Oshkosh Has a Team Again

by Alex Boeder
Bucks.com Writer

Gosh.

The game will look a little different than when the Oshkosh All-Stars – the first professional hoops team in the city, a National Basketball League club with their own basketball-reference.com page and a couple championship trophies – started playing back in 1929.

“The rules of the game made it impossible for high scoring. After every basket, the ball went back to mid-court for a center jump, and the clock continued non-stop. Fans wanted to see action, so the officials let players scramble and hit each other without much interference. Fan involvement was direct; when a questionable call was made or an opposing player made a nasty move, fans would storm onto the court in an angry mob. In this time, there were designated shooters so that the same player would shoot for every free throw.”

Did you know that Giannis Antetokounmpo has won twice as many jump balls as he has lost? Like your chances in a scrum against Matthew Dellavedova? Are you sure that Jason Terry has missed a free throw this season?

Those three won’t be suiting up for the new Bucks NBA D-League team in the Fox Valley, and they fit well in 2017 with the Bucks, anyway. But this news is not to be merely trivialized, either. Make it to a game in Oshkosh, and you will catch NBA-level talent, usually on the way up. The NBA D-League website notes that approximately 30 percent of NBA players have NBA D-League experience, including fellows such as Hassan Whiteside, C.J. McCollum and Avery Bradley. Almost half of the first-round picks from the 2016 NBA Draft have already appeared in the D-League this season.

Just the other day, the Mavericks signed D-League call-up Yogi Ferrell to a two-year contract after a 10-day contract run punctuated by starring roles in wins over the Cavaliers, Spurs and 76ers. Remember Ben Gordon? He is trying to make it back to the NBA, and he is doing that while with the Texas Legends.

So the quality of play is true. And the style of play is perhaps better still. Four teams currently average 115+ points per game. The rules of the game no longer make it impossible for high scoring, as they say.

The Bucks have assigned 10 players – most notably Ersan Ilyasova, Ramon Sessions and Larry Sanders – to four different D-League teams, but sharing an affiliate was never the ideal. Now the Bucks have their own team, which means they can more seamlessly do the call-up, send-down thing. The parent team can dictate the coaching staff and the playing style, making it more of a true developmental experience for the player and team alike.

From a team perspective, having a D-League team to call their own, in their own state, is a best-case scenario. And from the fan perspective, too. Oshkosh is in the middle of the Fox Valley, proximate to Appleton, Fond du Lac, and just an hour and a half away from both Madison and Milwaukee. I grew up watching Jordan and the Bulls with my dad in Oshkosh, and that was not so bad. We certainly would have liked to go to a professional game right in our own backyard though.

 

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