April 14, 2008

Bucks' fans retain glimmer of hope after hiring

Category: Bucks — Patrick Stumpf @ 4:28 pm

For the fans who have lost all hope in the Milwaukee Bucks’ chances to return to Eastern Conference prominence, hold on. The Bucks have finally managed to negotiate outside their own organizational ties (something Wisconsin teams struggle to do), bringing in GM John Hammond, left, largely credited for building up the Pistons to their current status amongst the NBA’s elite. At first take, Herb Kohl may have finally notched a solid hiring, generating the kind of buzz the team hasn’t seen since they signed George Karl back in 1998. But even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.

On to Hammond, who has been a hot commodity around league circles for the past few years. The first managerial move on his docket? Most likely replacing Larry K, and if so, good riddance. Hammond has connections to both Larry Brown and Rick Carlisle (both former head coaches in Detroit out of a job), and is confident he’ll be able to get this ship righted. How long that will take, however, is anyone’s guess. And for all those fans still sitting on their hands, be patient. It’s been a while since Milwaukee has reeled in a big name executive like this, so there has to be some reason for optimism. Let’s just take a wait and see approach. On to the players, and I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, this team needs a new direction. Michael Redd has not played like the $90 million leader we payed him to be. Charlie Villanueva is an interesting guy with loads of potential, but since Larry Harris took his starting job away after drafting Yi, his value resides as a bench player. Bobby Simmons is nice player who can’t stay healthy. Dido for Bogut. Mo Williams is a shoot-first point guard. Charlie Bell has an attitude. In other words, this team needs to be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up. Hopefully that’s what Hammond has planned.

The good news is, the Bucks sit in a favorable position in the NBA Draft, holding another top 10 pick. Who will they target? After randomizing the order 20 times on ESPN.com’s Mock Draft Lottery, the following selections ensued: (by the way, the Bucks have a 4.3% chance of drawing the top pick)

Pick Number: 1st overall (1), 3rd overall (1), 7th overall (11), 8th overall (7).

Selections: Michael Beasley, PF, Kansas State (1), Jerryd Bayless, PG, Arizona (1), Russell Westbrook, PG, UCLA (13), Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana (4), DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M (1).

Not surprising. The Bucks currently stand as the league’s 7th worst team winning-percentage wise, and with so few games left, those percentages won’t change that drastically. Regardless of where they’re picking, I think point-guard is the way this team needs to go, more specifically a lock-down defender. Westbrook, left, would fit that bill perfectly. He has great bloodlines coming from UCLA, and is freakishly athletic. Bayless would also be a nice fit, but Westbrook is the better passer. If the Bucks pick anywhere after #3 (Rose and Mayo alert), and Mr. Westbrook is there, he should be the pick.

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