Monday, October 6, 2014

First Look At Our 2014 Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks 2014
Fans and analysts got their first looks at the 2014 Milwaukee Bucks in action on Saturday. The team, peppered with new faces, including head coach Jason Kidd and rookie Jabari Parker, held a public scrimmage at the BMO Harris Bradley Center that afternoon. A respectable crowd gathered to watch as the full roster was split into a White team and a Black team, providing a half hour of exiting play that ended with a three-point White team victory. 

Kidd, leading the Bucks for the first time since a partial roster joined him in the Las Vegas summer league, told reporters that he was excited to help the team recover from a horrific 2013, which saw them finish last in the NBA. The former player and Brooklyn Nets coach said that he was pleased with the performances of all his players as they debuted for the first time in front of a home crowd.

O.J. Mayo, Elijah Millsap, Kendall Marshall, Zaza Pachulia, John Henson, Jerryd Bayless, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Johnny O'Bryant made up the winning White team, earning 37 points to the Black team's 34. Mayo tallied a team-leading eight points, including two from beyond the arc.

Despite his groups close loss, first round pick Parker stole the show Saturday. Receiving a standing ovation as he stepped onto the Bradley Center court for the first time as a Buck, the 19 year old went on to score a game-high 10 points on five of nine from inside the paint. His performance was a pleasant turn-around from the lowly time he had in Las Vegas earlier this summer, where he struggled to find the basket or make much of an impact at all as the Bucks dropped four of their five games.

Joining Parker on the Black team were a number of familiar faces from last season, including Brandon Knight, Nate Wolters, Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, and Khris Middleton. Jared Dudley and Michael Eric also appeared for the losing side. The third-year veteran Knight was among the other stand-outs that day, managing seven points and leading the floor in assists with seven.

Following a day off to close the weekend, the Bucks will return to practice at the Cousins Center on Monday. Memphis comes to the Resch Center in Green Bay on Wednesday to open the team's preseason, which also features Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and a pair of games against Minnesota.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bucks Summer League Ends But Hopes Are High

2014 Bucks Summer League
The Milwaukee Bucks finished Summer League play last week, failing to win more then one game, though giving fans and critics an eager look into the next generation of the team. Led by rookie first round pick Jabari Parker and newly appointed head coach Jason Kidd, the Bucks finished the series of five exhibition games with one win and four losses. The team, coming off of an NBA-worst 67 loss season, were able to defeat the Golden State Warriors in their final game of the tournament, though they fell in their first four match-ups against the likes of Cleveland, Phoenix, Utah, and San Antonio. The 100-to-71 drubbing at the hands of the defending champion Spurs was Milwaukee's worst showing in Las Vegas.

As always is the case with the annual Summer League, critics are focusing on the positives. Second overall pick Parker was under the most intense spotlight of the tournament, starting all five games in what was his first ever professional experience. The former Duke star did not disappoint, managing over 15 points and 8 rebounds per game. The 18-year old even earned the respect of the stoic Kidd, who told reporters following Parker's tournament-high 20 points and 15 rebounds against Golden State that he was looking forward to his progression on the full-roster.

Another stand-out who is also sure to have a place on the Bucks roster come fall is Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek native was the talk of the town prior to the draft, though has temporarily fallen into the shadow of Parker. Despite that, the youngster impressed in his four games at the Summer League, putting up an average of 17 points and 6 rebounds.

Antetokounmpo was absent from the Bucks closing game against the Warriors due to duties to the Greek national team, which will compete in August in the FIBA World Cup.

First-year owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens and coach Kidd didn't miss a beat following the conclusion of the Summer League. The team has already signed two high-profile names in the week since, taking former Lakers point guard Kendall Marshall and free agent Jerryd Bayless. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Who Will The Bucks Pick In The Upcoming 2014 Draft?

Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry revealed his team's plans for the upcoming Thursday draft earlier this week. Speaking to reporters on Monday, the first-year owner said that the Bucks would likely rule-out former Kansas center Joel Embiid as the team's first round pick, second overall. Embiid, a freshman, underwent surgery on a broken foot last week and is expecting a four to six month recovery. At seven feet and 250 pounds, the Cameroon native was one of three elite prospects in this year's class, managing over ten points and eight rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. Cleveland, who has the first overall pick, had reportedly settled on Embiid prior to his injury, and although they have not publicly stated otherwise, it is likely they are reconsidering.

Jabari Parker
When pressed to outline his worries on drafting a temporarily hobbled Embiid, Lasry cited Milwaukee's need for a candidate who can contribute immediately. He also admitted that the sudden injury made the franchise's decision that much easier. Barring any surprises said Lasry, that decision is now between another pair of freshman.

Last Friday, Andrew Wiggins came to the Cousins Center in St. Francis to work out for new owners Lasry and Wesley Edens. Wiggins also played his only year of collegiate basketball at Kansas, earning praise similar to teammate Embiid. As a dual guard and forward, the 18 year old was touted as one of the most versatile college players. Born and raised in Canada, Wiggins comes from a very athletic family, including a father, Mitchell, who played for four NBA teams throughout the 1980s and 90s.

The younger Wiggins had already compiled an impressive resume by the time he committed to Kansas last May. As a senior at a West Virginia preparatory academy, he earned three Player of the Year awards, including the Gatorade National Player of the Year. He was named Mr. Basketball following the conclusion of the 2013 high school season, joining past winners such as LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

With the Jayhawks, Wiggin averaged 17 points per game and hit nearly 35 percent from beyond the arc. Despite failing to advance far into March, he was selected as a finalist for both the Naismith and John R. Wooden player of the year awards.

