Posted on: October 23, 2010 12:26 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2010 12:26 pm

Prime Time for Milwaukee Bucks 1 Year Away

The Milwaukee Bucks burst onto the scene unexpectedly last year, featuring a talented rookie point guard, a legitimate NBA center (sorry Shaq), some intense defense and the in-season pick-up of a solid scoring shooting guard.
Some are looking for similar types of improvements this year for the Bucks. The thought here is that, for several reasons, the Bucks will plateau this year before making an even bigger splash a year from now.
I'm thinking the Bucks are a year away from making a serious run deep in the playoffs. Some reasons why it may not happen this year (although it's possible): 
1. The Celtics have one more year in their window of opportunity; they will be in a rebuilding mode next offseason and will by default move the Bucks up a spot in the pecking order. 
2. Center Andrew Bogut isn't healthy enough yet for the Bucks to get a good enough start to get homecourt advantage beyond Round 1 this year. It will take a little time for him to get into complete basketball shape, trust that his arm won't fall off and go back to being the defensive intimidator underneath that he was before the injury. 
3. New key cogs Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden need more time to gel with John Salmons, Brandon Jennings, Bogut and others before the Bucks can really scare some people. 
4. Michael Redd, who may not even play this year at all (if he does, he'll be a Steve Kerr-type outside shooter come playoff time), has his huge salary come off the books after this year, giving the Bucks that much more flexibility in shaping next year's roster. They've got a lot of pieces that other teams may find desirable after the year, plus plenty of cap room. 
5. Larry Sanders will get called for a lot of fouls this year. The rookie center, Bogut's backup, is talented. But rookies, especially centers and PFs, get called for lots of fouls. He'll be more effective next year just because of the way the NBA refs its games.
That having been said, the Bucks are pretty deep with a roster full of solid players. They won't drop off the side of a cliff when they go to the back-ups, but neither do they have elite players who can basically take a team on their backs and will them to victory. They have players who can fill specific roles, but are also multi-dimensional enough that they won't have to sacrifice too much on one end of the floor to gain at the other.
When you can't get people like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant, you go after as many of the second- and third-tier guys you can at prices that won't break your bank and go about it that way. 
Nice job by GM John Hammond thus far retooling this team from the graveyard and into a legitimate playoff club. Another year, and the Bucks may be able to really do some damage come playoff time.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 7:40 am

Favre: We should have seen this coming

I always knew Brett Favre was coming back this year. As a lifelong Packer fan who has been privy to all Brett Favre for the past 20 years or so, and as a fervent supporter of his throughout the first three-quarters of his career, the routine became ingrained in my soul. Brett tries to get management to do stuff. Management caves in. Brett gets what he wants. It doesn't end in a Super Bowl victory. The only time management stood up to Brett's desires was when Brett decided to retire. "I'll show them; I'll just quit." Well, it didn't show them. And when he tried to come back to the Green Bay Packers, they basically told him "too late."
Brett came back and he did it with the Jets. And he had a dang good year, except that he wouldn't let anyone take him out when his injured thumb kept him from throwing a spiral the last several games of the year.
Then he retired again because he didn't really want to play for the Jets anyway. And by the time he decided to come back, believe it or not, the Jets had already drafted Mark Sanchez and were over the salary cap. So they had to let Brett go free agent. He left them no choice.
So, he goes to the Vikings and tells the coach when he's going to play and when he's not. Cause Brett by now is the most powerful GM in sports. And of course, he makes a stupid pass that costs the Vikings a chance to go to the Super Bowl. And then he makes it look like he may not come back unless the Vikes send a contingent of players to go tell him how much they miss him and need him. Of course, he already knew he was going to just sit out most of training camp and come back anyway and this trip to Hattiesburg, Miss., was just for show.
All along this convoluted path Brett Favre has taken the past several years (including the years of waffling every offseason with the Packers on whether he was coming back or not) he's at least wanted to play football. Sure, he's wanted to play WINNING football, and win a Super Bowl, too. But he's always enjoyed just playing football. The camaraderie, the competition, etc. 
This year, though, he admitted that the ONLY reason he came back was to win a Super Bowl. When I heard that, I thought things could very well go very wrong for him. He's not back for the competition. He's not back for the fun. He's not back for the camaraderie. He's only back cause he wants to win a Super Bowl. He doesn't care about the Minnesota Vikings players or fans. This is all about Brett Favre winning a Super Bowl for Brett Favre. It's different this time around and I bet his teammates can tell. He doesn't have the same enthusiasm anymore. Now, I know if he wins a few games, some of that enthusiasm will return. I'm not dumb enough to think his demeanor wouldn't change with a few victories.
But this return, more than all the others, is ONLY about Brett Favre winning a Super Bowl.
I see major disappointment in the man's immediate future.
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