Five years into John Hammond's tenure as general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks he decided it was time for a change. Big change. During a hectic off-season Hammond hired a new head coach and entirely new coaching staff and he brought on board 11 new players. Even a much desired playoff berth last season had not solved the Bucks problems. Finishing as the eighth seed in the East meant an early exit in four games against the Miami Heat as the Bucks battled more among themselves than they did against LeBron and D-Wade. The high-octane backcourt combination of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis touted as a game-changer for the Bucks fizzled in a mountain of missed shots and angry attitudes. Jennings went to Detroit in a trade and Ellis was left to find his own path to Dallas but not before he fired his agent when few big contract offers came his way. As training camp opens Tuesday the Bucks will not be burdened by heavy expectations. Chicago with point guard Derrick Rose returning from a serious knee injury and Indiana led by all-star Paul George and a balanced cast clearly are the class of the Central Division. Cleveland has improved its roster and Detroit has added Jennings and free-agent forward Josh Smith. The Bucks? They are looking toward the future with 24-year-old Larry Sanders 22-year-old John Henson 21-year-old Brandon Knight and 18-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo their first-round pick in the June draft. Sanders has embraced his new role as a leader of the franchise on the court and in the community. And he was rewarded this summer with a four-year $44 million contract extension. But as always with the Bucks it's not that simple. Owner Herb Kohl has made it clear he wants his team to compete. With discussions heating up about building a new facility for Milwaukee's NBA franchise the Bucks still need to generate some excitement and some victories.
Buck GM Hammond cleans house, so team can get fresh start
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Sep 29