ST. FRANCIS, Wis. (AP) Sporting a sleek gray suit and high-top sneakers while carrying a garment bag over his shoulder, Jason Kidd was in a rush as he arrived at the training facility.
There is so much to do when it comes to rebuilding the Milwaukee Bucks.
Under new ownership and boasting a new star in rookie forward Jabari Parker, the Bucks have nevertheless cautioned that the rebuilding process will take time.
The team is young. The franchise hasn't won a playoff series since 2001 - not exactly the kind of pedigree that lends itself to becoming an NBA destination.
''I think the destination comes with winning. You can look at Utah - nothing against Utah; I've never lived in Utah. Winning helps - Stockton, Malone - people wanted to go there because it was winning,'' Kidd said, referring to retired stars John Stockton and Karl Malone.
Winning was in short supply during Milwaukee's franchise-worst 67-loss season. New owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens fired Larry Drew in the offseason and brought in Kidd, who had a messy split after his one year as coach for the Brooklyn Nets.
Since training camp started more than a week ago, the talk in Bucks camp has been about getting Kidd's system down and trying out different combinations on the floor. With a core of Parker and fellow 19-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo to go with 22-year-old guard Brandon Knight, the young Bucks seemed destined to run.
And that's exactly what they did in the preseason opener Wednesday in Green Bay, an 86-83 win over Memphis. The Bucks' top players rallied in the fourth quarter from a 15-point deficit against a young and unproven Grizzlies lineup, with Memphis electing to rest its starters.
Still, this is a good start for Milwaukee after so much losing last year.
''I think we definitely want to be that team that other teams look at and say, `Dang, we've really got to work tonight,''' center Larry Sanders said. ''When it gets late in the season ... hopefully our legs, it will be long enough to keep pushing, keep running.''
Playing up-tempo is one way for Milwaukee to distinguish itself in the Eastern Conference as a team not expected to be a playoff contender. While everyone in the franchise seems optimistic, the Bucks are also trying to temper expectations.
Kidd, though, has had success in underdog situations as an NBA point guard. Most notably, he arrived with the then-New Jersey Nets in 2001 after getting traded from Phoenix. Back then, the Knicks clearly dominated the New York market.
He helped turn a Nets franchise he called last year ''bottom of the barrel'' and a ''laughingstock'' into one that would reach consecutive NBA Finals and become a consistent winner in the Eastern Conference.
Now it's 2014 in Milwaukee. He said his family loves the Milwaukee area and has enjoyed the transition to the Midwest.
Among some visiting NBA players, the city might be known more as a wintry stop. It's just 90 minutes north of Chicago, where Kidd is very familiar with the Bulls' history of success.
Kidd hopes to change the perception.
''Yeah, those are all things that I can talk about, that Chicago has a stronghold in this area, since they've won championships. They've been contenders. They're always in the top four in the East,'' Kidd said in a recent interview at the Bucks' training facility.
''I think that role is fine by me, and it'll be fine by the guys. For us, we're starting at the bottom and we have to work our way up the mountain,'' Kidd said. ''And it's not always going to be easy climbing it.''
Kidd said he hates to lose. He is motivated by ''putting guys in position to be successful,'' which makes sense given he's not too far removed from his point guard days.
''In training camp we talked about sharing the ball,'' Kidd said in Green Bay. ''We're a big believer that (if) multiple guys touch it, something good will happen.''
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