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Milwaukee Bucks

Robbie Bolton steps away from his beloved Pistons to help out the Milwaukee Bucks.  The Bucks use the 8th pick to select:

Maciej Lampe, SF, 7'0", Real Madrid

I. Introduction

Milwaukee Bucks: We Need Jack Sikma.

A little over two years ago, the Bucks had on of the NBA's elite coaches, and the big three (Robinson, Allen, and Cassell) that made all the teams in the offense-deprived Eastern Conference salivate at so much scoring on one team. Now, all they have is a lame-duck coach in the last year of his contract, the alien-looking Sam Cassell and a free agent to be Gary "I used to be the best PG in the NBA" Payton.

The team was lucky to squeak into the 7th spot in the playoffs where they had the privilege of being swept by the New Jersey Nets. I don't think they really minded, though. Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley were more than happy to invite the Bucks to go fishing with them.

That makes us wonder what the hell the trade for Payton was all about. They now have two point guards in the backcourt and a logjam of wing players. Not too mention a pivot by committee approach and poor chemistry issues. With all the transitions and turmoil that plague this team right now, there is talent here still and with a good draft pick and some key free agent acquisitions this team could again make a run at the Finals in within two years (Unless the almight Stern banishes them to the Western Conference).

II. Season Statistics

 	Player	G   GS	MPG   FG%  3P%   FT%	OFF  DEF  TOT	APG  SPG BPG TO	  PF	PPG
 Sam Cassell	78  77	34.6  .470 .362  .861	.70  3.70 4.40	5.8 1.13 .18 2.27 2.80	19.7
 Gary Payton	28  28	38.8  .466 .294  .746	.80  2.30 3.10	7.4 1.43 .29 2.00 2.30	19.6
 Michael Redd	82  14	28.2  .469 .438  .805	1.20 3.30 4.50	1.4 1.22 .16 .90  1.70	15.1
 Desmond Mason	28  25	34.0  .474 .294  .765	2.40 4.40 6.70	2.4  .71 .39 1.46 2.60	14.8
 Tim Thomas	80  70	29.5  .443 .366  .780	1.20 3.70 4.90	1.3  .88 .61 1.66 3.20	13.3
 Toni Kukoc	63   0	27.0  .432 .361  .706	1.10 3.20 4.20	3.7 1.29 .46 1.94 2.10	11.6
 Anthony Mason	65  58	32.6  .486 .000  .718	1.40 5.00 6.40	3.2  .49 .18 1.22 2.30	7.2
 Jason Caffey	51  16	17.5  .456 .000  .651	1.30 2.10 3.50	.7   .37 .29 1.10 2.40	5.8
 Marcus Haislip	39   8	11.3  .431 .250  .684	.50   .80 1.40	.2   .18 .46  .54 1.40	4.1
 Dan Gadzuric	49  30	15.5  .483 .000  .518	1.30 2.70 4.00	.2   .45 1.06 .55 2.60	3.4
 Ervin Johnson	69  17	17.0  .452 .000  .682	1.70 2.60 4.30	.3   .49 .91  .49 2.60	2.2
 Joel Przybilla	32  17	17.1  .391 .000  .500	1.50 3.00 4.50	.4   .31 1.41 .59 2.70	1.5
 Jamal Sampson	5    0	1.6   .000 .000  .000	.20   .20  .40	.2   .20 .00  .00  .00	.0
 Team Averages	82   0	242.7 .457 .383  .776	10.7 28.9 39.5	22.2 7.6 4.2 12.7 22.2	99.5
 Opponents	82   0	242.7 .458 .375  .745	12.5 31.0 43.4	23.1 6.6 4.1 14.4 20.5	99.
 Record 42-40         Home25-16		Away	17-24		

Salaries and Contracts
Milwaukee Bucks           Date    # of      total 
Player                   signed   years     salary     misc          FA
Jason Caffey ..........  1/23/99    7    $35 million          p-opt '03
Dan Gadzuric ..........  8/29/02    1      minimum                  '03
Gary Payton ...........  7/16/96    7    $85 million                '03
Toni Kukoc ............  8/16/00    4    $28 million                '04
Desmond Mason .........   8/3/00    4     $5,364,152    rc          '04
Joel Przybilla ........   7/8/00    4     $7,597,509    rc          '04
Ervin Johnson ......... 7/23/96,10/23/01  7+2  $15 mill + $9.1 mill '05
Anthony Mason ......... 10/25/01    4    $20,874,800                '05
Sam Cassell ........... 7/15/97,2/7/02  6+3  $21 +$17 million       '06
Marcus Haislip ........  7/19/02    4     $7,007,355    rc    t-opt '06
Michael Redd .......... 10/14/02    4    $12 million          p-opt '06
Tim Thomas ...........    8/1/00    6    $67 million                '06

