Late last week, Philadelphia basketball product and treasured good citizen Hakim Warrick turned down an offer from the 76ers to sign with the Milwaukee Bucks. At first glance, the disappointing news of Warrick’s decision was a head scratcher for many in Philadunkia nation. After all, while the 76ers aren’t exactly going to contend for the NBA title this year, the Sixers are a hell of a lot better then the mess that is the Milwaukee Bucks. Additionally, why would anyone choose to live in Milwaukee over Philadelphia, especially if you are from Philly?
Philadunkia’s Jeff McMenamin caught up with Warrick to get some answers and restore order to the universe. In the end, we belive you won’t be able to fault Warrick for his thinking.
Here are a couple comments Warrick gave our Jeff McMenamin on his decision to sign with Milwaukee…
Q : How much love do you have for the city of Philadelphia, the town where you were born and raised?
Warrick : I’ve got a lot of love for the city. Just with the good tradition of basketball and it’s where I developed my game. I think I got most of my skills from watching some of the older players that grew up in the area.
Q : But you chose not to sign with the Sixers and to go to Milwaukee. Why did you decide to jump to the Bucks instead of Sixers?
Warrick : It was a tough decision. Philadelphia came and offered me an opportunity to play for my hometown and it was definitely a tough decision but I just felt like I would have a better opportunity to play in Milwaukee. I think that the style in which the Bucks play is better fit for me .
If you analyze Warrick’s situation a little deeper and without your red, white and blue Sixers shades, you’ll see that it was the smart move for Warrick. In Philly he would have been fighting for minutes with Jason Smith and Marreese Speights for the privilege of backing up Elton Brand, Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala in the Sixers rotation at the two forward spots.
Warrick just spent the last season and a half unjustly fighting for minutes off the Memphis bench and it’s our opinion that he did not enjoy the experience very much. He commented to our Jeff McMenamin that going to Milwaukee “it’s kind of like a fresh start.” Anytime a player says that going to the Milwaukee Bucks is a “fresh start” you know the situation that player just left was a mess. According to everyone that’s exactly what the Grizzilies are, a mess.
In Milwaukee, Warrick will start at either the small and power forward spot the moment he steps out of the locker room. In the past, when Warrick has been given the chance to start and play significant minutes, he has produced. In 2006-07 Warrick started 43 games for Memphis and averaged over 26 minutes a game. The results were career high numbers across the stat sheet — 12.7 ppg. and 5.1 rpg as well as shooting 52% from the field and 77% from the line. In 2007-08 Warrick started 13 less games (30) and in 2008-09 he only started seven times. In both seasons his numbers finished below the career stat line he put up back in ’06-07.
Warrick and his agent must be thinking, as any smart player and his well paid agent should be, that if he can get start for two years in Milwaukee and post some solid to great numbers, that they’ll be able to parlay those stats into a big payday when Warrick is a free agent again during the summer of 2011.
We can’t fault a local kid for looking out for his future by recognizing that he’ll see a ton more tick in Milwaukee and that those minutes could lead to a nice, fat long term NBA contract down the road.
So we’ll get over our disappointment and simply say, “Good luck Hakim.”