Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond has certainly not been given enough credit for what he has accomplished this offseason. Obviously, it is hard to give someone his due when the new team he has put together has not taken the court yet. However, what Hammond has done this summer is what most general managers around the NBA only dream about accomplishing.
Hammond has managed to get rid of the parasites in the locker room. The players who clearly did not believe in being able to take on the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs, and the players who complained when they were benched after an embarrassing performance. He also got rid of some bad contracts, as well as, players who could not play their position the right way.
He replaced all of the bad with plenty of good. The team will have one of the youngest rosters in the league, while some very talented veterans will be able to show the younger players how to play the game the right way. The Bucks are also $7 million under the salary cap, and although it was not intentional, it certainly is a welcomed feeling.
“It wasn’t a goal,” Hammond said, according to the RealGM.com. “The process just kind of evolved. It wasn’t a goal to be sitting here at this date and be having this kind of (salary) room.
“We do like the young pieces on our roster. The three main points for us that we’ve talked about are No. 1, our financial flexibility. No. 2, the youth of this team. Can the youth develop the way we think they can? I think it’s realistic to say yes.
“And No. 3 is the veteran players we brought in, those guys providing mentorship and helping us on the floor, helping us win games.”
The potential for center Larry Sanders, power forward John Henson, forward Ersan Ilyasova, small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, small forward Khris Middleton and point guard Brandon Knight is through the roof. These six players, who have the average age of 22 years old, are the future of the Bucks. Meanwhile, Milwaukee added veterans O.J. Mayo, Luke Ridnour, Zaza Pachulia, Gary Neal and Carlos Delfino to the mix to give the team the veteran edge they need.
The Bucks may not be able to flex their muscles in year one, but there is no question they will be a scary team. The fact is the younger players will not know any better. They will not understand that they are not supposed to defeat contenders, which makes them a very dangerous bunch.