In preparation for the game, I sat down with Frank Madden, managing editor over at Brew Hoop, to discuss.
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Bram Kincheloe: How is the excitement level in Milwaukee? Before the season, and even for the past few seasons, the Bucks have been a bit of the NBA's darlings, with such up-and-comers and Giannis, a recently returned Jabari Parker, and now the addition of Greg Monroe. Have the Bucks lived up to the hype, or have they taken a step back? Where can they improve if they hope to keep rising in the ranks?
Frank Madden: The win over the Warriors certainly was an energizer, though Tuesday's awful loss to the Lakers only reiterated the frustrating, up-and-down nature of the current Bucks squad. Though they've been a top-ten defensive team over the last 10 games, they were the league's absolute worst for the first four weeks of the season, suggesting that Kidd and the front office woefully underestimated the impact Jared Dudley and Zaza Pachulia made last season. They have shown signs of playing better on that end of late, but their offense has simultaneously cratered.
BK: What grade would you give Jason Kidd as the coach of this team?
FM: Probably a C. This is the second-youngest team in the league, so even with last year's success it's not as though anyone should have expected 50 wins and a trip to the conference finals. But their massive regression on the defensive end and tendency for third quarter collapses raise obvious questions about Kidd and the coaching staff's ability to get the most out of this roster. His job isn't in danger by any stretch, but a step backward isn't exactly encouraging.
BK: With this slow start, currently sitting 13th in a suddenly-revamped Eastern Conference, where do you put the chances that the Bucks make the playoffs again this year?
FM: I would have said perhaps optimistically 10% going into Tuesday night's game, but seeing them revert back to their old bad habits against the Lakers makes it tough to even argue for that. They might be able to catch one or two teams but the East is pretty crazy right now -- even the Hawks and Wizards are outside the playoff picture as things currently stand. I'm guessing we'll see some teams regress over the course of the season, but it's quite possible that the eighth seed wins about 44 games this season -- which would require the Bucks to win over 60% of their remaining games. Considering what we've seen so far, I just can't imagine them pulling it off at this point.
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Thanks Frank for taking the time to jump on with us here at GSOM. We are all looking forward to tonight's game!
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