To say the 2013-14 campaign has been a trying one for the Milwaukee Bucks and new coach Larry Drew would be a massive understatement.
The Bucks, with a strange mix of veterans, rookies, and some players stuck in between, lost 12 of their first 14 games this year and have dropped their last nine, bringing them to their present record of 7-33. It is never a good thing to be just nine losses away from guaranteeing a losing season…in February.
Milwaukee made a few big splashes this summer, signing Gary Neal, O.J. Mayo, Carlos Delfino and Zaza Pachulia to significant contracts while trading for Wisconsin native Caron Butler and young point guard Brandon Knight (in exchange for Brandon Jennings) in separate deals.
The Bucks tried very hard to improve their roster this offseason, acquiring some established pieces, but other than Knight, John Henson, Khris Middleton, and rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo, not many of Milwaukee's players have lived up to the bill in terms of production.
The reasons for this occurrence are certainly varied.
Once-promising forward Larry Sanders has been dealing with offseason problems stemming from a bar fight injury, Delfino (foot) has not even played a game yet, and Neal and Butler have missed nearly half of Milwaukee's game due to injury. Basically nothing is going right for the Bucks, and the losing and inconsistency is starting to frustrate the guys on the team.
From Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "We certainly want to change the culture," [Larry] Drew said. "We've got to learn how to play together every night. Playing together can't be a sometimes thing…"
Drew, whose contract was not renewed by the Atlanta Hawks after last season, is struggling through about as tough a season a new head coach can deal with. Milwaukee's extreme youth and inexperience prevent the Bucks from being a serious contender while its injury and production problems prevent the Bucks from just being competitive in the slightest.
It is really not a good situation in Milwaukee, where the Bucks struggle to sell tickets to most home games and suffer from lack of fan interest in a state where football rules the roost. Larry Drew has the impossible job of creating a winning culture with a team that simply doesn't have the capability to be successful.
At least the Bucks are likely to have the most lottery balls when the 2014 Draft order is picked in May. Still, though, even that might not give Milwaukee the help it needs to become a winner.