Head coach Scott Skiles left in January, Monta Ellis turned down a $36 million contract extension to escape, and Brandon Jennings didn’t want to return.
We’re talking about the Bucks franchise of course, a place no one seemingly wanted to be.
After a fast start that saw the team go 6-2, the Bucks roller coaster slowly began to twist and turn throughout the season. The team finally flipped upside down in April, winning a total of only 3 games throughout the month. The Bucks were later swept at the hands of the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
Anthony Goldwire, who served as an assistant coach with the Bucks last season, had a front row seat of the destruction, and told Talkinhoopz.com that everyone in the organization had a different direction.
“The organization as a whole wasn’t on the same page,” Goldwire said. “The general manager, the coaching staff, and all the way down to the players, we were just all on different pages. The coaching staff was here, the players was there, and the management was in another place, so hopefully they can get that turned around. Larry Drew should be able to do a better job.”
There were reports that locker room moral wasn’t great, and during the playoffs, Larry Sanders got into some heated arguments with teammates, but Goldwire says Sanders was actually the one to blame.
“Last year, and the year before that, Larry didn’t come to play every night, some nights he took off. Some guys felt like he didn’t have the right to speak. Now, once you get in the playoffs, now you fell like you want to talk.”
Sanders just inked a four-year extension, putting him in the drivers seat for a Milwaukee franchise that seems like it’s on its way to crashing, but Goldwire doesn’t count him out yet.
“He’s the leader of the Bucks now….This year he has a big burden…He has to continue what he started last year in the playoffs and start over now, going into September, going into their pick up games. But in order for the team to respect him, he has to do that every night.”
That team that has to respect him is a totally different one from the guys he’s used to seeing. Brandon Jenning, Monta Ellis, J.J. Reddick, and Mike Dunleavy are all gone and replaced. O.J Mayo, Luke Ridnour, Gary Neal, and Brandon Knight will now be the ones looking to Sanders for leadership.
But the roster wasn’t the only thing blown up over the summer.
Newly hired head coach Larry Drew comes over from Atlanta to try and help right the ship. Drew shook up the franchise in June by choosing not to retain a slew of assistant coaches including Goldwire.
It’ll likely be a few years before this franchise begins competing again, as the arrow is pointing way down on a Bucks team that just reached the playoffs.