The Bucks are NBA champions and it’s making me feel feels that I don’t quite know how to process. I assume the pain coming from my chest and radiating down my arms is typical of the championship experience and not just a heart attack in progress. Anyway, to celebrate this occasion, I will give a breakdown of the Bucks teams that I had to endure from the 2009-10 season (when I first became a committed Bucks fan) to the present day.
2009-10: 46-36, first round loss to the Hawks
Brandon Jennings’ rookie season was shaping up to pretty good until Amar’e Stoudemire turned Andrew Bogut’s arm into mashed potatoes. The acquisition of John Salmons (in exchange for bustlord Joe Alexander) was the spark the Bucks needed. I distinctly remember both Kurt Thomas and Dan Gadzuric hitting at least one ten-foot baseline jumper each during this season.
2010-11: 35-47, missed playoffs
This is all Salmons’ fault. Also, LOL (lots of laughs) to the front office that thought the additions of Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden would actually help anything. I should also note that this was the season when the Michael Redd era in Milwaukee ended. He scored 4 PPG in 10 games.
2011-12: 31-35, missed playoffs
Big offseason acquisition Stephen Jackson was a huge disappointment in this lockout season. Andrew Bogut played 12 games, got injured somehow, then got traded for Monta Ellis in a trade that everybody thought was a win for the Bucks.
2012-13: 38-44, first round loss to the Heat
The “chuck bros” era was in full swing, with Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings taking all the shots. We replaced Carlos Delfino with…Marquis Daniels? And traded future studbeast Tobias Harris for…a JJ Redick rental? Drew Gooden was still on the team? The only positives here were the “Bucks in six” quote from Jennings (THE PROPHECY HAS BEEN FULFILLED) and Ersan Ilyasova still being around.
2013-14: 15-67, missed playoffs
The low point. You thought the chuck bros were an insufferable tandem? Gary Neal and Caron Butler combined to make this season unwatchable. A Bucks relocation to Seattle never felt as inevitable as it did in 2014. The only positive? Some skinny Greek dude whose name I can’t spell was the second best rookie on the team behind the Sexy St. Cloud Scorer himself, Nate Wolters. And who was this “Khris Middleton” guy scoring 12 PPG?
2014-15: 41-41, first round loss to the Bulls
All that losing was worth it! Bucks take Jabari Parker with the 2nd overall pick! Then he got injured, Jason Kidd traded Brandon Knight for Michael Carter-Williams because being a Bucks fan is pain, and the Bucks somehow still won enough games to make the playoffs and have the chance to spear-tackle Mike Dunleavy into the third row, WWE-style. At some point during all of this, Larry Sanders decided he didn’t even like basketball. I don’t blame him.
2015-16: 33-49, missed playoffs
The Giannis/Parker/Middleton core didn’t win as many games as one would think, but at least the focus was on the young core and not making trades for the Stephen Jacksons and Gary Neals of the world. This was also the season where Greg Monroe signed a short deal and everybody assumed his next deal would be a max. Instead he was signing minimums. (I actually watched zero games this season in protest of Ersan getting traded, so I wouldn’t even see the cool new uniforms/color scheme until the next season)
2016-17: 42-40, first round loss to the Raptors
Giannis’ first all-star season. Jabari averaged 20 PPG until he blew up his knee again. Tony Snell started 80 games as Marquis Daniels 2.0. Thon Maker did some stuff in the playoffs to trick everybody into thinking he might be good some day. Rashad Vaughn did nothing, but I still think that him (and Doron Lamb) could have been good in the league under different circumstances.
2017-18: 44-38, first round loss to the Celtics
Check out all these first round losses! We totally would have made the second round if D.J. Wilson wasn’t a bust.
2018-19: 60-22, ECF loss to the Raptors
All the pain was worth it! Giannis is MVP! Ersan is back! Nikola Mirotic was the missing piece! Eric Bledsoe is good! John Henson has been around since 2012! The Bucks are up 2-0 in the ECF and are a Finals lock! Nope. More pain. But at least the pain made sense, unlike the nonsensical and gratuitous pain of the past decade.
2019-20: 56-17, second round loss to the Heat
The Bucks looked to be one of the elite teams in NBA history, but cracks started to appear in the facade right before the pandemic hit. When the Bucks lost their postseason opener against the Magic, I knew they weren’t winning a championship.
2020-21: 46-26, Finals victory against the Suns
[Jennings:] We just gonna go out there and play basketball, and win.
[Reporter:] And win?
[Reporter:] How many games?
[Jennings, smirking:] Six. We gonna – we gonna win in six.