Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Weekly Bucks Report

The Weekly Bucks Report is posted every Tuesday on Chuckie Hacks. It's written by a man known in certain circles as Two Name. This week...he delves into "statistics." Yikes.

Rummaging through national coverage of the NBA rarely yields anything of interest to Bucks fans, but power rankings on ESPN.com caught my attention Sunday. I usually dismiss these rankings altogether, but John Hollinger at least uses a unique formula that looks beyond the standings. According to Hollinger’s rankings posted early Sunday, the Bucks were the 13th most powerful team in the Association. (Continue reading after your laughing has subsided). Editor's Note: the Bucks have actually moved up to 12th. With a 7-12 record, Milwaukee was ahead of Phoenix (11-6), Utah (11-7), and San Antonio (9-7). I don’t necessarily agree with these rankings, but the reason the Bucks are ranked that high is their strength of schedule.
According to Sunday’s rankings, the combined record of Milwaukee’s first 19 opponents was .564. The only team ranked higher than the Bucks with a tougher schedule was No. 11 Indiana. The Pacers are 6-10, so Hollinger obviously puts a lot of stock in that statistic or the Bucks and Pacers wouldn’t sniff the top-15.
It’s easy to look at the boxscores or standings and say the Bucks are terrible and headed for another disappointing campaign. That very well could be the case, but it’s tough to judge a team that has not been at full strength since the first week of the season. And, as Hollinger points out, Milwaukee has played some quality competition, with most of those games coming on the road.
Unlike the last couple years, the Bucks seem to be in every game. A perfect example came Saturday night, when Cleveland led by 16 at one point. The Bucks fought back and eventually lost to a superior team, but it was encouraging. I know, moral victories are meaningless. But if the Bucks get healthy and the schedule begins to balance out, so will the team’s record.

Bogut a big loss: Andrew Bogut was off to the best start of his career against Orlando on Monday night before he suffered a bruised knee taking a charge against Dwight Howard. Bogut scored 16 points in the first half and sent Howard to the bench with three early fouls. Unfortunately, Bogut’s willingness to take charges proved costly. I have to think the Bucks would have beaten Atlanta with their center in the lineup. Plus, the Cavs owned Milwaukee on the glass (53 boards to 38), which would not have happened with Bogut on the floor. He is supposedly out 7-10 days, but I doubt he will be back before the Bucks play the Lakers Sunday.

Player of the week: Richard Jefferson averaged an efficient 22.5 ppg in four games this week, shooting a solid 53 percent from the field. Jefferson needs to get more touches offensively, especially with Bogut out and Mike Redd shedding the rust from his ankle injury.

This week: The Bucks finally get a couple home games, as Chicago and Charlotte visit the BC Wednesday and Friday, respectively. Milwaukee then travels to L.A. to get pounded by the best team in basketball. Bucks go 2-1 this week.

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