Sorry I'm writing about the NBA today when the Brewers are still the best ever, but I had to and you should still come to the Pants Party on Sunday July 27th. Only three weeks left to get tickets and when they're gone, they're gone. It will be the BEST tailgate party of the summer. You won't regret going, but you will regret missing it. Don't do that. Check it out.
The Bucks were not good, crappy, god-awful, terrible, sucky, awful, shitty and just plain bad last season. OJ Mayo was fat, Larry Sanders broke his brain, Caron Butler lived up to his "from Racine" billing and Larry Sanders broke his brain again. Which actually worked out pretty good for me because tickets were REALLY cheap and I like going to basketball games. The more I went, the more I got attached to this bad basketball team that was seemingly on its way out of my city. Before I knew it, I was invested. I cared about a Gary Neal/Ramon Sessions trade. I wanted these young guys to figure things out (Giannis! Wolters!) and fulfill their potential. I wanted Larry Drew to learn how to coach. I wanted them to stay. I became excited about the prospect of a high draft pick, even going so far as to watch college basketball to see the guys who could potentially play in the Bradley Center. It was cool, but there was still that shred of doubt that they were leaving. (I'm not going to get into the political arena debate here because we don't know anything about any of it, so what's the point?) I couldn't help but think that there was nothing that could be done and that the city would let them leave without a fight. I was excited, but there was always that in the back of my mind to hold me back.
And then they got sold and now every single thing that happens is exciting. They have the number two pick, they want to build the team through the draft, they don't care about being the eighth seed like Kohl and want to build a real life championship contender. These are real things that are happening and suddenly Bucks basketball is exciting again. For the first time since that brief period when we all loved Brandon Jennings (guilty as charged) or the Ray Allen Game 6 before that, the Bucks seems like a real team in the league. The thing is, the Bucks know this. They know that fan interest has never been higher, they know this is the most important draft pick in team history and they know that they can't miss. Which is why the following things are true:
SPOILER ALERT: The Bucks aren't trading down in this draft.
SPOILER ALERT: The Bucks are drafting Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker tonight.
Once Joel Embiid went down with an injury it became set in stone. Dante Exum might have more upside potential, Doug McDermott might sell more shirseys and Joel Embiid might be the better pro if he stays healthy, but the Bucks know they can't mess this up. They can't draft unproven potential and they definitely can't afford a Greg Oden type situation. (Unlikely with Embiid, but the Bucks can't even handle a 5% risk of that.) That's why tomorrow night Wiggins or Parker will be drafted first and then the Bucks will take the other one. They won't trade down. They won't shock the world. They've been marketing this #2 pick for months as "owning the future", they won't trade the future. It's Parker or Wiggins, that's it.
And I'm cool with it. Either way I'm happy and we're lucky that the Bucks ended up sucking the year of the best draft in recent memory. Giannis and Parker/Wiggins and whoever else they end up with is a great start and I'm ready to see where it goes.
Here's the thing though, the draft is a crapshoot. In history, it's been very rare for the #2 pick to be the best or second best player in the draft. You miss much more than you make drafting second and the recent history of the #2 pick is downright scary. (Hasheem Thabeet, Derrick Williams, Evan Turner. Michael Beasley. Not exactly the '86 Celtics.) The Bucks can't afford that. The guy they draft needs to at least be a solid contributor, if not a borderline All-Star. As I've said they can't miss.
The reason for this, of course, has nothing to do with actual basketball. The Bucks need a new arena by 2017 or the NBA will buy the team back from the new owners and take matters into their own hands. That means moving them. Cities all around the countries are licking their lips and rubbing their hands together, just waiting until the Bucks slip up so they can swoop in and start making plans. 2017 is a lot closer than you think. The Bucks need a new arena to stay and for that to happen they need a lot of things to go their way. The best way they can help their cause is by creating a product worth seeing. Building something that people don't want to see go, something that makes people proud of their city and hopefully something that doesn't get into fights with you at bars. All that starts with this draft pick.
Right now, even with the new owner/draft excitement, people don't really care about the Bucks. (I'm sure half the people reading this don't care and that's not including the ones who saw this post was about the Bucks and skipped it) Yet the Bucks are important to the city of Milwaukee and the state. During the summer in this state there is an endless list of things we can do. If you took away our baseball team I would probably
kill myself move, but there would still be plenty of things to do. Music festivals, food festivals, drinking outside festivals and tons of water spots to fish/swim/boat/camp. Wisconsin rules. There is always something waiting for us in the summer. During the winter? Nothing. During the winters you watch football one day a week and then talk about it for another six days. That's it and it's really fucking boring. There is a void in your life where the fun used to be.
Last season the Bucks filled that void for me. They sucked, but they got me out of the house. I really believe they are on the right track now and things will only get better. Hopefully they can fill that winter fun void for others before it's too late. I don't think I can handle talking about football that much.
So this goes out to you, Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker:
Please be awesome. My city needs you. My state needs you. Don't suck.