too soon. It’s always said that big men take much longer to develop, and even though Henson has been in the league a few years, this is the first year where he’s had a better chance to showcase his skills. He’s always shown flashes of what he can do in previous seasons, but never on a semi-consistent basis. Even though his work wasn’t always consistent and he may seem limited, he is still fairly young. As stated by those above, there are plenty of other centers available with skills different/better than Henson, but it just feels weird to talk about playing someone else over our developing guys after one season of success.

      Basically, I have no idea what to feel after this season. I feel like a lot of us are looking at established players to add, which I would enjoy, but don’t know if that’s best for the “Own the Future” plan. It was a weird year with the movement/addition of some key guys, along with the speed bump in Jabari’s development.

      • IMO, we should definitely attempt to trade Zaza Pachulia for Spencer Hawes, go after signing RFA Kyle O’Quinn and if Orlando matches our offer to keep him then attempt to sign UFA Ed Davis. The team must either re-sign Kris Middleton or obtain Jimmy Butler as his replacement (the later is much more unlikely). Draft the best available player (BAP) at number 17; personally, hoping that that might just be Miles Turner, Frank Kaminsky, or Sam Dekker, but whoever they take I hope they’re someone with tremendous upside. Focus on the further development of our young players; especially, on MCW and Giannis gaining a much more consistent jumper which hopefully means adding a reliable 3-point shot to their games’. If there’s roster room consider signing another scorer to come off the bench — preferably a top 3-point shooter… options: RFA Will Barton (my favorite option), Marco Belinelli, Gerald Green, Jeremy Lin (less of a 3-point shooter, but is more adequate at backing-up the point guard position verses these other guys). Anyways, these are my wish lists for the team going into 2016.

        • I should have added that if we weren’t able to sign RFA Kyle O’Quinn then before pursuing UFA Ed Davis maybe we should consider putting in an offer for RFA Bismack Biyombo.

          • Couch Potato Scout

            Just got to say L, you are virtually saying the same thing as I am (in a good way), and I’m really glad. I haven’t seen to much tape on Kyle O’Quinn but I do know he’s a solid underrated guy. I know he rebounds well and finishes well, but I am unsure of his defensive reputation and how he scores on offense. I also love all the other guys you mentioned Ed Davis, Kaminsky, Dekker, and I think we should add Booker, if the other guys are unavailable. And I think the only way we can/should trade for Hawes is if we can ship out Ersan for minimal return. Because Hawes seems to just be a better/taller Ersan with less ‘charge-taking’ ability.
            Swisch, I love Kendall Marshall, Kaminsky, and Jamaal Franklin (he’s on my watch list), however I’m on the fence on Leuer. He’s had multiple good games, and seems to “breakout” and then he has a couple of games where everyone forgets about him, and he is a virtual non-factor. Also one (huge) difference between Grizzles and Bucks that we should remember is pace. The Bucks’ strength is fast-paced, fastbreak oriented offense, while the Grizzles pound the ball into the post very often, and the Bucks’ have no such often. Same thing goes with Defense, as the Grizzles mammoth frontcourt is much bigger and slower than the Bucks’, at least in my eyes.

            L, also while I do like Will Barton (since the Bucks’ could probably snag him at the minimum,) I’m a big Gerald Green fan just because of his potential, although it’s unlikely he unlocks it. His combination of length, shooting, and athletic ability is very rare, and if Kidd can harness that combination on defense he would be a very good addition.
            Also, about your list, (in the other article), again I almost feel like you are copying (although I highly doubt it), because I have a similar, albeit much less organized, list of players in the comment section of this article.

            Overall, I think everyone agrees that Center and 3pt shooting seem to be needs. Although many people believe that center is a lesser need since Henson will evolve into that spot. Also, for the stretch 4 spot, I feel like that also should be less of a focus since that is the position Jabari is going to have to play most likely, because of his slow feet, I imagine a lineup that is:
            MCW-Middleton-Giannis-Jabari-Henson/Zaza
            With the middle three switching their matchup duties depending on the team.

            Also one question: Let’s say Kaminsky, Dekker, and Booker are all taken ahead of the Bucks’ (not too unlikely) would it be crazy to try and swing a deal involving the draft pick and some other guys (Zaza, Mayo, Ersan, Bayless,) in order to get a solid center and/or shooting?

          • Couch Potato if said guys are gone and Myles Turner is available what are your thoughts on him? He seems to be raw and a project, but if he could develop into a Tyson Chandler type player I think that is something the Bucks would benefit from greatly.

          • Couch Potato Scout

            Saul, I’m a fan on banking on potential, and if Myles Turner did fall all the way to the Bucks, I believe the Bucks should take him purely based on value at that point. However, that being said I am not a huge fan of Myles Turner, because he seems to be way to much of a tweener to me. He is tall enough and has the measurable to be a great center, however he is very light, does not have much strength, and doesn’t ‘live in the lane’. On the other hand if you use him as a stretch 4 he seems to be solid, as he has a solid shooting stroke, and a decent post game. However, I feel that it is a waste of talent to use him at the 4, because how much better is he than Jabari; I think a much more pressing need is a solid interior presence. If Myles Turner could develop into that interior presence that would be great, but I really can’t see it happen. Also, his lack of athleticism is kinda scary, I haven’t seen to many power moves, or basically anything that didn’t involve abusing his height. He’s pretty interesting since he is a large guy who blocks, can rebound, and can shoot really good, but I feel he’s got to commit himself to either the 5 or the 4, like either get more mobile and agile, so he can be a 4, or get faster feet, and get strength so he’s a Marc Gasol-ish guy (without the passing). Just a tall Center who can hit the midrange and plays solid D.

