(That’s right Mark! I see your dunking Raptor and raise you a dunking SuperBuck…)
Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Last Year’s Record: 34-48 (5th, Central Division)
Head Coach: Scott Skiles
Comings: Hakim Warrick, Carlos Delfino, Kurt Thomas, Walter Sharpe, Roko Ukic, Brandon Jennings (No. 10), Jodie Meeks (No. 41)
Goings: Ramon Sessions, Charlie Villanueva, Malik Allen, Richard Jefferson, Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems, Bruce Bowen, Salim Stoudamire
Blogger Thoughts – Jeremy Schmidt – Bucksketball.com
“In yet another rebuilding year the Bucks seem to have taken it more serious this time. Dumping key players from last year Richard Jefferson, Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions in order to get their financial house in order was drastic … and not so well received. But the Bucks felt like they had to do what they had to do. With them gone the Bucks now boast one of their deepest squads in years. New Bucks Ersan Ilyasova (kind of new at least), Kurt Thomas and Hakim Warrick will battle for minutes at the power forward spot next to seemingly healed center Andrew Bogut. Rookie point guard Brandon Jennings will either sit and wait (not so) patiently behind Luke Ridnour or take over for the veteran. Michael Redd is back again at the two guard and standout defender Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will likely hold down the small forward spot. It’s likely the Bucks will be better than you’ve been hearing, but it’s unlikely they’ll be very good unless Brandon Jennings is much better than advertised and Bogut and Redd are much healthier this year than they were last year.”
Thoughts on the Nets
“They aren’t likely to be much better than the Bucks from what I can see. Bobby Simmons? Been there, done that. Courtney Lee, the awesome Devin Harris and Brook Lopez are interesting, but I think giving up Ryan Anderson in the VC trade was damaging. I specifically remember him coming to the Bradley Center and lighting the Bucks up last year. When the Nets play the Bucks this year it’ll likely be a battle that A. no one watches and B. will be talked about as a battle of rebuilding teams. With the aforementioned trio of youngsters I think the Nets are ahead in that battle.”
Comparing the Starters:
Starting PG – Luke Ridnour (9.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 12.95 PER) vs. Devin Harris (21.3 ppg, 6.9 apg, 21.65 PER):
I am assuming Luke will start the season as PG. Luke Ridnour is a true point guard; he had a high assist rate, but struggled shooting the ball. He was 15th in assist ratio, 16th in pure point rating and 14th among point guards in steals per minute. He shot 35 percent on 3s and had the league’s second-worst mark on shots in the immediate basket area. He is a poor on the ball defender, but is a good off the ball defender and is able to jump passing lanes, which is why his gets a fair amount of steals, despite not being able to stay in front of quicker points.
Nets. You gotta go with Devin here. Luke Ridnour is your general run of the mill point guard, while Devin is a an all-star. Despite being a true pass first point, Devin still gets more assists than Ridnour, so he doesn’t even have that going for him.
Starting SG – Michael Redd (21.2 ppg, 2.7 apg, 17.97 PER) vs. Courtney Lee (8.4 ppg, 1.2 apg, 10.78 PER):
I love Michael Redd. He has the smoothest stroke in the league in my opinion. His quick release allows him to get his shot off in almost any situation. Redd ranked 16th among shooting guards in TS percentage, plus he took care of the basketball. He had the sixth-best Turnover Rate at his position. On defense, he isn’t the best, but he does put in the effort. He is also coming off an knee injury that only allowed him to play 33 games this year.
Bucks. If Redd is completely healed, or at least enough to play, he is more effective on the offensive end, and no matter how much better Lee is on the defensive end, it doesn’t make up for how good Redd is offensively. He is a terrific shooter, that when healthy, he is one of the best offensive players in the game.
Starting SF – Joe Alexander (4.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 10.19 PER) vs. Jarvis Hayes (8.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 10.85 PER):
Joe Alexander was one of the more athletic rookies in the NBA last year. That is what helped him become seventh among small forwards in offensive-rebound rate and second in blocks per minute. However, these two stats were the only real positive. Alexander ranked 60th out of 63 small forwards in both turnover rate and pure point rating because he seems to attack the basket out of control. At the defensive end, he committed 5.98 fouls per 40 minutes. That was the most of any perimeter player and more than all but three of the league’s power forwards.
Bucks. This might be the closest battle Jarvis has during these previews, but I still give the edge to Joe Alexander. Mainly because of his his offensive rebounding, but also, it is because Joe has the potential to be better, meanwhile Jarvis is what he is.
Starting PF – Hakim Warrick (11.6 ppg, 5 rpg, 16.91 PER) vs. Yi Jianlian (8.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 10.98 PER):
Warrick quietly had a solid season in Memphis despite not really getting the time that his talent deserved. Warrick’s quickness and athletic ability allows him to draw a good number of fouls. In fact, Warrick ranked third among power forwards in free-throw attempts per field-goal attempt.
Bucks. Being a smaller, quicker, and more athletic PF Warrick has his troubles when running into bigger and stronger PFs. Even with Yi’s newfound strength, he hasn’t really proved he can use it appropriately (by posting up successfully) yet. Maybe next season this goes the other way.
Starting C – Andrew Bogut (11.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 16.21 PER) vs. Brook Lopez (13.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 17.94 PER):
Bogut struggled with injury last year, but before he got hurt Bogut was having another successful year. He was eighth among centers in rebound rate, while his 57.7 percent shooting established a new career high. He doesn’t really have a good feel for posting up though, and that can be proved by his turnover rate of 16.6 which ranked 59th among the league’s 67 centers. His back should be fully healed going into the season.
Even. This is a bit of a sell-out because I don’t really know who to choose here. If Bogut is healthy, he is a terrific rebounder and inside scorer, which is exactly what Brook Lopez excels as. Bogut is a slightly better offensive rebounder, but Brook is a better defender, so I call it a wash. This is probably going to be the match-up to watch when these two teams meet.
The Bucks are pretty deep when it comes to guards. They got Carlos Delfino, Brandon Jennings, and Charlie Bell all productive players, and should really help the second unit pack an offensive punch. Where this bench seems to be lacking though is the forwards and centers. I mean you got Dan Gadzuric, Francisco Elson, and Kurt Thomas (who is in his 14th year).
Nets. This is a slight edge, and I was really thinking about calling this one even. The way I see it, the Nets have more serviceable guards at their disposal in CDR/Rafer/T-Will and Dooling. Plus I like the Nets bigs more than I like the Bucks bigs.