Teams may struggle to find the magic bullet
For many people, the professional sports year starts and ends at the Super Bowl.
I'm one of those people. We have gone through the NBA, baseball and the football season. Now, it's time to start over again.
I'm also a fan of a maxim that says "To every complex problem there is a single answer and it is always wrong."
The concept behind that, of course, is that when somebody suggests they have a silver bullet to solve some problem that bullet will prove inadequate. Education reform, for example. Many people say that parental involvement will solve the problems and it's just not true. Not alone.
Sometimes, however, in the world of sports it's fun to play the "all we need" game. What's the one thing that Wisconsin professional sports teams need to get better?
It's like a great dream – you wake up in the morning and your favorite sports team has added that magic element that turns it into a serious contender.
Let's start with the Milwaukee Bucks, my favorite pro team in the state.
It would be easy to put a new arena at the top of the list, something that would increase revenue and presumably allow the Bucks to better compete for players. But I'd rather focus on the actual operation of the team.
For decades it seems, people have claimed that the one thing the Bucks needed was to get a rough and tumble power forward. Just get someone who can bang around and get rebounds and play tough defense and everything will be all right.
I think that is one of the things, but, remember, we are looking for just one move that guarantees big improvement.
For the Bucks it's a takeover player. A guy who can take over a game, control his team, dictate a tempo, make the huge shot, steal the crucial ball, shut down the opponent. This player is a star, of course, but much more than just a star. He's a player the other guys look to, the one the fans rally behind, the one opponents focus on. That kind of player makes everyone much better, and a player like that, regardless of position, could drastically improve the Bucks.
Let's turn our attention to our baseball team, the Brewers of Milwaukee. It's tempting to wish for good health, but that seems to be the province of the gods, not of general managers or owners.
Someone consistent to hit behind and protect Ryan Braun is a thought as well as a great starting pitcher. Maybe a new manager. But none of those make the cut for me.
In my dream lineup, the Brewers have a Mariano River on their team. Nobody is going to be as great as the Yankees' reliever, but the Brewers need someone they can count on for more than one year. They keep thinking they have the guy, John Axford comes to mind, but they are always disappointed.
A great starting pitcher can get you a win every four or five days. A great relief pitcher can preserve victories much more frequently than that. A special relief pitcher who earns long-term confidence, who can be counted on every time he takes the mound, and when he rarely has a bad day you don't wonder if he'll ever save a game again.
And finally, the Green Bay Packers.
This is a team without any huge holes. I'm tempted to look at the offensive line because I believe a stable and skilled offensive line is a key to long-term success in the NFL.
But with skilled offensive players, including Aaron Rodgers, the Packers can cover for any weak spots in the line.
I'm tempted to ask for a shut-down cornerback or a missile of a strong safety. But they don't make my cut, either.
I think the one thing that would make the Packers even better than they are is a defensive linemen who can put pressure on the quarterback. It's obvious that pressure from a lineman helps disrupt an opposing offense. But a great rushing lineman also makes it easier for the linebackers to be effective and for the defensive coordinator to be more creative in developing packages.
That's my magic bullet list. As I said, there is no such thing, but if there was, what's better than this list?
The Bucks need a new owner, a new arena and a player on the level of Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, etc to be relevant once again. Unfortunately that means bottoming out for a few years and accumulating draft picks and hoping to strike it rich with luck in the lottery. And you also must have a shrewd GM to build a team if that opportunity presents itself as the window can be extremely small for a team like Milwaukee. I have limited hope that all this is possible in my lifetime. But it happened with the Brewers so why not the Bucks?
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