Wisconsin has had quite the year in sports.  The Packers won Super Bowl XLV and haven’t missed a beat this year.  The Milwaukee Brewers won 96 games and made it to the brink of a World Series appearance.  And the Wisconsin Badger football team is on their way to a second straight Rose Bowl.  And you can’t forget about the solid seasons Marquette and Wisconsin basketball had either.  Lost in all that success and the great ride that Wisconsin sports have had this year is the lowly Milwaukee Bucks.  The NBA lockout didn’t help either but it’s hard to imagine anyone being truly excited for the 2011-2012 Bucks season.

The Bucks are stuck in the worst place to be as a professional sports teams-in the middle.  They are just talented enough, and talented probably isn’t even the right word, to sneak into the playoffs.  But they are not bad enough to bottom out and build a foundation through meaningful draft picks.  And as we know Milwaukee isn’t exactly a free agent destination that players are looking to come too.  The shores of Milwaukee don’t quite exactly live up to the beaches of LA and Miami.  I don’t really have any options of what the Bucks should do and the only real way real way to have a chance in the NBA is to get the #1 pick and hope that a Derrick Rose, Lebron James, or Dwight Howard type player is available.

Don’t forget that the Bucks play in one of the most ancient stadiums in the NBA.   And there doesn’t seem to be anything brewing on getting a potential new stadium built.  It’s hard to imagine another tax being added to fund a stadium when the people in Milwaukee and surrounding counties are still paying for Miller Park.  I don’t want to sound all gloom and doom with the Bucks but it’s the reality they are in right now.

I know I said I didn’t have an opinion on what they should do but I’m going to give my two cents anyways.  First and for most Herb Kohl needs to figure out the stadium situation because that could be the deciding factor on whether professional basketball survives in Milwaukee.  There are plenty of empty lots and properties around downtown Milwaukee that would be the perfect site for a brand new, state of the art arena.  Like I said earlier, I don’t know how Bucks come up with the means to build this arena but Kohl and his advisors need to get creative and get this done.

Next, the Bucks need to bottom out.  This means trading away players like Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings because are really the only assets they have.  I know this isn’t what fans want to hear and the Bucks have been down long enough but this is really the only way for the Bucks to get back to serious contenders in the Eastern Conference. Look at the Bulls in the years after Jordan, they had multiple top lottery picks and finally capped off their rebuilding process when the lucked out and got Derrick Rose.  It was a slow and tedious way to go about it but now the Bulls will be contenders for the next decade with Rose and company.

And finally, they need to be patient.  The Bucks have tried to make moves the last decade to stay relevant but all it is doing is prolonging their inevitable rebuilding process.  This means no more Drew Gooden signings, no more Anthony Mason contracts; no Yi-like draft picks and definitely no more Dan Gadzuric like players, even if he did provide good business for Cascio Interstate Music.

It’s going to be a long road back to relevance but the Bucks are stuck in NBA purgatory and they need to go to hell before they can get back to heaven.

John Dekker

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