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Don’t say “tanking,” Bucks say they are going “younger”

Aug 7, 2013, 5:51 PM EDT

Giannis Antetokounmpo AP

Tanking is a dirty word around the NBA.

The reason is it implies a lack of effort or desire, and no team wants that reputation (or to establish that culture). But it’s also a matter of semantics — you and I might well argue that a team that lets all its good talent walk to build around a young core and get some high draft picks is tanking; those teams would deny that saying they are trying to win, just with a younger core.

Enter the Milwaukee Bucks, who went from a backcourt of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings (a pair that mixed like oil and water) to Brandon Knight and Gary Neal with O.J. Mayo handling the ball a lot. The Bucks were the eight seed last season and are unlikely to be that high again.

But don’t use the word taking, as GM John Hammond said at Knight’s introductory press conference, as reported by the Journal-Sentinel.

“Some people use these words like ‘tanking,’ so to speak,” Hammond said… “We’re by no means in that mode whatsoever. We’re trying to remain competitive. I think we can be a competitive team. But also we really want to start focusing on the youth of this team and start talking about things like a championship-caliber team. Can they develop into a core like that? I think they can.

“We’re going to have to have the right kind of people, people that say I want to be a part of that and I’m going to work hard to become that.”

Of course, the right kind of people would be Andrew Wiggins or Julius Randle or Aaron Gordon or some of the other guys near the top of the 2014 draft.

Part of this is just marketing — you don’t want to give fans a reason not to show up for a season, not to watch the games on television.

The Bucks are not going to be good, but they likely are better than a few teams that have, how shall we say, tried much harder to go young. With Mayo and Larry Sanders the Bucks can win a few games. They are not tanking in the “we don’t want to win” sense.

But if they lose a few games this season and get a good lottery pick next summer, that’s not the worst outcome.

  1. onbucky96 - Aug 7, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    WTFE! “Tanking” is equivalent to throwing games. “Going Young” means throwing games while getting experience. You can’t polish a turd Mr.Hammond.

  2. unfly - Aug 7, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    They’re not tanking. They’re just signing random guys in the hopes that they won’t be terrible. The Mavs did the same thing.

    • arrondior - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:30 PM

      Yep. It’s not a bad way to go. If you have a play off team and you know that its going to take a whole lot of effort to get those guys close to the conference finals… well maybe it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and start that rebuild.

  3. kb2408 - Aug 7, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    The Bucks have been “getting younger” since Lew Alcindor became Kareem and headed out West to the LAKERS. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, they’ve only been “getting younger” since Super Sidney Moncrief and Marques Johnson left Milwaukee.

    • bougin89 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      They’ve been getting younger since their “big three” of the early 2000’s. Ray Allen, Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson, and Sam Cassell.

  4. shanelsweet - Aug 7, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Hammond says “We’re going to have to have the right kind of people, people that say I want to be a part of that and I’m going to work hard to become that” Good luck finding those folks when you play and train in Wisconsin.

    • siege102 - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      10 bucks says you’ve never stepped foot in Wisconsin, let alone Milwaukee, Madison, or Green Bay. Bandwagoner

  5. roanboon - Aug 7, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    If the best % shooters (Ilyasova, Sanders, and occasionally Mayo) are fed by “pass-first” point guards, the Bucks can win more games than last year.

  6. captainwisdom8888 - Aug 7, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    OJ Mayo, Larry Sanders, Brandon Knight, and Gary Neal are a “dream team” of sorts compared to the product that the 76ers are going to put out onto the floor next season. If the Pelicans have an awful year as well, the Sixers could be looking at 2 top-10 selections.

  7. Kevin S. - Aug 7, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    If the Bucks were actually tanking, they wouldn’t have signed enough veterans to keep them mediocre.

    • bougin89 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      Unfortunately, that’s 100% accurate. I’ve been begging for a rebuild as are most of my fellow Bucks fans.

  8. patfic15 - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    All I’m saying is y’all better watch out. With 42 2nd rd.picks over the next couple years, the Bucks are going full beast mode.

  9. saint1997 - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    Between Sanders, Henson, GA and Knight it’s not like they have no young talent – they actually look pretty good and are poised to make a big trade if it comes with the pieces they have

  10. skinsfanwill - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    I’m so shocked that no one is mentioning the best player on the team, Irsan Ilyasova. That guy could have put up really good numbers if he didn’t have Jennings and Ellis tossing up whatever they felt like.

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