            One of the main things I try to look at in players is their weight going out of college, because I often see solid big men or guards who are good athletes, get out-muscled since they have no weight. And when they are forced to gain weight in order to compete, they lose their explosiveness. From what I’ve seen it seems like he uses his height very well, but when he came against people near the same height they would either outrun him (he didn’t show that much hustle) or out muscle him (I still think he has to add a couple pounds of muscle like Henson did). I should probably see more tape on Myles Turner, but from what I’ve seen and read, he’s a traditional case of “jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none” and although I think he would be a solid contributor to the Bucks’ especially in infusing some scoring from the forward position off the bench, I feel 3pt shooting from the wings, and a larger interior presence should be more of a priority.

          • Good point about size and weight. That leads me to inquire your thoughts on the big guy out of Purdue AJ Hammons. I don’t know much about him but he definitely has some size.

          • Couch Potato Scout

            Saul, I haven’t heard too much about AJ Hammons, but he seems like a solid prospect. He just isn’t in the draft this year. But he is a good name to remember for next year.
            Some of Centers in this year with some size/weight are:
            Robert Upshaw
            Dakari Johnson
            Frank Kaminsky
            Willie Cauley-Stein
            Rakeem Christmas
            Mouhammadou Jaiteh
            Bobby Portis
            Richaun Holmes
            Johnathan Holmes
            Trey Lyles
            Myles Turner

            These guys are all greater than 240, and taller than 6’10. A name to remember is Rakeem Christmas who although he’s just 6’10 he has a 7’5 winspan and recorded a 29 inch standing vertical.
            The guy I like the best out of the group for raw athleticism and potential is Robert Upshaw, who is a 7 footer with great physical skills and finishing ability. However, he was kicked out of school twice! I think that unless someone good falls, the best thing for the Bucks would be to trade back to the end of the 1st rd/start of the 2nd (and hopefully acquire another 1st pick for next year) and pick the big guy they like the most.
            Some other interesting facts:
            -Montrezl Harrell recorded the 3 biggest wingspan at 7’4; He is an extremely energetic player who has a great motor, and has started to extend his game. He could be a really good bench player. A kind of more potential filled Jeff Adrian.
            -Frank Kaminsky was the only player to record a height to wingspan ratio of under 1.0 (his arms are shorter than him!)
            -Rakeem Christmas had the 2nd greatest wingspan at 7’5 and had one of the greatest standing verticals for guys above 6’8.

  6. To BP and L, there’s at least one Bucks fan reading you guys and glad that you’re keeping the discussion going.

    I agree heartily that we have to be careful about any free agent signings that they don’t interfere with our emphasis on the future. We could sign someone young enough that he could fit in with the Bucks for five or more seasons; or someone old enough to complement and set a good example for our younger players, while being good with 12-24 minutes per game. Out of all these interesting names from free agency that are possibilities for the Bucks, it might come down to one or two signings, and better none than bringing in a bad fit.

    I like a tall player such as Spencer Hawes who can shoot from the outside, for diversity; actually, he could play with John Henson at times with John down low. I think Frank Kaminsky would be even better, if somehow he were available, because he has so many skills that it seems he’ll be a solid NBA player at the least, and possibly a star.

    I like the idea of getting guys from good programs like Wisconsin, or good organizations like the San Antonio Spurs, players who are used to playing team basketball. It might be worthwhile bringing a guy like Trae Jackson from the Badgers to camp (although I’d much prefer Kendall Marshall, if possible); he’s a longshot, but it seems like it took awhile for Mike Conley to develop in the NBA, and Trae might have room to grow.

    Also, what’s Jon Leuer’s status? Could he be a guy who’s ready to breakout, with a nice outside shot, but hasn’t been much noticed because of the Grizzlies top frontliners? I’m also intrigued by Jamaal Franklin, who might be under the radar, and is still young. Again, the Grizzlies are a good organization to go to for players, a team that is gritty and team-oriented.

    • I’ve been quietly rooting for Leuer since he came to the league, and seeing him on the Bucks again would be great. I’ve noticed his minutes seem to come and go, even if the Grizzlies are healthy. I think concerns for him were defense and rebounding, although his rebounding numbers seem to have improved given his limited opportunities. Maybe it’s just the team environment Memphis provides, but if it’s something he’s truly improved I’d welcome the addition. Hawes is definitely a better offensive player than Ersan in terms of versatility. Took a quick glance at his and Ersan’s per 36 stats and they seem fairly similar. It would help if he could play the 5 though, especially with Henson’s lack of a shot. I agree with searching for gritty team-oriented guys. As a guy that valued Bronson Koenig over Jackson on the Badgers, I can’t say I’m thrilled about having him take a roster spot, but anything can happen in the jump from college to the NBA.