O.J. Mayo Shreds Milwaukee Bucks, Says Team Has No Identity or Direction

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2014

USA Today

Unlike the rest of us, O.J. Mayo sounds like he has actual expectations for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Before being handed a 110-82 romping by the Tony Parker-less San Antonio Spurs and seeing Milwaukee's losing streak reach nine games, Mayo unleashed on his team's current dynamic.

Per the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel's Charles F. Gardner, he cited the Bucks' lack of identity as a driving force behind their current skid:

It's the same thing it's been night in and night out. It's been the same result, whatever the game plan has been.

It's hard to get a rhythm when you don't know what's going to happen for you night in and night out. You may get 6 minutes, 30 minutes. There's no staple to what we're doing. You can hang in there, compete and keep it close.

If you don't have a backbone to what you do, whether it's going to be a defensive thing, an up-tempo thing, a pound-it-in-the-paint thing, a drive-and-kick thing. We've got to find a staple as a team.

I'm guessing "tanking" isn't a staple up to Mayo's standards, then?

The Bucks are indeed awful, having posted a league-worst 7-33 record through 40 games this season. Absence of a specialty has definitely hurt them. They rank dead last in offensive efficiency and 22nd in defensive efficiency, leaving them a lost and undefined team.

Add "disgruntled" to that list as well.

Mayo isn't the first Bucks player to voice his frustration. Veteran Caron Butler, who was born in Racine, Wis. and came over in a trade with the Phoenix Suns, previously indicated he was unhappy with his role on the team.

"The information I received before coming here is that 'You're going to play a lot,'" he said, via Gardner. "And I want to play. I want to be out there to help the situation."

Butler registered the always-dreaded "DNP Coach's Decision" in Milwaukee's loss to San Antonio, and he played just five minutes in its previous loss to the Houston Rockets.

So much for playing a lot.

Team-wide tension and irritation is understandable. No NBA player should bask in the throes of losing. That's especially true in Milwaukee, where the Bucks weren't supposed to be this bad.

Owner Herb Kohl and general manager John Hammond did what they always do last summer: replenish their roster with mediocre talents in an attempt to secure a playoff berth in the dejected Eastern Conference.

Bucks will want to get used to losing.
Bucks will want to get used to losing.Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

The Bucks were never going to be great, but with the additions of Butler, Mayo and Gary Neal, among others, along with the progressive developments of John Henson and Larry Sanders, they were supposed to be good enough. Henson has impressed, but everyone else—especially Sanders—has been a letdown.

Nearly halfway through the season, no end is in sight for Milwaukee. It won't pay for the Bucks to attempt a turnaround, because they're so far gone. They're better off tanking the year away, in hopes they land a franchise savior like Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins or someone else in this summer's draft.

"You have to give credit where credit is due, that system has been in effect for a long time and it's been successful for a long time," former Spurs guard Gary Neal said of San Antonio's performance, per The Associated Press (via ESPN).

Success isn't something the Bucks are going to find. Not this season. Not unless players like Neal, Butler and Mayo suddenly become enchanted by their losing prospects.