Playoffs? Bucks Don’t Seem Interested

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Whatever lack of enthusiasm or even dread the Milwaukee Bucks might be feeling about their rapidly approaching postseason public flogging is entirely understandable. Assuming the Bucks do eventually nail down the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference bracket, their reward will be worse than a lump of coal or a Miss Congeniality award.

They’ll get to face the Miami Heat in a best-of-seven series, requiring them to endure four spankings as the NBA’s defending champions rev up for their title defense.

So yeah, we get it. It’s not much to look forward to. But the way the Bucks have gone about their business lately, you’d think Milwaukee would rather not participate in the playoffs at all. There are several teams headed for the lottery, but playing smarter and harder than Milwaukee lately, that look as if they’d appreciate the opportunity more and give a better showing than the Bucks. Orlando, for one, bad as its record is. Minnesota, for another.

Losers in seven of their past 10 games heading into Saturday’s home clash with Toronto and just 4-10 since a moderately encouraging 2-1 West Coast trip a month ago, the Bucks have been busy fulfilling all the concerns about them when the year began. And squandering what was a legit chance to move up to No. 7 by catching Boston.

The dynamic backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis is undersized and defensively challenged. On too many nights, there’s a your-turn, my-turn pattern to their offensive probes, and a disjointed or absent playmaking that has Milwaukee’s frontcourt players all too happy to come off the bench if it spares them some standing around with that starting duo.

Short-timers abound, in contract terms, and the resultant lack of cohesiveness and long-term vision predictably has followed. Jennings is headed to restricted free agency and has handled it poorly, pouting in or after games, through actions or words, more like an immature rookie than a fourth-year floor leader. Ellis can opt out of his deal and, at times in the past month, has played as if on a salary drive.

Samuel Dalembert, acquired to stem some bleeding up front, was needed less once Larry Sanders finally got traction this season. So first coach Scott Skiles and then replacement Jim Boylan warehoused Dalembert – over there on the bench next to drydocked Drew Gooden.

Dalembert’s deal is up once the Bucks head into summer, as is Mike Dunleavy‘s, as is J.J. Redick‘s, who probably will test the free-agent market and revive criticism that Milwaukee maybe gave up too soon on the small forward shipped to Orlando in that deal, Tobias Harris.

Ersan Ilyasova only recently has played up to the deal he landed last summer in free agency. Sanders reverted to some bad tossed-from-games-habits in a recent stretch. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was hurt less and in better shape before he got paid a couple years ago. Whatever bump the Bucks got from parting ways with Skiles appears to have been temporary – they’re 20-23 under Boylan – and the defense (104.1 ppg over the past 14) hardly is Miami-ready

Meanwhile, the locker room has been light and largely unaffected by all of the sputtering. During postgame media time Wednesday, after the loss to the nowhere-bound Timberwolves, somebody kept humming the tune of “The Final Countdown,” loud enough to be picked up in audio reports. Their third-quarter collapse at New York on Friday kept their magic number for clinching the playoff spot at two.

They’ll get it soon enough. But it’s too bad the NBA has no surrogate system, in which the disinterested Bucks players could vote someone pluckier and more eager to take their place in the first round. The way they’re going, the playoffs will be an opportunity wasted on them.

25 Comments

  1. DJ says:

    THE BUCKS ARE COLD AND THEY WILL BEAT MIAMI

  2. DJ says:

    SCOTT, U A HATER TO SAYING THE BUCKS CANT BEAT THE HEAT YOULL BE THE STUPID LOOKING ONE TOO

  3. DJ says:

    THE BUCKS WILL BEAET THE HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR ALL THE BUCKS HATERS, YALL GO BE LOOKING STUPID WHEN THE BUCKS DO BEAT THE. AND BIRD, DONT TELL CHANDLER TO DREAM ON! HE THINK THE BUCKS GO WHEN JUST LIKE I DO.!

  4. DJ says:

    THE BUCKS WILL BEAET THE HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR ALL THE BUCKS HATERS, YALL GO BE LOOKING STUPID WHEN THE BUCKS DO BEAT THE. AND BIRD, DONT TELL CHANDLER TO DREAM ON! HE THINK THE BUCKS GO WHEN JUST LIKE I DO.

  5. D's all stars says:

    Bucks dont have Lebron James!!!!!!! SORRY to crush yall dreams

  6. D's all stars says:

    Yall all are dreaming!!!!!! MIAMI HEAT all the way!!!!!!!!

  7. Unkle Daddy says:

    First off firing Skiles was a bad idea, but I’m looking forward to this first round match up, because if the buck’s play right and the ref’s can get off Miami’s jock for a second then it could be a real series. What was said is somewhat true, Ilyasova hasn’t been playing well this year and Monta and Brandon do have a your turn-my turn approach it seems in most games I’ve seen. Now, fix those issues and get your other bigs involved, they can make a run. They don’t need to try and stop LeBron just keep a body near him if possible, but play everybody else like you live in their jersey. I’ll be praying for you Bucks.

  8. ko0kiE says:

    too bad john wall and nene were injured during times of this season… the wizards playing great atm, they would deserve that 8th spot imo.

  9. jax says:

    it is sad, it feels like not long ago when Jennings has a great rookie year and they looked like they would be a top 4 team in the East by now if the Jennings/Bogut/Ilyasova thing worked out.
    You get the feeling that Jennings/Ellis are disinterested and just waiting to leave at the end of the season, then what? i fear they will be one of the worst teams in NBA next season if Sanders and Ilyasova are their best players.
    What the hell happened to Fear the Dear? so much promise….i think could be a lot different if Bogut had of stayed healthy :(

  10. Jay Pierce says:

    It seems to me that the Bucks players don’t want to be here. They are going though the motions. Milwaukee just isn’t an attractive place to play.

  11. Bruce says:

    It’d be worth Boston tanking to get into 8th to face Miami first

    They want to win it all and will need to go through Miami to do so

    So should get it dine first, take Miami on before the rest of the east – and the west…

  12. RW says:

    Monta Ellis has been nothing short of phenomenal…I don’t know what he is looking at? He is not playing disjointed at all and is not on a salary drive. Ellis out of all the players is playing hard EVERY NIGHT and is the main reason that Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova are having breakout years. Also his defense is overstated and underrated. Watch him…actually sit down and watch the games instead of go on past reputation where in Golden State that team was not designed for him to play defense and get in foul trouble with the no touch NBA rules on not touching guards on certain parts of the floor. He makes an effort to stay in front of his man the best he can within the restrictive rules. But they have looked disinterested as much as the front office seems to be with some moves they make or don’t make.

  13. Stephen says:

    You mean “uninterested”; “disinterested” means impartial.

    • bullsfan0218 says:

      thank you! I’ve always wondered what the difference was between those two words (not sarcastic)

  14. Chilly says:

    What the writer seems to miss in all this, is that they are, as they themselves have said, more interested in playing Miami instead of the NY.

  15. Celtic Expert says:

    Honestly the Raptors out of everyone deserve 8th seed!!!!!!
    Who agrees????

  16. Scott says:

    @Chandler, it would great if Bucks win a game against the Heat. Obviously, there’s no way they will get anywhere close to winning the series, but getting at least a game would be nice to see.

  17. W/E says:

    Why should the Bucks seem interested anyway, going fishing is so much more relaxing and fun so who cares about the playoffs anyway.

  18. Scott says:

    Very sad, indeed. I think one of their biggest issues is lack of effort for a full 48 minutes. I saw bits of them play the Thunder a week ago and they had moments of brilliance followed by long stretched of effortless play.

  19. chandler says:

    Wouldn’t it just be great if the bucks beat the heat in the first round?