Bucks: Media day remarkably different a year later


The Milwaukee Bucks were oozing optimism and confidence at media day on Monday.

What’s not to like? They were the NBA’s most improved team in 2014-15, increasing their win total by a whopping 26 games, from the 15-67 debacle of 2013-14 to a 41-41 playoff club that pushed the Chicago Bulls in the first round before a Game 6 nightmare ended the season.

ALSO ON DAIRYLAND EXPRESS: 40 Years Since Kareem Trade Changed Franchise

The Bucks held media day on Monday at their St. Francis training facility before heading off to Madison to start training camp on Tuesday.

More from Milwaukee Bucks

Coach Jason Kidd can tell the difference from last year.

“You hear talk and whispers about people being excited about Bucks basketball,” Kidd said, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

John Henson, entering his fourth season with the Bucks, also noticed the change.

“From my rookie year, it’s a 360,” Henson said, “We’ve finally built something sustainable.”

Pretty sure Henson meant it’s a 180-degree turnaround, but the point remains the same. Optimism abounds.

Veteran guard Jerryd Bayless shares the feeling, but tempers it with caution.

“It’s important they do (improve),” Bayless said of the team’s young core. “I think Giannis (Antetokounmpo) will; I think Khris (Middleton) will. They put in a lot of work during the summer and now is the time to show it.

“The biggest thing is for us to stay healthy. If we stay healthy, who knows what can happen?”

Bayless acknowledges that other teams in the Eastern Conference improved over the summer as well and that makes it even more important for Milwaukee to keep pace.

“Indiana is better; Miami is better,” Bayless said. “All the teams got better. We have to play well. It’s not something where we just roll the ball out there and we go out and win. We have to be prepared and we have to be ready to play every night.

“If we don’t, it could be ugly. We have to go out there and take it serious and be ready to go.”

Kidd joked about how young the team is, quipping that there will be two college teams in Madison this week.

But he’s also convinced the young Bucks learned a lot last season.

“You could see their maturity last year,” Kidd said. “Being able to handle winning in the first half of the season and then things changed after the All-Star break. They didn’t break; they stayed as a team.

“They’re going to make mistakes on the floor, but it’s time for us to come through together and come out on the other end.”

Antetokounmpo said it’s not unrealistic to think the Bucks could win a playoff series this year, something Milwaukee hasn’t experienced since 2001, when they beat the Orlando Magic in the first round and the Charlotte Hornets in the Eastern Conference semifinals before falling in seven games to the Philadelphia 76ers in the conference finals.

The Bucks also made a front-office addition on Monday, announcing that former NBA general manager Rod Thorn, most recently the league’s president of basketball operations, was joining the team as a consultant.

The 74-year-old Thorn was the engineer of the 2001 trade that brought Kidd to the New Jersey Nets, leading the team to its only two NBA Finals appearances.

Thorn also was the GM who took some guy named Michael Jordan with the third pick in the 1984 NBA Draft when he was the general manager of the Bulls.

Live Feed

Best NBA Odds for Every In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal Game on Tuesday, Dec. 5
Best NBA Odds for Every In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal Game on Tuesday, Dec. 5 /


  • Knicks vs. Bucks prediction and odds for NBA In-Season Tournament QuarterfinalsDaily Knicks
  • Milwaukee Bucks should monitor former fan-favorite stuck on LA Clippers' benchBehind the Buck Pass
  • Coach Griffin provides injury updates on several key Milwaukee BucksBehind the Buck Pass
  • Peter’s Points: NBA Best Bets Today (Expert Predictions, Picks for CJ McCollum, Malik Monk and More)Betsided
  • Best NBA Odds for Every In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal Game TodayBetsided
  • That move worked out OK.

    GM John Hammond was thrilled with the move.

    “I can tell you from my seat, I could not be any more excited to have Rod as a part of our organization,” Hammond told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He’s someone I know I can lean on and Jason can do the same.

    “He’s done everything in this league. He’s played in this league. He’s coached in this league. He’s worked in the front office and the league office itself.”

    The Bucks will wrap up camp in Madison next week before visiting Chicago to open the preseason on Oct. 6.

    Next: Parker Cleared For Training Camp

    More from Dairyland Express