Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Weekly Bucks Report!

The Weekly Bucks Report is published every Tuesday on CH...written by a certain individual known only as Two Name.

Anybody who has watched the Milwaukee Bucks this season can’t deny progress has been made since John Hammond and Scott Skiles took over. It’s definitely a new era for this franchise. In the spirit of turning the page on bad times and looking ahead to the good ones, let’s create some New Year’s resolutions for the Bucks that should help them continue to be one of the most improved teams in the NBA. Feel free to add to my incomplete list.
*Never again let Herb Kohl weigh in on personnel moves. After a year of Larry K (a prototype Kohl coach, i.e., cheap) and drafting an overrated player who didn’t want to be here (See Yi), Herbie should stay far, far away from Hammond and his front-office mates.
*Stop teasing your fans by earning eye-opening wins (the Bucks beat San Antonio this week on the road) and following it up with inexplicable losses (they lost to Charlotte Saturday after beating the Bobcats at home the night before by 28 points). Build some consistency and get above that .500 mark.
*Pick up a big man to back up Andrew Bogut. Dan Gadzuric and Francisco Elson are not long-term solutions if Bogut, who has been banged up all year, misses extended time. The Bucks would go in the tank if Bogut had to go on the DL.
*Don’t stop playing defense. Statistically, the Bucks have the fifth-best defense in the NBA. It’s hard to believe, I know, but no stat better explains why Milwaukee is in the playoff hunt.
*Don’t fall in love with the jump shot. Watching the Bucks live two weeks ago really showed me how much motion Skiles implements in his offense. The days of one player dribbling the ball for 10 seconds and then trying to make something happen with the shot clock winding down are over. That being said, the Bucks still get too comfortable with the jump shot and don’t take advantage of the opportunities that this type of offense generates.
*Survive January. Milwaukee has 15 more games in January, eight of them coming on back-to-back nights. Split these games and now we’re talking.
*Though it will never happen, lower ticket prices (Editor's Note: Ha!). I’m not talking about $10 nosebleed seats. If the Bucks want the fans to get on board like they did in 2001, it starts at the ticket window. The NBA is a hard sell as it is. Combine that with a rebuilding team and empty seats is the result.

Need Bogut back: I don’t think the Bucks would have lost to Charlotte in the rare home-and-away weekend set if Bogut wasn’t out with back spasms Saturday. He’s been hurt a lot this year, and when he’s out, defenses don’t have to respect the Bucks’ post offense. It’s no coincidence Mike Redd had a big night Friday against Charlotte and a not-so-big night Saturday. Perimeter defenses won’t collapse and double-team Gadzuric. They will do that to Bogut, which opens shots for Redd and crew.

Player of the week: Mike Redd scored 20 points or more in three of the Bucks’ four games this week. He single-handedly led Milwaukee to victory against Charlotte on Friday with 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting, 3 of 5 from three-point range.

This week: The Bucks’ first week of a busy January schedule has them hosting Philadelphia and New Jersey before heading to Minnesota and Washington. Let’s be honest, the Bucks should win all of these games. I don’t expect that to happen, but more than one loss against these D-League teams would be inexplicable.

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