Bucks players, coaches reflect on the season: “We had a great season, but we still have a ways to go”
MILWAUKEE (WITI) — It was a wild ride, but the Milwaukee Bucks season came to an abrupt end on Thursday, April 30th. However, it was definitely a season to remember!
“For lack of words we laid an egg,” Bucks forward John Henson said.
The Bucks fell to the Chicago Bulls 120-66 in Game 6 of the NBA playoffs. Somewhere in that 54-point loss is a positive for a young Bucks team.
“If anything I think it’s good motivation, you know? Say we lose in overtime or lose a close game — I don’t think guys will be as, I don’t know, as focused if Chicago gave it to us. That’s also something that we put on the bulletin board as well,” Henson said.
“You’ll forget about it, use it as motivation. Then come back next season, better, ready for the playoffs again,” Bucks guard Khris Middleton said.
Though the loss ended the Bucks season, it didn’t take away from what they accomplished — winning 41 games in the regular season and two more in the post-season.
“We had a great season. We still have a ways to go. But the process has started and we have a foundation to build on,” Bucks Head Coach Jason Kidd said.
Kidd helped lay the foundation by trying to change the culture when he took over the team in the off-season after it had won only 15 games the season before.
“Guys never quit. They played to the end. That’s a big thing, that they will continue to play no matter what the score is. It gives a lot of credit to those guys of competing. That doesn’t go into the box score,” Kidd said.
A new head coach wasn’t the only change the team had to adjust to this season. Very early in the season, rookie Jabari Parker tore his ACL. He was done for the season.
“We went through a lot of stuff this season. But we made it out. We stuck together and we just believed in ourselves,” Middleton said.
At the training deadline, the Bucks were big players, sending their leading scorer Brandon Knight away and bringing in Michael Carter-Williams.
“MCW came in he had to adjust a little bit coming from Philly. We expected that. It took time. Then once he got that time, a month or two in, we started seeing the signs of the player he could be,” Middleton said.
Other changes happened as well, including the release of center Larry Sanders.
“With everything that happened, we stayed the course and had our mind on one goal and that was making the playoffs and we achieved that goal,” Middleton said.
Now, the business side of the sport takes focus.
“We have the pieces we feel to get better. But there’s always other pieces out there that maybe you want to upgrade or could get better,” Kidd said.
That may or may not include Middleton, who becomes a free agent in July.
“I hope to be back here. I feel we have a great young team going the right direction. I would love to be a part of that here,” Middleton said.
Once the roster is settled, expectations as to the players and the organization will only grow.
“We have to approach every game like there’s a bullseye on our backs. I think we’ll be ready for that. I hope we’ll be ready for that,” Middleton said.
“Coach Kidd said next year we’re not going to be a secret. No one’s going to think that we’re going to come in and lay down. They’re going to try and beat us as well, so that’ll be a good way to start,” Henson said.
Kidd says the team will always look to improve through free agency and the NBA Draft. He expects the guys currently on the roster to be in the gym and be ready to go this summer as they look to improve on what he says was a fun season.