When the Milwaukee Bucks hired Larry Drew, both were expecting to have a competitive team capable of competing for the playoffs in the NBA Eastern Conference. Instead, Drew met face-to-face with injuries, underwhelming play and bar fights. So now what? The Bucks have embraced a youth movement and are currently on track to have a high draft pick in a loaded 2014 NBA Draft. Is Drew still the right man for the job?
Let’s first take a look at some of the positives from this year. Drew has gotten a lot out of his role players, possibly more than anyone else has. He has found ways to make Khris Middleton, Jeff Adrien and Ramon Sessions effective members of the Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo, one of the future pieces of the Bucks, has shown improvement on Drew’s watch and has been carefully monitored both from a utilized and minutes perspective.
If there is one player Drew should hang his hat on, it’s the play of point guard Brandon Knight. After a horrid start in November, no one expected Knight to lead a team and be its most consistent and improved player. What looked like an initial short-term move (I personally thought Knight was better suited off the bench) has turned into possibly finding a point guard of the future.
A few players haven’t responded to Drew such as Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders; however, both have battled injuries (off and on court in Sanders’ case) and may have just had a down year. John Henson has shown flashes, but he did not take the leap many were expecting. Is this coaching or Henson’s limitations? Gary Neal never worked, but that was a bad fit from the start; the blame should go to GM John Hammond for that one.
After such a trying year Drew may be hoping to be bought out, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. With a team unknowingly at the time made to tank, he ended with more coaching hits than misses. Too many silver linings in a year that was made for tanking means Drew deserves another shot next year with still a young, but hopefully more consistent and balanced roster.
David is a NBA writer for Rant Sports. Follow David S. Grant on Twitter @david_s_grant