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Thursday, July 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 78.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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SPORTS

Do Jabari Parker and Jason Kidd offer hope for the hapless Milwaukee Bucks?


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It's not necessarily a good sign that the Milwaukee Bucks have been a far more engrossing franchise in the past few weeks than they were during the previous regular season.

First came the sale of the team to hedge-fund billionaires Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, which was announced immediately after the Bucks finished their worst year in franchise history. Then they made an impressive splash in the NBA draft last Thursday, selecting Jabari Parker of Duke with the second pick. Parker is already drawing talk of being the league's rookie of the year next season, and he charmed Bucks fans (who still exist, presumably) by promising that Milwaukee is where he wants to play.

These are the Bucks, however, so the Parker era of good feeling lasted less than four days. On Monday, the new owners hired Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd, apparently without telling anyone else in the Bucks' organization, including general manager John Hammond or now ex-coach Larry Drew. Kidd reportedly wanted greater control of the Nets and immediately shopped himself to Milwaukee when management rebuffed him. It didn't hurt Kidd's prospects that he and Lasry are friends.

Reaction from America's morally upright brigade of sports columnists was brutal and predictable. Milwaukee's new coach was portrayed as a power-hungry jerk by Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News. "Kidd needs to Buck off," he wrote. Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com called Lasry a meddler and "one of those guys. The kind who thinks he's smarter than everyone else."

Of course, no one cares what sportswriters think, and memories of the Kidd mess will fade quickly. With few exceptions, the NBA remains a players' league anyway, so the real story is Parker. He became the first freshman in Duke's storied history to lead the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding, and if Kidd can persuade him to play defense, Parker could become the cornerstone of a team fans finally care about again.

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