Report Card Grades for Milwaukee Bucks' 2014 Offseason So Far

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Report Card Grades for Milwaukee Bucks' 2014 Offseason So Far
Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks have certainly made quite a bit of noise on a league-wide level this offseason. And while not without scrutiny, the team's new ownership is already giving fans a reason to be excited about the future.

From drafting Duke's Jabari Parker with the second-overall pick, the controversial hiring of Jason Kidd and the extraordinary restraint to not give out any more bad contracts—knock on wood—the Bucks are playing their cards right so far this summer.

But what about those decisions makes them the correct ones, and what do they mean moving forward?

Let's take a closer look.

 

New Kidd on the Block

Uncredited/Associated Press

On an otherwise quiet June evening—as reported by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post—NBA fans were treated to the bizarre news that Jason Kidd allegedly demanded more money and more control over the Brooklyn Nets. When he was told no, the former point guard apparently asked for permission to speak with other teams.

The team he wanted to talk with? The Milwaukee Bucks.

That one came out of left field, didn't it?

Since the Bucks sent two future second-round picks to the Nets in exchange for Kidd, both he and new owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens have been the fodder of many talking heads who cover the league:

Fair criticism? Absolutely.

You would have to be pretty bold to think Kidd or the Bucks handled the situation well. Regardless of that, though, it was a move the franchise had to risk.

Kidd is a young coach, taking over a young team and working for an owner with whom he has a relationship. 

After a horrendous start with the Nets, Kidd coached the team to a playoff appearance and first-round series victory. 

And despite what Brooklyn's team salary said, they were not a very good team, and Kidd deserves a lot of the credit for keeping his players focused and getting the most out of players like Mason Plumlee and Mirza Teletovic.

Coming to the Bucks, Kidd offers up a familiar face to the youngsters who grew up watching him.

Sometimes, that is a big enough benefit in its own right. Truthfully, though, a young coach leading a young team is the right way to go.

Of course, the franchise wronged Larry Drew, but let's not act like this is the first time something like that has happened. Could it have been handled better? Of course. But that's not something the Bucks can go back and change.

The only option is to move forward, and fans should be excited about the shake up.

Grade: B+

 

Drafting Jabari Parker

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The biggest media event of the offseason for the Bucks was the Kidd ordeal, but the biggest acquisition was drafting Jabari Parker.

The 19-year-old forward was arguably the best offensive player in the draft and the one most ready to make an impact.

With the ability to score off the bounce, hitting mid-range jump shots or working it into the post against smaller defenders, Parker has the offensive arsenal that the Bucks desperately need.

Sure, they could have risked it and taken someone like Joel Embiid, but they took a bit of a leap last year when drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo.

This time, taking the player closest to a sure thing was the correct decision.

Not only does Parker have the potential to be a franchise-changer on the court, he also has the right attitude off the court to lead the organization in new directions.

The Bucks need a fresh face to go along with the new owners, a new coach and possibly—down the road—a new arena. 

And while he hasn't posted fantastic numbers in the Las Vegas Summer League (14.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 38.2 FG%), it's clear the No. 2 overall pick is well on his way to becoming a very good player in the NBA, as evidence by some of the nice offensive moves he has made.

Given its position in the draft and who was selected prior, Milwaukee made the best decision possible moving forward.

If all goes well, Parker will be a star for the Bucks for many years.

Grade: A+

 

The Importance of Being Idle

Dinesh Ramde/Associated Press

If you have followed the Bucks in over the course of the years, you would know that the front office has a propensity to throw pricey contracts at players who don't warrant them.

A year ago, they gave O.J. Mayo a three-year, $24 million deal while agreeing to give Zaza Pachulia $15.6 million over three years less than a week later.

Until earlier this week, the Bucks hadn't made a single move in the free agency period.

Then, on Thursday—as reported by Mark McClune of KPHO-TV in Phoenix—the team and guard Jerryd Bayless came to an agreement on a two-year deal. 

According to an earlier tweet from Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the deal is likely to be worth a total of $6 to $7 million.

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Given the team's shallow depth at shooting guard, the addition of Bayless—who is more of a combo guard—should provide the team with a bit of scoring off the bench.

Outside of that move, though, things have been quiet.

And that's good.

Instead of wasting big money on players who are likely to never contribute much, management has seemingly decided to keep a tight grip on what funds they spend this summer.

Earlier this month, ESPN's Marc Stein indicated that the Bucks may be interested in pursuing restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe

Bledsoe will likely demand a max contract, and unless they can move some of their guaranteed cap, the Bucks likely won't make a serious run at the young point guard.

While that may be disappointing, it won't be in the long run.

Clearing up future cap space and letting young players develop should be the two top priorities for Milwaukee in the immediate future.

Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

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