Corey Guy, Staff Writer
Flashback to the 2013-14 season; the Milwaukee Bucks were 15-67 under coach Larry Drew. The season was a forgettable one, accumulating one of the worst team records in NBA history. The Bucks only show of promise were a few young standouts and a rookie prospect from Greece, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
It’s the 2019-20 season; the Bucks are now a league-best 53-12 in the Eastern Conference after beating the 2016-17 Warriors’ record for the fastest playoff clinch in NBA history. However, due to the Covid-19 virus this historic season for the Bucks has been put on an immediate halt. That is a terrible turn of events for a Bucks organization that showed incredible promise throughout the season. However, it shouldn’t take away from the strides this Bucks organization has made.
A lot has changed over the past seven seasons. Like, a few head coaching changes, a new team executive, a new look and logo, new players, and even a brand-new arena named the Fiserv Forum. It doesn’t seem too long ago when I would go to those Bucks games at the old Bradley Center to watch the team get blown out almost every night.
The Milwaukee Bucks deserved a lot more credit than they have received. This seven-year turnaround from the bottom of the league to title contenders has been extremely important, both on and off the court.
This time during the rebuilding stages, the Buck organization put on a front office masterclass in stringing the right pieces together and truly rebuilding through the draft. Despite the disability of being a small-market city, the execution was tremendous. Both the general manager Jon Horst and NBA head coach of the year Mike Budenholzer did an extraordinary job establishing a winning environment that included pivotal trades and adding necessary pieces by Horst and his front office. Also, adding excellent coaching by Budenholzer and his staff was only destined to institute a period of change for Milwaukee.
It has instituted a new superstar and face of the league in Antetokounmpo. His prominence in the league is an example of an organization taking a chance on international players, causing a fluster of new international stars into the league such as Luka Doncic and Pascal Siakam.
The Greek superstar had a promising 2019-20 season, averaging a career high of 29.6 points per game and 13.7 rebounds. While adding in five assists per game, Giannis made a substantial argument for back to back MVP awards.
Antetokounmpo, maturing and coming into his own in Milwaukee, hasn’t just had a positive impact on the team, but on the city itself. Milwaukee has seen an economic boost, in big part because of the world’s attention on the city’s basketball.
The city is finally receiving some of the necessary respect and attention it deserves. Being a native of Milwaukee, it comes with a chip on your shoulder. Outside the state, most people have little to no clue what you’re about. The Bucks are representing us.
The growth of the city over the last seven years has been astonishing. Whether it’s the beautiful downtown arena, new restaurants and shops, or overall comradery of the city, the Bucks are playing an instrumental role in creating that growth.
Also, they were playing fantastic basketball when play was halted. Watching the Bucks play was poetry in motion, with each player playing a vital role in the team success. Khris Middleton, two-time All-Star, has blossomed into one of the league’s most fantastic scorers. Several veterans – including Brook and Rob Lopez, Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and one of the best shooters of all time, Kyle Korver – have made important contributions.
The Buck are revolutionizing how small-market teams can operate in the NBA. This organization is great for the NBA because it shows that despite not having large free agency market attraction a team can prosper and compete with the best teams in the league.