Bucks Diary

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The New Bucks Uniforms are 1950s style

Sit on it, Antlerheads. In an attempt to bring back some Happy Days for the franchise, the Bucks have chosen to go retro all the way with their new uniforms -- back to the 1950s... heyyyyyy. (By the way, for regular readers of this blog, my earlier attempts to guess what the digs would look like -- not even ballpark. Sorry) .

Following the lead of the Denver Nuggets, the Bucks have brought back that silky shiny satin look this city hasn't seen since the Milwaukee Hawks took on the Rochester Royals at the old Milwaukee Arena; but it is a look that once dominated the NBA (when the Lakers played in the Twin Cities). Think early Bob Cousy or Tom Heinsohn in the '63 All-Star Game, or Sam Jones circa 1959, and you'll know what you have. Pretty cool I guess, especially the home uniforms. I like that look very much.

I do have one criticism, however. But its not specific to the Bucks new unis... its an Association-wide fashion beef. Its the shorts. When is someone going to have the cahones to modify that god awful Fab Five look? Its so tired; it needs to go. I'm not advocating a return to Stockton. I'm saying let's go back to early Jordan. Those shorts were baggy without being ridiculous. Those shorts were cool. The modern look plainly sucks. Its more like surf dude, not hoopster.

One more minor criticism: doesn't the green in the road uniform make Andrew Bogut look like Gerry Cooney?

That all said, the new unis are definitely an improvement. I'm curious to see which way public opinion sways on this issue in BucksNation.

However it goes, I know one thing for sure. The silly season is finally over. Its time for some hoops! Roll out the ball rack and let's get training camp underway.

The Gathering Storm

Maybe I'm just paranoid. But I'm getting a worse and worse feeling about the future of the Bucks here in Milwaukee.

Drip by drop stories are coming out that portend doom. First came the one about the extremely short-term lease the team signed with the Bradley Center. Then came the pessimistic outlook from Bradley Center head Ulice Payne. Then Brewer owner Mark Attanasio quelled rumors that he would ride to the rescue. Now comes news that Senator Kohl sought local buyers and there were none to be found. Bad news on top of bad news.

Eventually I'm afraid the Senator may be forced to sell to interests outside the state. That would be catastrophic.

What's worse, I can't seem to conjure up a scenario whereby the team would be secured long term here in Milwaukee. The Bradley Center, as presently constituted, will not do. Yet I doubt there will be a new facility offered, certainly not publicly. Maybe the Bradley Center will indeed be renovated, but that seems like a big old pipe dream. What happens then? I don't know. I hope I'm wrong, but I have become more and more convinced the team will end up in either Seattle or Oklahoma City.

Why? I think the NBA will force the Hornets back to New Orleans. That would leave OKC open to the Oklahoma consortium that recently bought the Sonics. Should the city of Seattle not meet the consortium's demands, I believe they would move the team to OKC. That would then leave the big juicy market of Seattle wide open for whatever faction bought the Bucks. Should their demands be met, OKC would be available as a relocation spot. I can't get that nightmare domino theory out of my head.

Again, maybe I'm just paranoid. I hope so.

Wake up the Echoes

Tonight your Mke Bucks will finally unveil their new “Return to Red” uniforms at their annual “Tip-Off” party for season ticket holders. Hopefully the new colors will be a harbinger of a return to glory as well. Red and green, as I have mentioned in the past, were the team's colors during their salad days of the 70's and 80's.

But, while I am excited to see the new digs, my fear is that -- like their new logo -- they will go over small. They’ve built them up so much I just know they will not live up to the hype.

I have been angling to get into the party to give all of you a peek, but I’ve failed. So there will be no exclusive access through this site. Sorry. However, I am sure that by this time tomorrow morning, everyone in BucksNation who so wishes will have seen the new Antlerwear.