III. Bucks Draft History

2002		Marcus Haislip			Tennessee
2001		(no first-round selection)
2000		Jason Collier			Georgia Tech 
1999		(no first-round selection) 
1998		Dirk Nowitzki 			DJK Wurzburg (Germany)
		Pat Garrity 			Notre Dame
1997		Danny Fortson 			Cincinnati
1996		Stephon Marbury 		Georgia Tech
1995		Gary Trent 			Ohio University
1994		Glenn Robinson 			Purdue
		Eric Mobley 			Pittsburgh
1993		Vin Baker 			Hartford
1992		Todd Day 			Arkansas
		Lee Mayberry			Arkansas
1991		Kevin Brooks 			Southwestern Louisiana 
1990		Terry Mills			Michigan
1989		(no first-round selection)
1988		Jeff Grayer			Iowa State
1987		(no first-round selection) 
1986		Scott Skiles			Michigan State
1985		Jerry Reynolds 			Louisiana State
1984		Kenny Fields 			UCLA
1983		Randy Breuer 			Minnesota
1982		Paul Pressey 			Tulsa

IV. Player Analysis


Ervin Johnson, Joel Pryzbilla, and Dan Gadzuric (Free Agent) -

Johnson remained the starter this year. He's never quite developed to where the Bucks had hoped after giving him that big contract. He's solid on defense, but provides little on offense and hardly any presence in the pivot. Unfortunately, his huge contract will make it tough to move and get anything in return. Gadzuric showed some promise this year and for the NBA minimum is a great value. He will most likely never amount to a back-up center at best, but should be kept around if he can be had at or near the minimum. Pryzbilla has yet been able to shed the project tag that came with him out of Minnesota a couple years back. Being slow to develop, some of which has been hampered by injuries, really makes it look like the Bucks wasted the first round pick they traded to get him in the 2000 draft. Being in the final year of his rookie contract, Pryzbilla needs to stay healthy and show something this upcoming year if he wants to stay in Milwaukee.

Power Forwards

Marcus Haislip, Jason Caffey, Jamal Sampson (Free Agent) -

Probably the weakest position on the roster (although all three of their small forwards that I have listed below are versatile enough to play the 4 and often do more so than these three); Haislip had a decent rookie campaign. But teams expect more out such an experienced college player (left Tennessee after Junior season). They will have much more patience with a high schooler or frosh who left early than they would when drafting a Junior or Senior from the college ranks. Like Johnson, Caffey is another one with a big contract that was earned by putting up numbers on a poor team (Golden State). While he's a good team player and one who is willing to do the dirty work, he is eating up precious cap space and the Bucks are saddled with contract for at least a few more years. Jamal Sampson played in 5 games and his performances do not warrant any further discussion of him here.

Small Forwards

Tim Thomas, Anthony Mason, Toni Kukoc -

Tim Thomas has still never quite lived up to the potential he showed at Villanova his freshman year. While he is a contributing part of the rotation one has to wonder why he never left the Bucks for Chicago or Detroit when he was a free agent. He has to fight with the other two guys at this position as well as Desmond Mason for playing time. Maybe he still has All-star potential in him, but one has to wonder if he'll ever be more than a third offensive option with the Bucks. As much as Mason is a cancer to a team's chemistry, he is one of the few players who understand what needs to be done to win and provides a physical post presence. I would not be surprised to see them try to move Mason in the off-season or before the trade deadline next season, if they can find a taker. Kukoc is still a very capable all-around player, well except when it comes to his defense. He fills multiple roles on the floor, can distribute, handle, and shoot the rock. His play the season along with the Hawks first round pick makes that look like a very good deal for Milwaukee.

Shooting Guards

Michael Redd, Desmond Mason -

Michael Redd has turned himself into a solid third guard. Can shoot the 3 ball and give instant offense. Not going to back up the point position, but can get out on the break and get to the basket. Unfortunately for Redd, the Bucks are high on Mason. Having been quoted as saying that even if Payton bolts this was still a good trade because we go Mason. That said,Mason will be in the final year of his rookie contract and will need to have a coming out year if he is going to want a team to show him the bling-bling.

