The Weekly Bucks report is published every Monday or Tuesday during the NBA regular season. It is written by a man referred to as Two Name, who is loving the fact that the Bucks appear committed at times so far to running their offense through Mr. Andrew Bogut.
After watching the first four games for the 2008-2009 Milwaukee Bucks, one thing is clear: The team is progressing, but patience is required. The latest version of the Bucks can remind you of past teams one game and give you a glimpse of the future the next. I guess it makes sense then that the Bucks are 2-2 after Week 1.
The opener against Chicago looked like the team we’ve seen before. Too many jumpers, not enough defense and a predictable loss. Then you see a more focused team against Oklahoma City that actually is rotating on defense and putting forth the effort to get stops consistently. The Thunder helped the Bucks’ defensive cause by being absolutely terrible, but baby steps, people.
Toronto and Jose Calderon exposed the team’s obvious defensive weakness at the point-guard spot on Saturday, but the Bucks did play solid “D” late in the game to almost put together a nice comeback victory in front of the “raucous” crowd at the BC. On that note, the crowd was HORRIBLE! I’d say at least 50 percent of the upper deck was empty – and those tickets were $10. I actually felt out of place standing up and cheering, like I wasn’t supposed to be making noise or something. And one more thing: Anyone who saw the player introductions would agree it was laughable. The Bucks marketing staff had all offseason to think of a way to get the crowd involved during the intros, and they came up with having the players stand on a makeshift platform right next to the crowd. Players never even ran out of the tunnel. WTF?
The Bucks didn’t play a single formidable opponent through four games, so you can only deduce so much at this point. Some observations through the first four games …
Inside job: It’s obvious the Bucks are making an effort to get the ball inside to Andrew Bogut as a first option offensively. Foul trouble for Bogut led to the jump-shot fest against the Bulls, but he was a focal point in the next three games. He just needs to maintain his fast starts throughout the game and guys need to keep feeding him. He single handedly brought the Bucks back against Toronto with three straight buckets – over Chris Bosh – in the fourth quarter, and he drew a double team on the last possession where Mike Redd took a DESPERATION 3-pointer with 11 seconds left. (Isn’t that an oxymoron or something?) A note to Bogut, though: Practice your free throws. Horrific at the line! The whole team for that matter.
Unpredictable rotations: Skiles has made some interesting moves the first couple games in terms of who comes off the bench and who is logging all the minutes. Charlie V sits almost the entire opener against Chicago but is one of the primary contributors in the Bucks’ first win in Oklahoma City. Ramon Sessions doesn’t play at all the first two games, then starts Saturday when Luke Ridnour is inactive. Joe Alexander doesn’t play the first three games and then is one of the first – if not the first – guy off the bench against New York. Hmm …
Player of the week: Luc Mbah a Moute. Second-round picks rarely have this big of an impact this early. It’s clear Skiles loves this guy, and why not? He appears to have that natural awareness that many rookies simply don’t have during their first year in the league. Mbah a Moute’s value was evident Saturday against Toronto when the rookie (6-foot-8) guarded power forward Chris Bosh (6-foot-10) on one possession and moved over to guard point guard Jose Calderon (6-foot-3) on the subsequent. His versatility and willingness to guard anybody at any time is something this team has not had in a long time. By the way, check out his line from Sunday evening’s game against the woeful Knicks: 11 points (4-6 shooting), 10 boards and three assists.
This week: Tough week of games ahead. Bucks host Washington and Phoenix and travel to Beantown to face the Celtics. Could be a winless week, but they’ll beat the Wizards at home.
Side Note from Woz: Luc Mbah a Moute needs a nickname. Now. Throw up some good ones in the comment section and we'll start using it.