The Nets end their homestand tonight with the Milwaukee Bucks, so we are going to treat you with the final (for now) Bloggers Talk by chatting with Jeremy Schmidt from the TrueHoop Bucks site, Bucksetball.
NAS: After a surprise start, the Milwaukee Bucks seem to be falling to the back of the pack in the East. What are your theories about the decline, and do the Bucks have the personnel to turn it around?
I watch every single Bucks game and I still can’t tell you whether or not the Bucks have the personnel to pull themselves out of the 5-15 tailspin they’re currently mired in. They don’t really have anyone on the team that can be expected to score 20 points a night, or even 15. There have been too many wild inconsistent swings on this team and not just from the role players. Andrew Bogut can finish one game 14-18 and then shoot 6-20 the next night. That’s the life of a big man with a finesse game, but not 15-foot jump-shot. Brandon Jennings hasn’t consistently made many shots since his quick start and has settled in as an under 40 percent playmaker, though he can occasionally carry the team for short spurts. And Michael Redd? Sigh. Who knows about him.
NAS: This could be related to question one. Does Michael Redd still have a role on this team?
Coach Scott Skiles is always saying all the Bucks need Redd to do is make open shots. Well, he hasn’t really been doing much of that, shooting 35 percent and less than 30 percent on three’s. Redd’s said that he’s not in basketball shape yet, and the only way he’ll get there is by playing, but he’s generally been more terrible than good when he’s been playing. But the Bucks don’t really have any other scoring options. Redd’s been a consistent scorer for the last six years and has offensive talents that no other Buck has. At least, we all assume that he still does, because there have been some games where we’ve seen flashes of those talents. Whether he’ll be able to stop flashing them and start using them consistently any time soon remains to be seen. Regardless, the Bucks are probably stuck with him, so they’ll have to keep trotting him out there hoping he figures it out.
NAS: Given their roster makeup, are the Bucks better off making a deal and competing for one of the bottom seeds in the Eastern Conference or taking their chances in the draft lottery?
I’m not sure a deal is necessary for the Bucks to grab a bottom two seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The franchise has placed a lot of importance on attempting to make the playoffs this year while not taking on any additional money for 2010 and beyond, so I don’t see them making any deals unless it’s for expiring contracts. Everyone wants them to make the playoffs. It’s hard to develop talent in losing situations, guys want to see some kind of light at the end of the tunnel sooner rather than later. So I think the playoffs are the first goal. That being said, the Bucks have movable pieces should they decide the playoffs are out of the question would be the expiring contracts of Luke Ridnour, Kurt Thomas, Hakim Warrick and the 2011 expiring Michael Redd. If the Bucks want to sell come trading deadline, they have some pieces playoff teams could be interested in for depth purposes.
NAS: Make the early case for Brandon Jennings winning the Rookie of the Year award:
I’ll be honest, Tyreke Evans is nuts. He’s 20-5-5 every night and that’s not easy to do. Jennings’ Bucks might be closer to a playoff spot, but that’s really just because the East is watered down. If Jennings can start hitting shots again, he could make it interesting, but it’s tough to make the case right now. That all being said, for a 6’1 160 pound point guard that didn’t go to college and supposedly couldn’t shoot, Jennings is doing just fine for himself. 19 points and six assists is nothing to sneeze at, especially when he’s playing the most difficult position to learn in the league.