I’m getting somewhat tired of bothering you all about the Milwaukee Bucks. I feel as though you’ve grown weary of my constant bashing of the stateline’s most irrelevant professional franchise. After all, my stance on this team hasn’t moved an inch since the time I was given access to a blog. But with the overwhelming sense of ambivalence to the Milwaukee Bucks, I feel as though I have a responsibility to keep bringing them up. To keep this team on your minds when so many others are telling you to look elsewhere. With a severe lack of hard-hitting opinions and critics surrounding the team (*cough* Journal-Sentinel *cough*), I’ll do my part, 70 miles away. The Milwaukee Bucks still don’t get it.
With the vultures circling Scott Skiles, a surprise 180 came yesterday when the MJS reported that Skiles will be back for his fifth season as head coach. Coming straight from the horses mouth, Skiles vowed a bounce back next season, thanks in large part to “play(ing) better from the mid-point on and it gives reason for excitement.” The Bucks were 18-15 in the second half of the season, and a stellar 2-14 against playoff teams. Excited yet?
The fact is that Skiles isn’t happy in Milwaukee anymore, which started with him putting his house up for sale during the winter. He has conflicted with guys like Brandon Jennings and the recently departed Stephen Jackson and Andrew Bogut, and has put young players like Tobias Harris and Jon Leuer in incomprehensible doghouses. His in-game rotations are headscratching, and his love affair with Drew Gooden is borderline uncomfortable. He has done what he has done in Chicago and Phoenix…he’s worn out his welcome. He’s also done it after one playoff appearance in a terrible conference. How could you NOT be excited?
So you’d think that Michael Hunt, the MJS’s sports opinion guy, would be all over this, screaming to the rooftops as he did a week ago that Skiles was a “lame-duck coach.” That his presence as head coach hinders the team from signing free agents. Well, you’d be wrong. Why the sudden change in heart, Mikey? Are you as excited as the rest of us?
Skiles is a problem, and should be done. But the fact of the matter is, he’s the least of this team’s problems. John Hammond’s inability to construct a competent roster is a bigger issue. But these problems run to the top, to Herb Kohl. Kohl has been the owner of the club since 1985. The Bucks have made it out of the first round of the postseason four times, and just once in the last 20 years. Never once has a rebuild taken place. It hasn’t mattered who’s been running the show, from Mike Dunleavy to Larry Harris to John Hammond. It hasn’t mattered who’s been running the floor, from Del Harris to George Karl to Scott Skiles. There is one constant throughout the years of ineptitude, and he sits at the top.
Until Kohl accomplishes the tricky issue of selling the team to someone who will keep the team where it is, little will change. But sending Skiles out the door would have at least been a slight glimmer of hope that the Bucks’ brass isn’t happy with consistent mediocrity. That the error of their ways had been realized. But here we sit. In the same death spiral as before.
Only slightly more excited.
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