Once this is out of the way, we can get to what really matters – training camp and the beginning of the Bucks ’06-’07 roundball campaign. It should be a memorable one.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weekly Buck Droppings Volume V

Buck Dropping 1:
Hollinger labels Bucks an off-season "winner"

In a recent New York Sun column, John Hollinger, a well respected hoops analyst, put the Bucks atop his list of off-season 'winners'. While he was not wowed by the Magliore to the Blazers trade (he described the players the Bucks received in return "mediocrities"), he thought the Ford-for-Villanueva deal more than made up for it. In fact he called the trade a "scandalous rip-off" of the Raptors by the Bucks. He also liked the signing of G Lynn Greer (whom he described as a "sharpshooter") and the acquistion of defensive minded swingman Ruben Patterson. Because of these moves, he expects the Bucks to be competitive in the East (I assume that's what he meant by "afloat").

I can't take an educated position on the Greer signing because, frankly, I've never seen him play. But, as readers of this blog will know, I agree whole heartedly with his other two positive observations. But not everyone else does...

Buck Dropping 2:
Did he mean to write "project"?

On the other hand, Jeff Mangurten of Insidehoops.com, thinks the Ford trade might come back to bite the Bucks. He says the way a bad team becomes good is by acquiring a talented point guard, yet the Bucks "bucked" this pattern, he claims, by trading away a point guard whom Mangurten calls a "prodigy". (I won't even get in to the obvious illogic of his argument -- the Bucks were bad with TJ Ford, how would keeping him have made them better?)

But I will take issue with his description of Ford as a prodigy. A prodigy? Mozart was a prodigy. Not TJ Ford.

I cannot for the life of me understand why many otherwise knowledgeable basketball writers have so much regard for TJ Ford. What do they see in him? Is it his quickness? That's not a guarantor of success. If it were Brevin Knight would be the modern day Magic Johnson. Is it that Final Four he helped get Texas to? If that's the case, Mateen Cleaves was a much more accomplished collegian than Ford. So was Butch Lee for that matter. Neither of them did anything in the Association. Yet so many continue to expect so much from Ford. I don't get it.

Mangurten does, however, make a strong point when he says the Bucks must settle quickly on a starting point guard. Rotating point guards in basketball is about as successful as rotating quarterbacks in football.

Buck Dropping 3:
I have been waiting for this one

In his aforementioned article, Mangurten wondered whether the Bucks would live to regret "passing" on Hornets PG Chris Paul and instead taking C Andrew Bogut. I have been anticipating this critique for a while. I knew it was coming.

Whenever a top pick is outperformed by someone below him, or turns out to be average while the lower guy becomes a superstar, critics will inevitably rewrite history to make it look as though the team that passed on the superstar made a choice that even a fool would not have made, when in fact the prevailing wisdom at the time wholeheartedly agreed with the pick.

That's the case here. As far as I can recall, virtually no one considered Paul worthy of the top choice. The consensus choice was clearly Bogut, and to the extent that there was debate, it was between him and Hawks F Marvin Williams. Paul wasn't even in the conversation. Hell, he was not even considered an obvious choice as the best point guard in that draft.

Yet, mark my words, if Paul has a Hall-of-Fame career, and Bogut turns out to be "just a guy", history will be rewritten to reflect Mangruten's view, not mine.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Supplemental Buck Droppings Volume 4.5

I’ve had several requests for a picture of the free t-shirt I received from the Milwaukee Bucks as part of their email newsletter promotional. It is pictured above. It’s the same shirt Bucks F Bobby Simmons was modeling in the picture included with the original post. You’ll notice mine’s a little wrinkled. I had to dig it out of the laundry basket. I was sporting the colors.

Which brings up a different issue. For weeks I’ve been trying to match the red, green, and silver color scheme of this blog to the new Bucks colors.

Initially I relied on the transcript of the press conference announcing the new colors. In it, Bucks GM Larry Harris purports to give the “PMS” color designations for each of the team colors. But the numbers he gave are way off. Either the Lizard had a couple of cocktails in him, or somebody didn’t transcribe his words correctly. The Silver number he gave actually corresponds to a sort of pukish pink color. And the red and green numbers didn’t seem true either.

