Bucks GM On Season, Antetokounmpo, Drew

January 23 at 10:39pm CST By Ryan Raroque

Bucks GM John Hammond participated in a Q&A with the Journal Sentinel and gave his thoughts on the current state of the team. You can find some of his more notable responses below:

On the team’s league-worst record and having to rely on young players: 

“We didn’t expect (Carlos Delfino) to potentially be missing the entire season. We didn’t expect Brandon Knight in the very first game, in the first 2 minutes of the game, to go out for an extended period. We didn’t expect (Zaza Pachulia) to have the injuries. We didn’t expect (Ersan Ilyasova) to be hurt. The Larry Sanders issue, Larry being out. We’ve had 10 players, and that leads the league, in games missed. A lot of it has to do with the injury issues.

(Relying on young guys) wasn’t the plan. Sometimes you are forced to change in midstream, so to speak. That’s kind of what happened to us. We’ve put the young players out there. We’re excited about their progress. The most important thing is they continue to improve now as the season progresses.”

On Giannis Antetokounmpo:

“We’re really excited. We talked before the season started that we wanted to expose him (to the league) but not overexpose him. We didn’t want him to lose confidence and have those around him lose confidence in him. Nearing the end of the exhibition season we looked at our stats and realized he was one of our leading scorers, he was one of our leading rebounders. He was our leading shot blocker. He was leading us in free throws attempted. Just little things like that, we started thinking to ourselves, is he even more ready than we realize? Even with that being said, we probably didn’t envision this happening. I know it’s a great opportunity for Giannis and it could be the right thing for our organization. There have been some ups and downs, and they’re probably going to continue. But there’s no greater teacher than actually getting the time on the floor. We feel very good we picked him at 15. I think he’s potentially a keeper piece and a piece you can build with.”

On Larry Drew‘s performance as the head coach so far: 

“I think Larry has done the best job he can do in a very difficult situation. When Larry came here as coach, we didn’t hire him and say, “Oh, by the way, we’re going to go through this rebuilding process.” Our hope was to have a competitive team, a playoff team. We made some moves in the off-season and we included Larry in those decisions. Signing Carlos, signing Zaza, signing O.J. Mayo, trading for (Luke Ridnour) and (Caron Butler), you make those moves because you’re trying to put a competitive team on the floor. That was the plan going into the season. It’s easy for me to sit here and talk about changing in midstream but very difficult for the coach when he’s on the floor facing it every night. I think he’s done an excellent job in a very difficult situation.”

On how the situations of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings turned out in addition to dealing for Knight: 

“Monta was unrestricted so (leaving) was his decision. Brandon was restricted (free agent). We had a decision to make there, to bring him back, to extend him, to have him come back and play the final year, or try to find an opportunity for ourselves we think could help us. And we made the move with Detroit and acquired Brandon Knight. Brandon has been very good for us. And I’m happy for Brandon Jennings. He’s playing well in Detroit. (Knight) is a man of outstanding character, an extremely hard worker. He’s still a young player, only 22 years old. I think he’s got plenty of time to continue to develop and grow as a player.”

On some veterans recently voicing their frustration and whether or not it’s a cause for concern: 

Look, I understand. I understand completely. You have guys nearing the end of their careers and they want to continue to play. You have other guys at the midpoint of their careers and they want to keep their value at a certain level. I hate the fact that some of them are going through that. But we’re not the only team in the league with these sorts of situations. It happens. It is important to have guys who want to be here and understand the process we’re going through. For the most part this season, I think the veterans, even though frustrated, have been supportive through the process.

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