The Milwaukee Bucks took steps Thursday to expand their offensive attack by adding players who can do the most essential thing in the game: shoot the basketball.
The selections came as debates and rumors concerning the new arena – which must be in place by 2017 for Milwaukee to keep the Bucks – still mill around and weigh on the team.
With their first pick in the draft, the Bucks passed over both Arkansas power forward Bobby Portis and Wisconsin Badgers hero Sam Dekker – both rumored to be options for the Bucks if available – and instead selected Rashad Vaughn, a shooting guard from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
The Bucks also traded their second round draft pick – Norman Powell, yet another shooting guard from a west coast school, this time UCLA – as well as a 2017 first round draft pick for Greivis Vasquez from the Toronto Raptors.
"With Rashad Vaughn we looked at him as the best player on the board for us in particular because of his ability to shoot the basketball," said Bucks general manager John Hammond. "And we’ve always like Greivis. Jason Kidd really likes him. He’s a veteran guard with playoff experience and has turned himself into a quality three-point shooter."
Vaughn is 6-foot-5 and just 18 years old, making him a perfect for the Bucks and their kindergarten corps.
The Golden State Warriors won the NBA title this year, largely on the shooting of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. That lesson was not lost on Hammond, who admitted that "shooting was the number one priority" going into the draft.
However, all that shooting might end up looking real good in a Seattle jersey if a new arena isn't built soon. The heated debate is still ongoing, and the weight of relocation rumors still persists – namely one started up all the way at the beginning of last season by former Grantland columnist Bill Simmons, which theorized the failure of the Bucks would actually be good for the NBA.
Simmons is a notorious gadfly, and he loves to get headlines, but he is also a prime example of where there’s smoke there may well be some fire. And his theory should serve as words of warning for those people who are still running around objecting to any public support for a new arena.
I talked with former Bucks owner Sen. Herb Kohl last week, and he pointed out that the rumors of the team moving were just that: rumors. He took solace in the provision in his sale that if the new owners wanted to move that the league could buy the team and keep it in Milwaukee.
This is where Simmons and his cautionary tale comes into play. In his theory, he goes to some pains to point out how the failure to build a new arena would actually benefit the NBA.
Wes Edens and Marc Lasry bought the Bucks for $500 million. If the Bucks can’t get an arena built and ready to use (or at least in good progress) by November 2017, the NBA can buy the team for $575 million, turn around and sell it to a group in Seattle, where both residents and the league desperately want a team, for about $1.6 billion. That would be a league profit of over $1 billion and be a cool $35 million for each of the other 29 owners.
An alternative plan is that if the arena isn’t built, the NBA could agree not to buy the team back if Edens and Lasry promised to not build the new arena themselves and agreed to pay a hefty transfer fee and move the team to Seattle where they would retain ownership.
That might amount to a $900 million investment for Lasry and Edens for a franchise that would now be worth about $1.6 billion.
It’s easy to dismiss Simmons as a dilettante who is just trying to fuel non-existent flames, but it’s probably good to remember that he named Lasry and Edens as the new owners a full five days before it was announced in Milwaukee. The guy may be a loose cannon, but he’s got at least a few cannonballs that sometimes find the target.
The thing Bucks’ fans are hoping for is that they will have a chance to watch this team, including the new guys, for more than just one more season. And that’s going to take support from the public.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.