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NBA Season Preview: Milwaukee Bucks

Sep 26, 2012, 2:01 PM EST

Milwaukee Bucks' Ersan Ilyasova   goes up for a shot against Toronto Raptors' Alan Anderson during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Milwaukee Wisconsin Reuters

Last season: Abort the mission! New plan! New plan!

The Bucks slammed on the parking brake, wrenched the wheel and Tokyo Drifted in a new direction last season, abandoning the “all defense all the time” team built around Andrew Bogut and giving p on the fleeting hope Bogut will ever, ever be healthy. They swapped him to Golden State for Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh, getting a promising young big man with great advanced metrics and, you know, Monta Ellis.

The results were mixed. They almost made it into the playoffs before their wheels exploded and flew off into the Wisconsin countryside, and while their defense didn’t capitulate with Ellis, their offense continued to run into the gutter.

They limped their way out of a playoff spot and entered the offseason with a huge number of questions about their head coach, front office, and the direction of the franchise.

Key Departures: The Bucks kind of surprisingly traded Jon Leuer, after he’d had a pretty solid year. They also traded Shaun Livingston, who, again, was pretty good last year. They let Carlos Delfino go after hemming and hawing over his contract for three months.

Key Additions: When the Bucks drafted John Henson, it was largely a perplexing move. Another athletic big man with questionable post skills? Really? Really? That’s what you thought you should pull off the pile?

But then Summer League came and Henson showed off a better mid-range jumper than expected and a good ability to flow in the offense. He has great court awareness to go with all that athleticism and could see significant playing time.

They elected to trade for Samuel Dalembert, pushing Udoh, who honestly needs the minutes, to the bench and giving them approximately all of the big men, ever. They added Joel Przybilla just in case the other 1,700 of them fail out, and-re-signed Ersan Ilyasova for the offensive repertoire.

Doron Lamb was quietly a very good second round pickup.

Three keys to the Bucks season:
1) Solving the riddle wrapped in a puzzle disguised as a mystery covered in subterfuge that is Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. The two are just too similar. Ball-dominant, low-playmaking, moderate-efficiency volume scorers who didn’t develop an immediate chemistry. Sometimes these things can work themselves out, but in a lot of cases, it’s evident from the start if it’s going to work. If this thing doesn’t get solved and start to work by January, it might be time to start thinking about another move in another direction. The two were -1.9 on the floor together last year, giving up 107.7 points per 100 possessions. That is not good. They can’t just raise the 105 offensive rating, they have to get the defense sorted out. The Bucks could be looking at a situation not dissimilar to what the Knicks face with Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.

2) Get the young guys to make some noise. Ekpe Udoh and John Henson need to become the Milwuakee version of Gibson and Asik. Or maybe the more athletic version of that. Either way, they need to make an impact, because the Bucks can’t look at their long-term build as involving Sam Dalembert. Doron Lamb needs to add some value as a shooter. Tobias Harris needs to come up. They need some big jumps from the project guys.

3) Avoid the Skiles Effect. When Skiles takes over a team, there’s a clock that starts. It’s a countdown to when the team tunes him out. It’s happened in his previous stops, and it very well could happen again. If Skiles can manage to massage, not render, the best out of this team, they could very well be a playoff team. But if he loses them, the season, the roster, his job and John Hammond’s will likely be over in Milwaukee.

How it likely works out: I want to belive in Milwaukee. They deserve it, honestly, they do. They’ve had more than their fair share of bad luck and still haven’t been horrible over the past decade. We blame luck on a lot of the awful franchises, but the Bucks have somehow managed to deal with Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut’s injuries and still float within range of the last playoff spot.

And this team has talent. And it’s got a lot of good efficient things going for it. But it needs so many players to make such huge jumps and for Jennings-Ellis to magically solve itself. That simply may not be possible.

I loathe this, but it really looks like another 9th spot in the East year for the Bucks.

Prediction: 40-42. Is there any better representation of “almost… but not quite?”

  1. 00maltliquor - Sep 26, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    They got a ton of nice pieces me thinks. But they got soooo many bigs that need to get big minutes, they should trade one or two of them to get a legit SF. I see them at that 8 and final spot, batteling with ATL and WAS tooth and nail ’till the bitter end.

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 26, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      *And CHI, even without Rose. Thibbs is one HELLUVA coach.

  2. paulhargis53 - Sep 26, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Wow, malt. Great insight. Basically what the author of the article said. There is no law that says you have to post. Maybe you should just read?!

    They’ll be sellers at the deadline. Ellis for sure and Jennings Possibly.

    • ufullpj - Sep 26, 2012 at 9:58 PM

      Dude, a little harsh, possibly dickish, don’t you think?

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 27, 2012 at 3:25 AM

      Really? That’s kinda cool to know considering I didn’t read the article except for the “how it likely works out” section at the end like I have been doing with the last 4 teams. Maybe I should apply to PBT since I apparently know my stuff.

      You know, there is no law that says you have to troll. Although I kinda like seeing you on here getting all up in arms about Laker matters and what others like myself have to say on here. Getting you all riled up is like shooting fish in a barrel! Way. Too. Easy.

  3. mungman69 - Sep 26, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    This team will have NO assists. Don’t need the 24 second clock.

  4. nycalldayz - Sep 26, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    I see the Bucks fighting for an 8th seed or just a 9th seed.

  5. paulhargis53 - Sep 27, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    Malt: Nah, you didn’t read the article at all, what bs. Damn near everything you post is a regurgitation of either the article or something someone else posted.
    You don’t have an original thought in your head.
    You give yourself far too much credit, my idiotic friend, you don’t have me riled up one iota. I troll idiots like you because your ignorant and its fun helping you look stupid. Actually I’m just helping to emphasize it. You do a splendid job of looking stupid all on your own.

    Nice to see you recycled the fish in a barrel quote I used on you in another thread. Just another example of unoriginality from you.
    You’re clownshoes, dude.
    Shouldn’t you get back to cleaning bathrooms?

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 27, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      LMFAO!! You mad, huh! loooool! You can tell I hit a button with you! Dunce!

      And yeah, sometimes I do that, I see an article, hit go to comments and bypass the article alltogether. I like the convo between the regulars more then I do the actual articles most of the time. Don’t hate on me meja, you know you wish you had bball knowledge like me!

    • Colin - Sep 28, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      I love how your analysis of his post is like 3 times longer than the post itself. Nice work.

  6. dysraw1 - Sep 27, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    that dude is a trip but anyway this Bucks team is gonna catch hell from CLEV. TOR, WASH. and maybe the Bulls all teams i think will be pushing for the final spot

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