During the offseason I wrote about the Bucks a couple of times. There was this faux chat that turned all too real (then again predicting Redd and Bogut to get hurt isn't that big of a gamble) and this long, beautiful love letter to Brandon Jennings which is one of my favorite things I've ever written here. Here's what I said then, just three games into the new season.
Brandon Jennings is the most important athlete in Wisconsin not named Rodgers, Fielder or Braun.
There, I said it. It's out there and I can't take it back. After watching the Bucks take on the Chicago Bulls last night, I feel this stronger than anything I've felt since I said that The Happy Youngster was a douchebag. I've made my fair share of Bucks jokes in the past and I've even made fun of Brandon Jennings before, but I had no idea he was this good. I had no idea that he'd be, within three games, the best point guard the Bucks have had since Sam Cassell flew away on his spaceship.
And now here we are. Tied 2-2 in an NBA playoff series which means that the BUCKS are in the playoffs. Crazy, right? This is a team that drafted Joe Alexander and Yi Jianlian as serious lottery picks. A team that hasn't had a winning season since 2002-2003. This not only was not supposed to happen like this, it wasn't supposed to happen at all. Yet here we and there's a pretty good chance I completely underrated Brandon Jennings.
I was at the Bradley Center and it was rocking like I've never seen it before. The crowd was electric all night and there is no doubt in my mind that Josh Smith has serious regrets about ever saying a thing about Milwaukee. (How did he not get a technical in the second quarter?) Would any of this have happened without Brandon Jennings? We can talk about all day about John Hammonds making great moves all season long. Delfino, Salmons, Stackhouse, but it all starts with Brandon Jennings. He singlehandedly turned the tables of this franchise and the more and more I think about it I can't believe that Brandon Jennings is a Buck. Guys like Brandon Jennings just aren't supposed to be Bucks, like guys like Ryan Braun aren't supposed to be Brewers.
But last night it wasn't the Brandon Jennings show. He was awesome and did a couple of things that completely amazed me, but it wasn't his show. And last night didn't belong to John Salmons or Carlos Delfino either, it didn't even belong to Bango. (Okay, it belonged to Bango a little bit.) There was one man who electrified the crowd like no one else and that man was Dan Gadzuric. No, really. I'm being serious.
That block combined with the most amazing seven points I have ever seen really made the night and set the tone for the entire Bucks team. Danny G's play more than anything told the crowd that the Bucks weren't going to lose this game and the crowd believed it and played up to it. Unless you were in that building it's really hard to explain what Danny G did last night, but trust me he owned us. We were Danny G's bitches. (And if you don't realize how amazing that is you should know that there are people who talk like this. Not exactly the Bucks' Craig Counsell.)
One of my biggest pet peeves being a Brewers fan is Trevor Time. When those bells hit every person in the stadium stands up and cheers and waits for him to come out. They are standing up and rocking out throughout all of his warm up pitches, but once he throws his first pitch everyone sits down. Why? If this goes how we expect it to we won't be here for much longer and we might as well stand up. Yesterday at the Bradley Center with about three minutes left in the game the crowd collectively decided it was Trevor Time and nobody sat down and nobody shut up. Even though the last three minutes of an NBA game takes three hours, nobody sat down and it was awesome. It was one of the greatest crowds I've ever been a part of and I'll never forget it.
I can't say that the Bucks are going to win the NBA championship and I can't even say that they can win this series, but after last night I think that the Bucks have a real future in Milwaukee and I think that people should start getting behind them the same way they get behind the Packers and the Brewers. Trust me, they're worth it.