Bucks Diary

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Bucks Flying Circus lands in Detroit

Here's what we know at this hour: the Bucks are in Detroit, and they plan to show up at the Palace at Auburn Hills for their basketball game with the Detroit Pistons. Whether they plan to actually compete with the Pistons for a victory, well, my sources tell me that should be listed as "questionable", and is likely to be a game time decision. I am also being told that Coach Stotts does plan to ask the team to try to win, or at least "build momentum toward winning", but that he will not insist on anything.

Motown/Beertown Trivia

In honor of tonight's visit by the Bucks to Motor City, let's play Motown/Beertown trivia.

Quick, who is in worse shape, Ford Motor Company or the Milwaukee Bucks? Who seems more leaderless, Ford Motor Company or the Milwaukee Bucks? Who encourages and then bitterly disappoints their stockholders/fans on a more consistent basis? Ford or your Bucks?

Actually, those were all trick questions. The answer to each is The Detroit Lions. Matt Millen would also have been an acceptable answer to questions 1 and 3.

A clarification on my position regarding Coach Stotts

First of all, a caveat: keep me out of the Epi struggle (regular readers: don't ask what that's all about because I couldn't tell you). With that said, here’s my position on Coach Stotts, in a nutshell. Last year, while I didn’t think he was Red Auerbach, I stood up for him because I felt the torrid of criticism against him was out of proportion with his performance. Many disagreed. Many felt he took a highly talented Bucks team and made them mediocre. I, on the other hand, believed the opposite. I felt that Coach Stotts was given a badly flawed team full of old men, trade throw-ins, and TJ Ford, and made them into a mediocre, 'first round and out' playoff team. Okay. That was then.

Now I am in favor of firing him. Why have I changed positions? Well, in the words of Nas, "I feel like my eyes have seen too much suffering."

Too often I have watched the Bucks refuse to join the competition. They show no desire to win. They play without effort or direction. They don't seem to care or have heart. And there seem to be no negative consequences for anybody in spite of all that. And I have to hold Coach Stotts primarily responsible for those shortcomings.

Note that my case against Coach Stotts has surprisingly little to do with winning or losing. That's because I don't blame the Coach for the circumstance that he is in, that was out of his control. I blame him for what he does while he is in it. Does he take the chicken shit he has been give and try to make chicken salad out of it, or does he just let it turn into even smellier chicken shit? How does he respond to the situation he finds himself in? I don't think Coach Stotts has responded well at all.

If the Bucks were playing spirited, all-out basketball on a nightly basis, yet coming up short, I probably would not be in favor of firing Coach Stotts. But when the team has no effort or intensity and seems wholly indifferent to whether they win or lose, then that creates a crisis of confidence in the coaches leadership, one from which, history suggests, most coaches do not recover. And Stotts won't recover either, so he must go.

Will a new coach right the ship?

Don’t count on it. It could happen (presuming the Bucks ever pull the trigger and fire Stotts) but there is so much that needs to be corrected on this team, mostly mentally, that a midseason turnaround seems unlikely.

Should we be excited about the prospect of getting a lottery pick?

I wouldn’t get that excited. I doubt we will be bad enough to have anything more than an outside shot at the presumptive first pick, Buckeye Greg Oden. And he doesn’t look like a surefire superstar to me anyway (he almost looks older than fellow Buckeye Granville Waiters did at the same age though). The only one in the draft guaranteed to be great, in my opinion, is this Durant kid. He looks like a cross between Kevin Garnett and Alex English. What about Joakim Noah? God, no! Is that guy Bogut Jr. or what? Stay away Milwaukee! The rest of the lottery prospects look like talented maybes. This isn’t 1985 y’all. There are few sure bets anymore. Thanks a lot Garnett, Kobe, Europeans, et. al. You turned what was a relative sure thing into a veritable blind crapshoot.

Five games to forget

How bad have the last five games been for the Milwaukee Bucks? There is only one Bucks player among the Top 100 Eff48 averages in the Eastern Conference for those five games and that's Ersan Ilyasova showing up at number 90 with the decidedly mediocre average score of 20.51. One Buck among the Top 100 in the toothless Eastern Conference! No wonder they went a shameful 1-4.

Bogut back to his "Bad Andy" routine

Welcome back, Bad Andy. Bucks center Andrew Bogut has been particularly awful over those same last five games (if you consider the whole month of January he's been quite mediocre). What happened to the Good Andy we met in December? Is he gone for good? Who knows, but Bogut's uneven play is starting to really piss me off. I mean, what is the deal with this guy? Is he a journeyman or a rising star? Is he a graceful pivotman, or a slow-footed, stumbling clod? Which is it, Andy? Will the real Andrew Bogut please stand up.

