As the calender turns to March the days get longer and the Brewers get set to begin spring training. Most Milwaukee sports fans are talking about the run Marquette has made to get back into the tournament, or who’s going to be in the rotation for the Brewers. But why isn’t anybody talking about the Bucks? You know, that NBA team that’s only a half game behind the fifth place team in the Eastern Conference?
I understand that most years us Wisco sports fans are already looking at draft prospects and seeing where the Bucks could land in the lottery. This is not like most years. There is a buzz growing around Milwaukee, but the buzz isn’t nearly big enough.
As it stands right now the now the Bucks are 32-29 while holding on to the sixth spot and they’re only a half game out of the fifth seed for the playoffs. Tonight in the Bradley Center (BC), we welcome the Cleveland Lebrons for a showdown. This should be a good way to measure where the Bucks are at for a couple different reasons.
First, The Cavs are an elite team and this would give us a decent estimate to where we actually are as a team. Another, for me at least, is to see how many BUCKS fans show up in their BUCKS jerseys to support the BUCKS.
While I am expecting a sellout tonight at the BC, its not like a sellout you might see at a Brewer game against a division foe.
The Brewers have proved over the past three years that putting a competitive product on the field will draw Milwaukee’s fans out the game in record numbers. The Brewers have drawn 3 million plus fans for two straight years which, apparently, is a major accomplishment (my team does it every year).
But, like the Brewers, The Bucks are competing and are likely to be in the playoffs, but still empty seats are all over the BC. Only a few times this year have the Bucks sold out games, and it was for the usual suspects…LA Lakers, Dwayne Wade’s Miami Heat, and the Chicago Bulls. On other nights the crowd looks comparable to a WNBA game (maybe not that bad).
Being a Bucks fan and Cubs fan I ask you, Bucks fans, Where’s the same pride in your team? I can’t show up to a Brewer game wearing my Cubs jersey without getting berated by half the stadium. But If I wore a Cavs jersey to tonight’s game, I’d fit in just fine. Something's wrong here.
What do the Bucks have to do to draw fans? I understand the tailgating experience at Miller Park is excellent and most Milwaukee residents are fans of drinking first and their team second. So it is hard to compare, but if you're looking to party with friends before a Bucks game, Water and Old World 3rd St. has got you covered.
Downtown has many establishments right around the BC so fans can grab a bite to eat and some drinks before. Tickets are cheap—Bucks.com offers many different ticket deals. They even collaborate with other local businesses to provide several different promotional deals that usually results in people leaving the BC with free stuff.
So, are you guys just not NBA fans? I’ve heard people say that they wont go to an NBA game because they lost the team aspect of the game years ago and that it has become a one on one “street ball” game. You couldn’t be more wrong. Those same people will use that false statement to say that college basketball is a better brand of basketball than the NBA.
I just ask these people to watch the Bucks once and they will notice this Bucks squad wins games by playing team ball and playing hard defensively all game, every game. Casual sports fans always say that there is no defense played in the NBA and maybe in some cases your right but the Bucks are most certainly playing defense.
The Bucks have ranked in the top ten in defensive efficiency almost the whole year. When people compare the pro game to the college game they need to realize that these guys are professionals. In the college game, there are more set plays because the longer shot clock allows for it. There is a great deal of difference when playing for 35 seconds compared to 24 seconds.
In the NBA if a guard gets daylight, he’s taught to shoot it. Why? because you may not get a better look and since they’re professionals, in most cases, an open shot is going in.
College kids NEED to run sets longer in order to open up easy shot attempts. UW’S Jason Bohannon needs to play within the swing offense because e doesn’t have the ability to consistently create his own shot effectively. John Salmons can and does time and time again; so why would you want him to play that so called “better brand of basketball” when he can just go to the hoop and score it?
If people want good, defensive basketball then they should Love tonight’s matchup between two of the best defensive teams the league has to offer.
The bottom line is that all you Bucks fans out there need to get those people out for a game. You know at least a few people who don’t watch the team because of the ridiculous points listed earlier. This team doesn't have any “superstars” but they play excellent basketball as a team and finally starting to turn the corner. Tell people that.
Milwaukee can be a great basketball city like it was back in 2001 but we just need the fringe basketball fans back at the games and back with the Bucks. Bucks fans you have one job…grab someone who doesn’t watch the Bucks and watch a game with them. Who knows, maybe they may like what they see and want to go to a game.
Build Bucks Nation one fan at a time Bucks fans. It’s your duty.
This article and many more surrounding the world of Wisconsin Sports (Pro and D1) can be found at WiscoSportsTalk.com