Woelfel

GERY WOELFEL: Butler & Milwaukee, the perfect match

2013-09-30T18:03:00Z 2014-01-25T17:17:29Z GERY WOELFEL: Butler & Milwaukee, the perfect matchGERY WOELFEL gwoelfel@journaltimes.com Journal Times
September 30, 2013 6:03 pm  • 

It appears to be the perfect arrangement.

On the surface, the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to acquire Caron Butler in a trade with the Phoenix Suns last month is a win-win situation for Butler and the Bucks.

Butler has been given the opportunity to play for a team he rooted for while growing up in Racine and can spend more time with his family and longtime friends.

In Butler, the Bucks have one of the true consummate pros in the NBA, someone who’ll take on whatever task is asked of him. What’s more, Butler doesn’t bring any baggage like some of the other veterans the Bucks acquired in recent years. Can you say Corey Maggette? Can you say Stephen Jackson? Can you say Drew Gooden? Can you say Samuel Dalembert?

Butler also brings a glittering resume with him. He’s a two-time All-Star. He’s been a member of an NBA championship team, the 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks.

Those kinds of credentials can’t be trivialized, especially for a Bucks team that is saturated with young and impressionable players. Take a look at the Bucks’ radically-revamped roster and you’ll see they need a bona fide leader in the worst way.

Besides Butler, who is 33, the Bucks’ other projected starters are neophytes to the NBA. Point guard Brandon Knight is 21, shooting guard O.J. Mayo is 25, center Larry Sanders is 24 and power forward Ersan Ilyasova is 26. What’s more, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks’ highly-intriguing rookie, is a mere 19.

Each of those aforementioned players is a raw talent with high upside, but they need honing and guidance. Butler, who has a gregarious personality and who has always been willing to pass along his wisdom to younger players, seems to be the ideal candidate to help the Bucks in their growth and development.

Certainly, David Morway, the Bucks new assistant general manager, believes that will be the case. Morway has been a big Butler fan for years and admitted he tried to acquire the talented small forward on several occasions when he was the general manager of the Indiana Pacers.

“When you have a veteran presence, young guys are going to listen,” Morway said. “Caron has a very strong veteran presence; the young guys are going to listen to him. Caron’s going to help us a lot.”

Who are these guys?

Unless you’re a die-hard Bucks fan, you probably won’t recognize the 2013-2014 edition of the Bucks. During the offseason, Bucks general manager John Hammond and Morway blew up the roster like never before in franchise history.

In fact, the Bucks will have the biggest roster turnover for any of the NBA’s 30 teams this season. Barring something unforeseen, the Bucks will have 11 new faces on their roster this season.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau in New York, the only NBA team in recent years to turn over almost its entire roster was the Houston Rockets, who also had 11 new players on their opening-day roster last season. The overhaul worked out nicely for the Rockets, who advanced to the Western Conference playoffs.

Sign of things to come

While the high school basketball season doesn’t kick in for several more weeks, the Case High School boys team has already served noticed it could be a force.

The Eagles won the highly-competitive Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association tournament this summer at Waukesha, winning all seven of their games and all rather handily.

One of the interesting developments from that tournament was the emergence of Keith Thompson, a 6-foot-6 center who was an off-the-bench player for Case last season. Thompson has elevated his game so much that he is now drawing interest from several NCAA Division I schools, including Western Michigan and Western Illinois.

Special team

While LaTonya Sims, Eric Rasmussen, Bob Letsch, Abdul Jeelani and William Albright will be going into the Racine County Sports Hall of Fame Oct. 24 during formal ceremonies at the Racine Marriott Hotel, 7111 Washington Ave., the 1943 Park High School boys basketball team also will be recognized.

The Panthers had the distinction of being Racine’s first state champion in hoops. Coach Clark Van Galder’s team beat Shawano 40-23 in the title game.

Owen Evans, the former longtime Horlick and Case athletic director who was a sophomore at Park when the Panthers won that state title, will share some of his memorable moments of that Park team at the banquet.

Tickets for the RCSHF induction ceremony and dinner are $45. To purchase tickets, call (262) 636-3926.

Around the horn

Mike Menehan, who served an assistant boys basketball coach at St. Catherine’s since 2005, has taken a teaching position at Elkhorn ... The average ticket price for a Green Bay Packers home game is $82.61. That’s quite a bargain, considering tickets for New England and New York Giants home games are $118 and $112, respectively. The average Chicago Bears ticket is $104 ... Butler’s Bucks uni number is 3. ... My crystal ball shows the Detroit Tigers beating the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

Gery Woelfel is a sports reporter for The Journal Times. Gery can be reached by calling (262) 631-1713 or by email at gery.woelfel@lee.net

Copyright 2015 Journal Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses