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Why the Bucks will bring excitement back to Milwaukee

By Bobby Malecki

Sure the Milwaukee Bucks haven't made the post season since the '05-06' season, and yes, these are the Bucks that suffered through an injury-riddled 34- victory season last year on the heels of disastrous 26- win campaign the year before that. To put these numbers in perspective, three teams last season won more games than our beloved Bucks have in the last two seasons combined! Feeling confident yet?
This past off season the Milwaukee Bucks also dealt away their most consistent and arguably their best performer of the 2008-2009 season in Richard Jefferson. The bungled first- round draft pick of Joe Alexander in 2008 (#8 overall) still looms large over the franchise in a draft where players like Brook Lopez, Jason Thompson and Anthony Randolph were still available. Imagine a front court pairing Bogut with the likes of a Lopez, Thompson or Randolph? Lastly, they let Charlie Villinueva and Ramon Sessions skip town without any resistance. Where's the excitement you may ask?
It all starts with their dynamic rookie point guard from Compton, California. Brandon Jennings is the real deal folks. He had an impressive summer league showing in Las Vegas where he averaged 14.6 PPG and 8.2 dimes per game. He's had moments of brilliance in the pre- season as well as moments where he looked like a 20-year old kid, which is to be expected. He glides with the ball, is lightning quick and makes highlight reel passes that no Bucks point guard in recent memory, if ever, could make. He has a year of professional experience under his belt from playing overseas last year instead of playing at the collegiate level. Though, his playing time was spotty and his contributions were minimal across the Atlantic, it gave him the experience of a pro atmosphere, the wear and tear of travel and the physical aspect of the game he wouldn't have received playing at the collegiate level last year in the States. It makes him NBA-ready.
Jennings will undoubtedly struggle at times this season, but he will make at least one exciting, 'did you see that!' play every night and he finally gives you a reason to go spend a few bucks at the Bradley Center. Affectionately known as 'Doobie Doo' at the famed Rucker Park in the heart of New York City, Jennings is worth the price of admission alone. He has an explosive first step, he's a pass first point guard that will create many looks for his teammates and he plays with an air of confidence not seen in Milwaukee since Sammy Cassell ran the show. He has a flair for the dramatic. Remember draft night? Most importantly, it seems like he is truly happy to be in Milwaukee and playing for a point guard orientated coach in Scott Skiles. Jennings has superstar written all over him. If you don't believe me, YouTube him, watch him this season, and let me know how you feel about Mr. Jennings in April.
Outside of the excitement that Jennings will bring to the arena every night, other reasons to give you optimism about the Bucks this year is the return to health of Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut. These are two all-star caliber players when healthy, and if that happens this season, it gives the Bucks an excellent core of players and a new 'Big 3'.
Redd may not be a franchise player, although he is being paid like one, but he is terrific shooter and prolific scorer and if he has a point guard to get him the ball in the right spots and a big man to clog the lane, which he will have this season, Redd can average 25- a- night in his sleep. Bogut on the other hand, has shown the ability to be an elite center when he's on the floor night in and night out. He plays solid defense, takes charges, plays hard, can score with his left or right hand from the paint, rebounds extremely well on both the offensive and defensive glass, eats a lot of space and has improved every season since his rookie year.
Outside of my newly minted 'Big 3', Kurt Thomas brings veteran leadership, a mid-range jumper and toughness to a team in desperate need of toughness. Carlos Delfino brings a another three -point option to the mix. Luke Ridnour is a capable back up point guard who can carry the load on any given night with his shooting or passing. Luc Richard Mbah A Moute is a lock down defender. Hakim Warrick brings energy off the bench Milwaukee hasn't had since Tim Thomas during the George Karl era. Can you already envision a Jennings to Warrick lob to the rim on a frenetic fast break? (Que the SportsCenter theme) General Manager John Hammond has assembled a lot of quality pieces of the puzzle to the 2009-'10 Milwaukee Bucks team and Scott Skiles is the right coach to guide this team and put those pieces in place. He's worked magic and turned around franchises before, in Phoenix and Chicago, and last year was on the verge of doing it again with the Bucks until injuries gutted the team. Another training camp under Skiles' tutelage and this Bucks team is being molded more and more into the type of team the fans of Milwaukee demand. This team will be about defense, toughness, unselfishness and will ultimately bring excitement back to the Bradley Center for the first team since the Eastern Conference Finals run in 2000.
Losing has cast a long shadow over this Bucks franchise for the last few years and the greater part of this decade, the majority of pre-season prognostications have called for doom and gloom for our Bucks yet again, but toss those predictions away, don't listen to the 'experts', and get the shades out, the future is bright for Milwaukee Bucks basketball and it begins this season with a return to the post season. Now that's something to get excited about!


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