Point Guards

Sam Cassell, Gary Payton (Free Agent) -

The Martian (Cassell) is the one who should've been traded if you ask me. While I might not like the Payton trade, it would've made more sense to re-unite him with Karl if they had a point-guard vacancy. While Payton is a great player, running two points in the backcourt didn't get them further in the post-season than they would've with Ray Allen. Now they run the risk of losing Payton and getting nothing in return. Shortly after the Bucks were bounced from the play-offs he was asked about his future and to paraphrase said that at this point in his career he wants to be where he has a shot at winning a title, implying that that was not Milwaukee. But as of the writing of this draft report, he is reportedly considering the Bucks to be his first option and wants to resign with them if possible.


George Karl - Once considered an elite coach with the Sonics, all that is now in doubt. Karl seems like he has lost his interest in this team. He gladly would've bolted for UNC before they hired Doherty has the Senator given him permission to do so. But he still speaks no ill of Kohl. After all, he is getting $7 million per. Sick for a coach to get that much and is lucky if he can get his teams into the play-offs


Ernie Grunfeld - The Jailblazers and Bullets (the not so wizardly Wizards) have reportedly been seeking permission to speak to Grunfeld about his interest, but the Bucks have not given him permission to speak with other teams. Ernie is saying the right things. He wants to be back with the Bucks, but because of the tenuous ownership situation he would be interested in speaking with other teams and keeping his options open. My hope is that even through potential ownership and coaching changes that Ernie will stay around just so we can see if there is in effect a method to his madness. As is stands right now, the moves that have been made so far have not moved the team in the right direction. If he can make sense out of the mess that is known as the Bucks roster he will forever be known as a managerial genius. If not, this may be the last we here from Grunfeld; unless of course he ends up in the broadcasting booth. (Please anyone but Bill Walton and Tom Tolbert!)


Sen. Herb Kohl - The Senator seems to be entertaining offers to rid himself of the team in the next year or so, which is why Karl's contract has not been renewed and why Grunfeld wants to pursue other options. I think the Senator realizes that this team is further away from a title now than it was when jack Sikma and Sidney Moncrief were roaming the floor for the Bucks. Might as well sell now, Senator. They certainly won't win a title in the remainder of your lifetime.

V. Draft Needs

Because much is up in the air with team: ownership, coaches and GM's future, Payton, Cassell, Thomas, they should adopt the best available draft approach. But by draft day they may know Payton's status and would be fairly set at the guard position with there most pressing needs being post play.

A physical presence that can provide some offensive points in the paint, a Ben Wallace-type rebounder would be nice, but what NBA team wouldn't want that.

Depending upon Payton's status, they should look at a PG in the draft.

VI. Possible selections

Chris Kaman, C, Central Michigan

I liked Kaman here, but a team that recently wasted two first round picks on a project center like Pryzbilla should make them nervous about Kaman, who coming from a small-school is no sure thing. The Usenet Knicks took him the pick after this one ensuring that he will be the next Frederic Weiss.

Dwyane Wade, SG, Marquette

The Bucks will be extremely tempted if he is there, with Wade being a local product and all. But they have 3 too many players a his position already.

Jarvis Hayes, SG/SF, Georgia

Another tempting prospect who probably could've used another year in the collegiate ranks and probably would've remained at Georgia were it not for the Harrick-gate scandal. Again, his position is flooded wand they would have to move some guys to make room for him.

VII. My Selection

Maciej Lampe, SF, 7'0", Real Madrid

Like Darko, Lampe is a 7-footer and only 17 years old. Right now he is being projected as a SF, but is bound to grow and helpfully strengthen and develop some toughness inside. Some say he's the next Dirk. The Bucks traded away the first Dirk for the NBA's version of Fat Bastard (Robert Traylor). They will not want to make the same mistake again and pass up on this Dirk.

VIII. What will actually happen

Who knows? This team is in such turmoil right now... ownership, Payton, management, coach. Is there anyone on this team that is untouchable... not in the least. All the unknowns make this the riskiest pick I've made in my four years in the Usenet Draft and very well might be my first negative number in Usenet vs. NBA. The scenarios with Payton leaving staying, trading down, etc. all leave my head spinning and I hope that for there sake, the Bucks will go with Lampe and be patient for 2-3 years to allow him to develop.