Should Redd have made the All-Star team?

No. And I am a little disappointed that Redd even cares about it (he was publicly lobbying for his own cause this week). Hello! You're first mate on a sinking ship, the SS Milwaukee Yucks. And when you’re on a sinking ship, you don't worry about personal commedations, you look for ways to bail water out faster! Focus, brother! Besides, if Redd wants to establish himself as an All-Star caliber player, he has to help the Bucks win more games and he has to expand his game beyond just scoring. Hey! Hold it a second! Maybe those two goals will go hand-in-hand! Eureka!

Oklahoma City got Oklahosed

The New Orleans Hornets have now officially cut ties with Oklahoma City. Thanks for one and a half of the best years of support we’ve ever gotten as a franchise. Back to the devastated city that has other more pressing issues and that never really showed any interest in us before those issues arose. I understand you shouldn’t abandon a city in crisis. But, when the city never had much interest in you in the first place, are you still obligated to go back? And should you even try to go back? If the city couldn’t or didn’t want to support you when it had its full population, why would you expect it to support you when half of its population is gone. The whole thing makes no sense. Oklahosed.


At February 3, 2007 at 2:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If loss, then lack of effort. Lack of effort, coaches fault. Nonsense. Tonight's game lack of effort was not to be found. Magic game, yes, lack of effort. Heat game? No, a risky coaching decision to start with a Smurf lineup that backfired and created a hole from which a lot of effort went to climb out. Probably too much and errors were made. Suns game? Hardly a lack of effort. Ad Nauseum. It is just simplistic to assume lack of effort when teams are losing. Try instead a lowering of the efg% by over a point in 12 games. If the ball doesn't go in is that too a lack of effort? I see Patterson diving all around, Ilyasova also. boykins giving everything he has. Bell trying but in a season long shooting slump. Where is this lack of effort that you so glibly declare. bogut? Well, he's been off and on since the first game last year. Probably overthinks and gets frustrated. But to you tha tis lack of effort also, I guess. Villenuava? He was known to get disinterested last year, so you want to pin his behavior on Stotts? But also he is working his way back from somewhat serious injuries and I would cut him so slack. Lack of effort--so simple, so unfounded; but repeat it enough and it becomes a truism.

At February 3, 2007 at 5:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, interesting comments about Oklahoma City. To a point I agree they got "hosed," but for the most part everyone here except the newspaper (which is widely regarded as a joke and an embarassment) understood this was to be nothing more than a temporary arrangement. I think OKC will eventually have a professional team (preferably an NBA team), but it isn't going to be right away and it won't be without upsetting another city in the process since there is little point in expanding the league.

At February 3, 2007 at 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe mke can inform us how Stotts is responsible for a team that shot 50.8% (efg) for the season up unit Redd's injury has shot 46.2% since his injury? Is it not possible that this decline, very related to more losing, is the result of playing persons longer who simply do not shoot as well as Redd, Williams, and Villenuava? Or in yur mind is the decline an indicator of a lack of effort to shoot well?

At February 4, 2007 at 12:16 AM, Blogger Sky Hook said...

Anonymous, you're deluding yourself. Coach Stotts knew the rules of the coaching profession when he got into it. And rule number one is, if the team is underperforming, the coach takes the fall.

Your rationalizations for the Bucks sound exactly like those used by people who lobbied for Bart Starr to get one more season with the Packers (oh, he's such a nice guy) or those who never thought Phil Garner should be released by the Brewers. I prefer the Ron Wolf model. He realized the team was going nowhere under Ray Rhodes, so he moved decisively. He could have made excuses for Rhodes sorriful performance, but he's not an "excuses" kind of guy. And he's the only general manager to bring a world championship to Wisconsin in a long, long time.

At February 4, 2007 at 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sky hook, its funny you want to keep outta the Epi struggle because its him that your arguing with in these replies. welcome to the maelstrom!!!!!!!!

At February 4, 2007 at 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't see, skyhook, once any argument based upon "nice guy." Only saw arguments based upon facts that refute claims of lack of effort and offer an alternative explanation of the situation (beyond the emptyheaded "no effort" claim). How that has to deal with not understanding that coaches are always the scapegoats and should be prepared for such is a mystery to me, but it is a facile retort on your part.

Nicely done site, but lame reasoning.


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