After being a relatively non-existent team for the last couple of years, the Milwaukee Bucks came out of nowhere last season to surprise everybody by making it to the playoffs and forcing Atlanta to a seven-game series without center Andrew Bogut. They eventually lost to Atlanta but that experience will go a long way with them this season. During the offseason, Bucks GM John Hammond spent a lot of time trying to add depth to his roster so that they can climb up the Eastern Conference ladder even more than last year. He was able to re-sign John Salmons to a five-year deal, trade for veteran Corey Maggette for next to nothing, and sign the nomadic Drew Gooden, who shunned the Bucks last season because he didn’t think they were a playoff team.
Drew Gooden joined ESPN Radio Milwaukee to talk about what was special about Milwaukee that made him want to sign with them and spend the next part of his career there, how much of the Bucks’ success from last year played into his decision to play in Milwaukee, and what he thinks about the point guard/big man combination in Milwaukee.
How long it is going to take for the team to gel with all of the new players:
“It is the same questions every year at Media Day. For me, I’ve experienced having an opportunity being on other teams and other guys and teams that I was the first guy, the new guy there and teams where it was 5,6 new guys here which is similar to our situation here. I think training camp and preseason is very vital for our team because of the new faces and we want to keep the same caliber and the style of play that they did last year and was successful to work with.”
What was special about Milwaukee that made him want to sign with them and spend the next part of his career there:
“Well, $32 million. I’m joking. I’m joking. I wanted the opportunity and I was glad and I was blessed to have the opportunity. Mr. Hammonds and Coach Skiles they have been trying to get me here for the last couple of years through a couple of trade deadlines. It is something that I really felt wanted. It is a comfort zone that I am coming into where I can finally grasp the situation and say, ‘You know what, I am a Buck. I might not be a Buck but I am a Buck.’ Like I said, the comfort level is there and I am blessed,”
How much of the Bucks’ success from last year played into his decision to play in Milwaukee:
“I think it played a lot into it because I was sitting in free agency last year and the Bucks were one of the teams in contact with me and I just kind of had wet feet. I didn’t know if it was the right situation. I didn’t know if it was going to be a winning situation and the right situation at the time in my career. So I chose to go to Dallas where there were more veterans and more of a chance in winning but when I went to Dallas and saw what the makeup of the team and what the team was doing and what they were producing, I said, ‘Hey, that wouldn’t have been a bad choice either going there because these guys are playing hard and they are winning.’ To see them go to the playoffs and did what they did and them to come back and it was fortunate for me for them to still have interest in me and this looks like a boat that I can jump on.”
What he thinks about the point guard/big man combination in Milwaukee:
“That is huge and he still has got a lot of years left on him. One thing playing with Jason Kidd and Dirk, these guys are older than me and now Brandon and Drew are probably looking at me like I am 40 years old. It is just good to have those two guys out there and they have some youthfulness to them left and that is always big.”