Impressive numbers from Wiggins, though Duke forward Jabari Parker could give him a run for his money as the top-prospect in the 2014 draft class. Lasry mentioned the former Blue Devil as the Bucks other suitor for their first round attention. Parker, hailing from Chicago, has grabbed headlines this off-season as the most prepared prospect, competing in a number of extracurricular and international tournaments during high school. He won two golds as part of team USA in the FIBA Americas Championship and World Championship. He was honored all four years at Simeon Career Academy, the same school attended by Derrick Rose, Bobby Simmons, and Nick Anderson. Immediately part of the starting five at Duke, Parker finished the 2013 season as a First-Team All American and was named the Basketball Writers Association Freshman of the Year. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bucks NBA London Game Set For January 15 | NBA Games Around The World

Bucks Play In London
The Milwaukee Bucks will participate in the franchise's first ever international regular season game in 2014. New owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens announced last week that the team will take-on the New York Knicks in London, England on January 15, 2015 at the O2 Arena. On paper, the game will be marked as a regular season home game for the Bucks, who will now host just 40 games at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, rather than the usual 41. New York will lose one game on their American road schedule. They called London home in 2013, defeating the Detroit Pistons.

The 2015 match-up is the fifth annual installment of the NBA Global Games at the O2 Arena. Formerly a host to the 2012 Summer Olympics, the venue has sold-out the event nearly every year, including last season, when over 20,000 people watched the Brooklyn Nets face Atlanta. Tickets will go on sale locally in London in October and are expected to sell-out quickly as even some of Britain’s most famous personalities have made a habit of attending. Lasry and Edens boasted in their announcement that the game will be a great opportunity for worldwide exposure for the Bucks, who also have five foreign players currently on the roster, among the most of any NBA team.

League commissioner Adam Silver agreed with the co-owners, touting London's impressive sports history and hospitality for the NBA. Silver also revealed that the league had confirmed a second international date for the 2014 season, featuring Minnesota and Houston in Mexico City on November 12.

The pair of games will continue an international tradition in the NBA that dates back to 1978. That year, the Washington Bullets traveled to Israel to face Maccabi Tel Aviv in the first ever league game held outside of North America. In 1987, the first annual competition between NBA teams and international teams was founded. Dubbed the McDonald's Championship, the series of exhibition games debuted in Milwaukee, with the Bucks defeating the Soviet Union in the inaugural final. The tournament's next eight events were all held in Europe, before the competition was discontinued in 1999. Miami and the Washington Bullets met in Japan for the first regular season NBA game held outside of the United States or Canada in 1990.

As for the Bucks previous overseas resume, the team appeared in two preseason exhibition games in China in 2008. Milwaukee won their first game against Golden State in Guangzhou, China before losing the second in Beijing three days later. That game, held at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Arena, was the first event held at venue following the 2008 Summer Olympics. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Milwaukee Bucks New Merchandise | Changes For Bucks In 2014?

Bucks New Logo
Never mind the upcoming NBA draft, in which the Bucks have the second overall pick, new owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens are thinking cosmetics. Earlier this week, Lasry admitted during a local sports radio interview that he and his partner were disappointed by the franchise's current merchandise availability, and that fans should expect more Bucks gear walking around Milwaukee streets in the near future, maybe even in new colors.

The billionaire investor explained that he recently took a trip to the BMO Harris Bradley Center to shop for friends back in New York, but that he would like to see Bucks t-shirts, jackets, hats, and other merchandise stocked in other stores around the city. Taking a cue from places such as Madison's Bucky's Locker Room, Lasry stopped short of mentioning the opening of stand-alone shops, though he told fans to anticipate big changes. 

Will The Bucks Get New Colors?

Despite his vague hinting, Lasry did confirm speculation that he and Edens are considering changing the Bucks official colors. He mentioned no specific colors, though he lamented the team's current scheme as needing help.

If the first-year owners do decide to alter the Bucks colors, it will be the second change in 10 years. In 2006, the team made the first official change in 14 years, adopting green, red, and silver. Purple, which was introduced in 1993 along with a new logo, was dropped in favor of red. The 2006 scheme was intended to pay homage to the Bucks original colors, which were used from 1968 to 1976. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bucks Bring Up Tony Mitchell From Fort Wayne | Caron Butler's Spot On The Bench Didn't Get Cold

Bucks Tony Mitchell
The Milwaukee Bucks proved that their buy-out of veteran Caron Butler's contract wasn't without prior planning. The team has already filled his vacant position with a prospect from the development league. This came just days after the forward's departure for Oklahoma City. 24-year-oldTony Mitchell was called up for a 10 day deal from the team's affiliate in Fort Wayne on Monday, marking his first trip to the NBA since graduating from Alabama in 2012. Mitchell has proven himself to be one of the most potent scoring threats in the D-League, averaging nearly 20 points and six rebounds this season. In his inaugural year in 2013, he managed 22 points per game in 45 starts. The six-foot-six small forward most recently won his second consecutive D-League dunk contest.

Mitchell's talent on offense was well recognized early in his collegiate career. By his junior season, the Alabama native was the Crimson Tide's second leading scorer and was already generating speculation as a potential first round pick. In February of that year, however, head coach Anthony Grant announced he was suspending Mitchell for the remainder of the season. Cited for conduct detrimental to the team, Mitchell failed to recover following his return for his senior season, averaging fewer starts, minutes, and points.

Reviews of the Bucks decision to elevate Mitchell in the wake of Butler's dismissal have been generally positive. His numbers with the Mad Ants have been reminiscent of his better college days, and a clean bill of health throughout his time in Fort Wayne is a refreshing change from the seemingly-forever afflicted Epke Udoh. The timing was also nearly perfect, said some, as it is likely that Charlotte, Detroit, Indiana, Minnesota, and Orlando were also taking notice of Mitchell's accession. Those five share Milwaukee's affiliation with the Mad Ants.