Erik Thorne

OnBucksBasketball - Week 25

The Bucks entered the last week of the season with a matchup against the third seeded Raptors in Canada. The crowd at the Air Canada Centre was amped up in this game, as Toronto is headed to the playoffs with a good amount of momentum after winning the Atlantic Division for the first time since Chris Bosh left. Point guard Greivis Vasquez powered the Raptors to a victory with his gritty and creative style of basketball. Brandon Knight and Ramon Sessions tried hard to give Milwaukee its 16th victory of the season, but instead the Bucks sealed the dubious honor of being awarded the best chance of any team to land the number one pick in June’s player draft. The Raptors rested their star guard DeMarr Derozan and still came out with the 110-100 victory before a full house.

The last game of the year for the Bucks came against another playoff bound team in the Atlanta Hawks on Fan Appreciation Night at the Bradley Center. With news of the Senator Herb Kohl’s sale of the franchise to hedge fund billionaires Mark Lasry and Wes Edens, the crowd was full of energy with the prospect of a new future for the Milwaukee Bucks. Kohl received two separate standing ovations from the Milwaukee fans for keeping the team in town at the beginning and end of the game. In a familiar storyline, the home team got off to a good start and led through three quarters. However, too many Hawks players were left open on the perimeter and Jeff Teague led his team back from an 11 point deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Without the likes of Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, OJ Mayo and Nate Wolters there just wasn’t the same type of intensity in these final weeks that could have put the Bucks over the top. In the end, Atlanta took the 111-103 victory and headed into the playoffs to meet the top seeded Indiana Pacers.

What a wild week this was to finish the 2014 season. The franchise not only was sold to a pair of owners that seem poised to keep the team in Milwaukee and build a new arena – provided there is at least some public funding. This will prove difficult to many in Milwaukee, the surrounding counties and the rest of Wisconsin because three main reasons. For one, some do not want to pay more in taxes for anything, and are even more fervent when the purposed tax is for a new sports arena. Two, the Bucks have been a bad franchise for many years. Besides making the final four in 2001, Milwaukee has suffered through nearly 25 years of unsuccessful teams since their competitive teams in the 80’s. Lastly, people are still upset over the Miller Park tax that was levied in the late 90’s and is still in place today. Even though the Brewers stadium has been a remarkable boon to the local economy creating jobs and attracting out of town visitors, some are still upset that the tax has gone on longer than originally proposed.

These are all valid points, but the fact of the matter is that if Milwaukee needs this new arena. It’s time to take a look into the future and having a state of the art facility for the Bucks, Marquette, the Admirals and all concerts and events is crucial to maintain a vitality in our city. From recent reports, the sale stipulates that if new arena plans are not underway by 2017 the NBA will buy back the team at a loss. This almost certainly means that the Milwaukee Bucks franchise will move to another city (Seattle) that passionately wants an NBA team and will build a new arena.

I certainly hope the Bucks stay in Milwaukee and keep this a major league city. The stature and economy of our city needs to stay viable in our ability to showcase major entertainment. Hopefully we can all come together to get a new arena and enjoy the benefits that come as a result. If Memphis, Sacramento and Oklahoma City can do it, why can’t we?

BUCK OF THE YEAR!!! Brandon Knight 17.9 points, 4.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game in 2014.

Final Record: 15 wins, 67 losses