So I set about to match the colors myself. The problem with that was, the colors seem to change from item to item. For instance, the green in my t-shirt is much lighter than the green used on the Bucks 2006-07 pocket schedule. And the red varies from a brighter red to a sort of dark maroon depending on what example you have in front of you. And if you use the Bucks webpage as a guide, you will notice there are not only several shades of red and green, but also several shades of silver as well.

So I just decided to match my blog colors with the colors used on their pocket schedule. I noticed they were the same shades of red and green as those used on the new Bucks billboard outside the Bradley Center; and I like them better, anyway. For what its worth, I came up with Red PMS:199, Green PMS:627, and Silver PMS:442.

I think ultimately the green on the new Bucks jerseys will be a lighter shade of green than what I use. Maybe I'll change up then. Probably not.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Weekly Buck Droppings Volume IV

Michael Redd’s cool new Bucks commercial

I was watching The Simpsons the other night when I got my first look at the new Bucks 2006-07 commercial. It features Michael Redd shooting threes from such long distance he needs a walkie-talkie to learn whether he caught the net. Pretty clever. Reminiscent of the old Larry Bird-Michael Jordan “H-O-R-S-E” commercial.

Redd is sporting a new Bucks practice jersey with a Pat Ewing style t-shirt underneath that features the new Bucks red. I think it is an extremely cool look. Antlerheads, its sooooo much cooler than the purple. The Bucks are just going to look better this year.

Is this why they switched to red?

I just assumed they switched to red because it looks better than that god awful Lakers purple. Perhaps there was more to it. According to two primate researchers, in an athletic contest between two evenly matched teams, the team wearing red will win more often. I shit you not! The theory behind this is that the color red signifies increased testosterone. Antlerheads, I cannot make this stuff up.

Ruben the dirty?

Ruben Patterson received a dishonorable mention from Charley Rosen in his article identifying the dirtiest basketball players of all-time. Rosen says Patterson, "sometimes crosses the line." I say ‘Great’. This Bucks team needs a little toughness, and if you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’.

Ilyasova draws interest

We may have something in the Young Turk, F Ersan Ilyasova. According to Gary Woelfel, the best (but sometimes weirdly misguided) Bucks beat writer on the job, the Toronto Raptors wanted Ilyasova thrown in as part of the TJ Ford trade. Interesting that they would ask for him, given that the reason they were trading Charlie Villanueva was the glut of front court players on their roster. Given this type respect, and the skills he showed in the World Championships this summer, I can’t wait to see what this guy brings to the table.

Reviving a lost logo

If you read my last post, you saw my latest attempt at an alternate blog logo. It’s based on the forgotten “Buck Head” logo that the team wore on its uniforms and warm-ups from their inception through the Jabbar era, including the glorious 1971 campaign. Many people don’t remember this logo because it was never part of any commercial items or collectible souvenirs, but it is nonetheless a part of the Bucks legacy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Get your free Bucks shirts, Antlerheads

I was perusing the Milwaukee Bucks official website the other night when an offer caught my eye. If you signed up for their email newsletter “Bucks Fastbreak”, you could print off an online voucher and redeem it at the Bradley Center for a free t-shirt featuring the new logo.

I thought for certain this was an attempt at a gentle bait and switch to get people into the Bradley Center to hear the Bucks sales staff’s season ticket pitch. Nevertheless, I am not one to pass on what looks like a gift, so I stopped by the Bradley Center late this afternoon.

Well, I was wrong. The offer is completely on the up-and-up. There is no catch to it whatsoever.

I merely walked into the Bradley Center, signed in at the security desk, received a little guest pass, chit-chatted for a second with the nice man who works the desk, who then pointed me in the direction of the Bucks corporate office. Once inside, a friendly woman at the front desk asked me if I had indeed registered for the newsletter, I assured her I had, she then proceeded to the back of the office to get my shirt while I proceeded to stuff my pockets with the 2006-07 pocket schedules on her desk, she then returned with the shirt, handed it to me, thanked me, and I was on my way. End of story. It’s a nice t-shirt, too, even if you are not wild about the new logo.

