There hasn’t been much to get excited about in Milwaukee since the Ray Allen-Glenn Robinson-Sam Cassell era more than a decade ago.
Now the Bucks are banking on the arrival of Jabari Parker to help turn around the franchise’s fortune.
Following Parker’s quiet debut on the road, Milwaukee fans will get their first in-person look at the Bucks’ future Friday night when the 19-year-old forward plays his first home game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bucks (0-1) have posted two winning seasons while failing to advance out of the first round of the playoffs since Allen, Robinson and Cassell led their last 50-win team to the conference finals in 2001.
After finishing a franchise-worst 15-67 last season, Milwaukee tabbed Parker as the undisputed face of its rebuilding effort by selecting him with the second overall pick in the June draft.
Parker didn’t get off to the start he hoped Wednesday after averaging 15.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in the preseason. He scored only eight on 3-of-9 shooting to go along with four boards in a 108-106 overtime loss at Charlotte.
"It was everything I expected, two great teams going down to the wire," said Parker, who played nearly 37 minutes. "The better team won but we’re going to get better."
Milwaukee blew a 24-point lead in the second half, with Kemba Walker hitting a tying 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left in regulation and a 21-footer with five seconds to go in overtime to cap the largest comeback in Charlotte’s history.
"Bad teams lose these types of games and this is something we are going to have to get over all year," said Jared Dudley, who hit a 3-pointer on his only field-goal attempt in 26 minutes.
Brandon Knight led Milwaukee with 22 points and 13 assists but missed 12 of 17 shots. The rest of the Bucks shot a combined 54.0 percent.
Milwaukee looks to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2010 with their seventh win in eight home meetings with the 76ers.
Philadelphia (0-1) selected Joel Embiid third overall after finishing just ahead of Milwaukee at 19-63, though the team’s center of the future could miss the entire season following offseason foot surgery.
Making matters worse, reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams isn’t expected to return to practice until next week following offseason shoulder surgery.
Tony Wroten, part of a starting lineup that was completely different from the one that opened last season, had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in Wednesday’s 103-91 loss at Indiana.
"We’re not worried about what’s on paper," Wroten told the NBA’s official website. "They put the ball out there for a reason, to play 48 minutes. Every game, we come out to play hard and try to win."
Nerlens Noel finished with six points on 2-of-11 shooting but grabbed a team-high 10 boards in his pro debut after missing all of last season with a torn ACL.
The 76ers, outscored 55-40 in the second half, haven’t lost their first two games since an 0-4 start in 2010.
They dropped two of three meetings with the Bucks last season.