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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for December: 11. Milwaukee Bucks

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of December 31st):  16-13,  tied second place Central Division






11
This Month:

11
Team Statistics and League Rank (as of December 31st):

  • Points Scored: 95.8 (18th)
  • Points Allowed: 96.0 (9th)
  • Team FG%: .431 (26th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .439 (10th)
  • Rebounds per game: 42.9 (13th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 45.4(28th)
  • Turnovers per game: 14.2(6th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 16.8 (3rd)


Individual Statistical Leaders (as of December 31st):

  • Scoring (ppg): Monta Ellis (19.7)
  • Rebounds per game:  Larry Sanders (8.5)
  • Minutes per game:  Brandon Jennings (37.9)
  • Assists per game: Brandon Jennings (5.8)
  • Field Goal Percentage: Larry Sanders (.541)
  • Steals per game:  Brandon Jennings (2.1)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  Larry Sanders (3.0)





Worst Player of the Month: Scott Skiles


It was just a matter of time until the gruff annoying little man with the Napoleon Complex finally got the heave-ho.  In his five years coaching in Milwaukee, this overrated blowhard of a coach only managed to reach the playoff once with his team.  Earlier he would have been given a pass for his ability to motive a team that was rather low on talent, but high on heart and many blamed the numerous injuries for Milwaukee's inability to return to the post season.  Now with new additions that should have improved their projected outlook, the Bucks still continue to remain as mediocre as ever resulting in the players tuning him out and the front office finally having enough with his lackluster results.  No doubt, there will be some team that will inquire about Skiles services; however, similar to Milwaukee and all the other franchises he has coached, do not expect too much from him as he has been prone to disappoint.    
First Player of the Month: Marquis Daniels


It was once thought that Marquis Daniel's career was all but over after collapsing in a playoff game last season.  However, he reemerged in Milwaukee having one of his best seasons while at the same time providing a vital boost for a team that looked as t was on its way down.  Upon being inserted into starting lineup, Daniels provided a jolt thanks to his solid play and exceptional contributions on both ends of the floor. As a starter, the Bucks went 9-6 in the month of December while averaging over eight points per game and shooting .400 from beyond the arc in around 26 minutes of playoff time.  If he continue at this rate, Daniels just might become one of the feel good comeback stories of the 2013 season.

Analysis:

After finishing November losing five of six, the situation seemed bleak for the Milwaukee Bucks as they would start December by losing two of their first three games narrowly winning a rather ugly games against the Boston Celtics (12/1/2012) followed by getting blown out by the New Orleans Hornets (12/3/2012) and the San Antonio Spurs (12/5/2012).  Fortunately for the Bucks, they manged to turn things around by winning four straight and finished 2012 winning eight of their last twelve games.  Among those teams that Milwaukee beat, they included three of the Eastern Conferences best in the Brooklyn Nets (12/9, 12/26), Indiana Pacers (12/18/2012) and the Miami Heat (12/29/2012).  Of their nine wins, their most impressive had to be the home game against the Heat as Milwaukee not only shocked Miami, but the world, by handily blowing out the Heat allowing just 85 points from one of the league's best offensive teams.

With that impressive finish in December, Milwaukee entered 2013 not only tied with the Chicago Bulls for second place in the Central Division, but also within a hair's breath of the Indiana Pacers for the top spot.  With both the Pacers and Bulls playing rather sub-par performing well under expectations, the Bucks have a chance to potentially slip under the radar and swipe away the division title which would be the first time in more than a decade.  For the past twenty five or so years, they Bucks have always hovered near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, with minimal or no success at all during that time period.  At best, the Bucks have spent much of its history hovering between the areas of average and mediocre while remaining relatively ignored by most of the basketball viewing public, the media and the league in general.  Now it looks as if this will be the year that Milwaukee has the opportunity to finally come out from the shadows and finally have a taste of the spotlight.

Earning first place in the division, even for the shortest time, would mean so much for an NBA franchise situated in a small rather unnoticeable market that has had little if any exposure whatsoever.  As a result the Bucks have never really been able to attract any real marquee names while being completely incapable of retaining top tier talent losing those players to bigger and more lucrative markets.  It's little wonder how a professional sports team such as the Bucks manages to survive in such a climate as it has remained in virtual darkness and completely incapable of emerging out of their current condition.  Sure there was the odd year where the Bucks would peep out of the darkness with the odd impressive playoff run such as they one in 2001 when they came within one game of the NBA Finals; however, such moments would be short lived as they would return to obscurity soon after.  If there was any team that could use a change of scenery, it would have to be the Bucks as they remain under the alcoholic smog of the city's numerous breweries.

Any city would be better than Milwaukee; what is that city known for other than being the birthplace of America's largest beer producers?  It remains rather perplexing how this team even manages to exist in this current climate in the NBA where money and television views reign supreme and those who have access to both end up as the victors.  With penalties such as the luxury tax for teams that are over the salary cap being even more financially punitively damaging for a small market team such as the Bucks, it is next to impossible for them to maintain a high caliber roster without going into bankruptcy.  Even the team's own fan base is close to nonexistent as their team remains as bland and stale as their team's uniforms' color and team logo.  There is simply nothing that this city offers that can attract attention or any excitement whatsoever leaving Milwaukee as a barren wasteland for any professional sports team.

That is why the next few months will be crucial for this maligned team--if the Bucks manage to pull off a run good enough to vault itself at the top of the Central Division, the rest of the league along with the media will have no choice but to stand up and take notice.  With both the top two teams being that strong of a threat, the Bucks have the chance to shove them aside and finally bask in the spotlight that has been denied them for so long.  They have certainly shown that they have the potential as they have proven that they are capable of surprising some of the best teams in the NBA.  Thus, it cannot be considered too far fetched to see a team that receives as little acclaim and notoriety as the Bucks to squeeze their way to the top of the Eastern Conference; however, even if by some fluke that were to happen, it will never be sustainable because the Bucks neither has the ability nor the resources to maintain such a performance for more than a season at best.  Nonetheless, it is better to have some sunlight for a short time rather than remaining in the cold unforgiving darkness, is it not?