The moral of the story is the Bucks offer is legitimate, and provided it is not much of a hassle for you to get to the Bradley Center, you ought to take them up on it. Especially since, judging by the few names on the security register when I checked in, it doesn’t seem as though many people have.

Until next time, Antlerheads, in the words of Avon Barksdale “Take it light, but take it.”

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Weekly Buck Droppings Volume III

Here's the third installment of my weekly Buck thoughts. Again, coming October 1st, I'll be boring you every day with my scatterbrained musings, so look me up. Anyway, here's what I have for this week:

Uniwatch Guy destroys new Bucks logo

A lot of BucksNation was disappointed with the new Bucks logo, primarily because they thought it lacked imagination. The Uniwatch Guy, Paul Lukas, has a much more fundamental problem with it. On his blog, he utterly destroys the design on the basis of its shoddy construction. As his posting points out in very impressive detail, the logo lacks symmetry. He summarizes the problems with the logo as "major". Extremely embarrasing for the organization, I would say. How could that even happen?

If you're interested in his critique, its here.

Rosen on Ruben

Charley Rosen, who is to basketball analysis what a chainsaw is to a butter knife, recently weighed in on the Bucks new small forward, Ruben Patterson. If you have never read Rosen's column or been exposed to his style of critiquing players, you might think Rosen finds Patterson useless. However, if you have had a Rosen inoculation or two in the past, you will know that his report on the new Buck is fairly positive. Sure, he says Ruben can't dribble, pass, or shoot, but what caught my eye was he said Ruben was a "very aggressive defender". What's the big deal about that boilerplate compliment? Rosen rarely... rarely...ever compliments any contemporary player's defense. In fact, half the fun of reading his foxsports.com column is discovering what new and interesting way he finds to express that someone "can't guard his own shadow." (His appeal is the same as Simon Cowell's basically)

Praise from Caeser is praise indeed. I am expecting glove like defense from Patterson this season.

Behind Door Number Two: The New Lynn Greer?

I'm really curious to see what the Bucks new G Lynn Greer will bring to the table. He's an interesting case. There is an underground of former Temple fans on the internet who seem to think he is the greatest hidden treasure since, I don't know, that Confederate ship they dredged up with all the gold. Indeed, Greer has consistently shone brightly overseas. But he really hasn't done much in the States. In fact, I think his American professional career consists of a nondescript 14 game run in the NBDL and several failed training camps. And one of those failed camps was with your Milwaukee Bucks in, I think it was, 2003, when the Bucks barely even gave him a sniff before cutting him. Has he improved that much in three years? What didn't he have then that he has now? Or are the Bucks simply admitting they were hasty in dismissing him? Like I said, he's an interesting case.

The Bucks need to shit or get off the pot

I know I seem hasty in pushing this issue, but the Bucks need to open debate on their future status, or they will pay a price at the turnstiles. If history proves anything about the Milwaukee sports fan its that he/she does not reckon with teams that have their suitcases half-packed. The Braves enjoyed record attendance in Milwaukee until they were sold to that slimy conglomerate from wherever around 1962. After rumors of departure starting wafting in the air, the bottom fell out for the Milwaukee Braves attendance figures. And when the Brewers started bitching that they couldn't compete in Milwaukee without a new stadium (and implicitly threatening that if they did not get one they were gone), attendance dropped off badly in the mid-90s. It wasn't until the Brewers were locked in that attendance began its steady upswing. So, Milwaukee Bucks, waver at your own peril.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Unfrozen Caveman Krzyzewski

Team USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is on a public relations offensive to deflect responsibility for his team’s loss to Greece in the FIBA World Championships. He is arguing, in essence, that his team lost because it simply didn’t have the time it needed to fully comprehend international basketball. (“We’re in the process of learning the international game,” Krzyzewski repeatedly asserted in various forms on ESPN’s ‘Pardon the Interruption’.)

