This Looks Like the Best Bucks Team in a Long Time
Flip on the TV a decade ago, and the five most likely Bucks sharing the court were Ramon Sessions, Richard Jefferson, Luc Mbah a Moute, Charlie Villanueva, and Francisco Elson. If you started watching the Bucks in 2008–09, that is what you saw. Maybe an exciting rookie checked in? An all-encompassing sentence about Joe Alexander can include just the words Joe Alexander.
Or maybe it was the year before, which was the rookie season of Yi Jianlian in Milwaukee. After facing Yao Ming and the Rockets for the first time in the regular season, Yao Ming said he thought that Yi would end up being better than him. A couple months into the season, Yi dropped 29 and 10 on 14–17 shooting (and he was shooting) in a win over the Bobcats, and while he was not Yao, he appeared to be someone. The Bucks went 25–56 and that was that for Yi in Milwaukee. This, this was the season that I first chose to cover the Bucks, Awvee Storey and all.
You might reach back a bit further. To something like 2005–06, when the Bucks won 40 games. It was the fourth time in five seasons that they won between 40 and 42 games.
Heed this: The Bucks were consistently excellent in the 1980s. They have 13 division titles to their name, tied for fourth most of any NBA franchise (behind the Lakers, Celtics, and Spurs). They have won more games than they have lost. They won the Finals in their third year of existence. Fans of every city and franchise like to play up the tortured fan narrative thing. The Bucks have had it rough lately, and “lately” has been for a while, but they have a proud history, too.
They have been through it lately, though. If you happened to start watching the Bucks exactly five years ago, you watched a team that managed to play 82 games without going on a single winning streak. They neglected to win two games in a row throughout an entire season, is what I mean. They went 15–67, worst in franchise history.
That worst team in franchise history also had a guy — a guy who finished 13th in scoring on that 15–67 team — who just a topped a survey of NBA General Managers when it came to the question: If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?
(Giannis ranked just ahead of Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry on that list.)
Anyway, this Bucks team should add another division title to the books this season, but they should be on to putting more than that kind of thing in the Forum rafters.