The Bucks split the first two games of this swing, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 94-79 for their first win against a Western Conference opponent this season, followed by a 96-87 loss to the Utah Jazz.
After riding the hot hand of Brandon Knight to a victory over the Lakers on Dec. 31, the Bucks were simply outworked two nights later by a Jazz team seen by many as competition for positioning in the draft lottery. That game was a matchup of the league’s two worst teams, with the Bucks now 7-25 and the Jazz sitting at 11-24. At least half a dozen teams, mostly in the Eastern Conference, are not far behind.
Heading into this season, the Phoenix Suns also looked like a team that would nestle into the bottom of the standings, but after a 19-12 start and a hold on seventh place, they appear to be out of the running for the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.
In Milwaukee, however, a group called SaveOurBucks.com is actively encouraging the Bucks’ organization to take the necessary steps to ensure a top-five pick and recently purchased a billboard to strengthen their campaign. The group does not go so far as to say that they want the team to intentionally tank games, but rather to field a roster of young, developing players that will make a losing outcome more likely.
Furthermore, this group fears that the Bucks’ organization will instead choose to play their veterans in hopes of squeaking into the playoffs—a goal which is sadly still obtainable in the Eastern Conference.
I would like to be able to make an argument against tanking for the Bucks –and say that winning is always better—but it’s very difficult to disagree with the team’s fan base on this one.
My main conflict right now is that I see the NBA very much as a game-to-game league. A team feels on top of the world when they win and down in the dumps when they lose.
A win tonight would mean the Bucks travel home having won two out of three on the road and probably feeling pretty darn good.
I’m just not sure who else would be feeling happy for them.
Topics: Milwaukee Bucks