His lame canard brings to mind the old Saturday Night Live character “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer”? Remember him? He was a caveman trial lawyer (played by the incomparable Phil Hartman) who would speak with perfect elocution, would dress in $5,000 suits, would brag about his upper middle class lifestyle, and then would ask the jury to sympathize with him because he was “just a caveman” and therefore confused or frightened by our world. It was brilliant satire. Coach K must have been a fan, because he’s trying to reprise the character as the ‘Unfrozen Caveman Basketball Coach’.

He wants us to believe his vastly more talented squad of cagers lost to the vastly hairier squad of Grecians because international basketball is so radically different from the American version that it (what?) confused them. (“I’m just a caaaaveman, my primitive mind can’t understand your wider lanes”). Sure, Mike. This despite America winning nearly every international basketball competition, with a very few notable exceptions, since basketball became an Olympic sport. Now you want us to believe America is failing because of some steep learning curve we need to climb. Uh, huh.

Why is Krzyzewski trying to sell this load of crap? Because he has no choice. Either he admits he messed up by failing to prepare his team to defense the simple screen-and-roll plays the Greeks were burning them with over-and-over-and-over again, or he levels the blame on the players. Neither of those options would be particularly beneficial to his future standing in the basketball world, so he’s left to blame the game itself. That won’t fly.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Weekly Bucks Post Volume II

This is the second of my weekly Bucks postings. They go up every Sunday night/Monday morning. Remember, I will resume daily posting on October 1st. Oh, and I may be moving to SBnation. Before I can, however, I have to come up with a new blog name that doesn't include the word "Bucks", but at the same time strongly invokes the Bucks. I'm stymied. I've been wrestling with it for a month and come up with nada. Suggestions are greatly appreciated (legitimate suggestions, Antlerheads).

Am I fooling myself about Bogut? Maybe

I try to be as logical and tightly reasoned as possible when I put forward arguments on this blog. But I will always have one argumentative flaw. No matter how I try, I can never truly be wholly objective. My heart belongs to the Bucks.

Thus I will sometimes bend analogies, strain credulity, and stretch logic to arrive at an optimistic result (from a Bucks fans’ perspective). A prominent example of this is my analysis of Andrew Bogut. If you read this blog on a consistent basis, you may get the idea that I am trying my damndest to convince myself that Andrew Bogut is a high quality player, when there are just as many markers indicating he may be nothing but an average player. And truthfully, I am. Why do I do it? Probably because I can’t face the possibility that the Bucks have had 4 number one picks in their history and gotten only one true difference maker in return.

If the Bucks leave

I had a sobering thought the other day. If the Bucks leave, what am I going to do? As an NBA fan, I will be virtually stranded on a deserted island.

When the Brewers were on the verge of moving I was at least able to console myself with the notion that I had other baseball options. At the time the White Sox were begging for fans. Their tickets were plentiful and pretty reasonably priced. I had them to fall back on.

But if the Bucks leave, I got nothing. The Bulls? I can’t see it. Besides, Bulls tickets are hard enough to come by right now. The Twolves? That’s a six-hour drive, and a wildly overpriced ticket when I get there. No thanks. College basketball? Please……..

Remember the Middle Parquet?

The strange things I remember about my first Bucks game. Entering the “train-station” veranda at the old Milwaukee Arena. Seeing the big Bango logo on the wall to my left as I made my way to the arena turnstile. Hearing that great, hypnotic percussion of the bouncing basketballs during warm-ups.

And the location of my seats. For my first Bucks game, vs. the Portland Trailblazers, we sat in the “middle parquet”. I will never forget that. What a cool designation. To a kid it sounded so important and just reeked of “basketball”.

Nowadays your seat location is based purely on numbers. 227 or 410 or whatever. What are we, accountants? How boring. If the Bucks do get a new arena, I demand a middle parquet!