The Weekly Bucks Report is posted on CH generally on Mondays or Tuesdays. This week Two Name takes a look back at the 08-09 year, which is basically over.
As the Bucks’ 2008-2009 campaign painfully winds down, it’s a good time to take a look back at Milwaukee’s offseason moves and assess the impact they had this season and for the future.
Hindsight is always 20-20, but I’m interested to hear how you guys judge a few of the moves during John Hammond’s first year as director of basketball operations. Hammond was busy, whether it was his first draft, trades, or free-agent acquisitions. Obviously, the season has not gone according to plan – mostly due to injuries – but let’s look at what Hammond did before things got underway in late October.
The Draft: Hammond used the eighth pick to select Joe Alexander. It’s hard to judge Alexander at this point because he is a project. The Bucks knew he wouldn’t contribute much this year, and he didn’t do much to justify his draft status. That being said, you did see some of the athleticism that attracted Hammond to the rookie last June.
The one thing I’m not sold on is his defensive ability. The Bucks claimed he could play either forward positions and hold his own. He’s so scatter-brained on defense, and I don’t see any signs of being a premier defender. If a guy as much as raises his eyebrows, Alexander jumps out of his shoes trying to block a shot. Again, he hasn’t had much time to develop his game outside of practice. So, the Alexander pick would garner an incomplete grade in my book.
Hammond did hit a home run with the Fresh Prince, however. Luc Richard easily was the Bucks’ best defender this year, and his offensive game will develop with time. Hammond definitely earns an “A” with this pick, and I’m excited for his future.
Trades: The big trade was acquiring Richard Jefferson for Yi and Bobby Simmons. Let me start by saying getting rid of Simmons made this deal worth it, regardless of how good Yi will become. I was never sold on Yi as a viable starter in the Association, and he never wanted to be in Milwaukee in the first place. The financial gain of doing this deal was the best part of the move. Larry Harris did not know how to manage a salary cap, and the Simmons deal was evidence of that fact.
Now, Jefferson did disappoint me this year. I think he took a backseat to Redd and Bogut early on, not playing his aggressive, slashing style. He picked it up after those two got injured, but he definitely looked a step slower than he has the last couple years in New Jersey. The trade gets a “B” in my book. Jefferson $15 million is going to hurt next year, but I think he will be a solid contributor for the duration of his time in Milwaukee. This is a “B” trade for me.
The other big trade for Milwaukee was getting rid of Mo Williams and getting Luke Ridnour to run the point. I always thought this simply was a move to make way for Ramon Sessions, and that appears to be the case as the season is winding down. Sessions has showed flashes of greatness this season at time, but has struggled as of late. Yet he continues to start and should the rest of the season. I think Sessions is Milwaukee’s point guard of the future, and getting rid of Mo was a necessity for that progression to get underway.
Ridnour was who I thought he was going to be this year. Nothing special. Solid player. I was never a big Mo fan, so this trade is another “B” in my book, simply because Sessions has impressed me enough to justify the move.
Free-agent acquisitions: Francisco Elson, Malik Allen, Keith Bogans and Damon Jones were some of the guys Hammond brought in off the street (Bogans and Jones during the season). None of these guys had real impact. Allen was OK before getting injured. Elson is just a guy, despite appearing to be more than that when he played in San Antonio. I guess the Spurs’ system makes anyone look good. (See Roger Mason this year). These pick-ups really didn’t cost the Bucks anything. I’ll give Hammond a “D” grade for these moves collectively.
What do you guys think of the offseason moves now that the season is coming to an end and you have had a chance to assess their impact?
Rough week: The Bucks had a rough week, building on their five-game losing streak. It’s not going to get any better, with the Lakers on the schedule this week. I really haven’t paid too close attention as of late. It’s becoming painful to watch.
Player of the week: Why not give it to Danny G. after his 18-point, 12-rebound performance Saturday against the Heat?
This week: The Bucks host L.A., head to Philly and host Memphis this week. I see the losing streak coming to an end Saturday versus the Grizz.