State of the Bucks – Week 5
State of the Bucks – A Weekly Review and Preview of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Previous and Upcoming Weeks
Last Week’s Results:
@ Philadelphia, Lost 90-79
vs. Oklahoma City, Lost 82-81
Last week the Milwaukee Bucks reached the .500 mark. That was before a 3 game losing streak that will hopefully be coming to a quick end. There is only one more week remaining until December 1st, the retirement of the term “it’s still early.” One week from today, fans will know if the ship is starting to stabilize itself, or if they should quietly look for something that can float because we’re taking on water.
No, we are not recommending you bail on this team. If you’ve held your head high during the Bucks’ dark 2000′s, proudly call yourself a true fan. But after so much disappointment in the last decade, it’s understandable to be VERY cautious with this franchise.
Let’s hope we can call the loss to the Philadelphia 76ers the “worst loss of the season.” Every team in every sport has a “WLOTS.” If this one was Milwaukee’s, at least it came early. But yes, that was an incredibly ugly loss, one that hopefully sat on their minds for these 3 days off, frustrating them and motivating them to something better.
Say what you will about losing to the Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder, they are still a good basketball team. The Bucks held their own on defense against a solid offense. Milwaukee has a glaring problem on their own offense, and it begins with the most fundamental of all basketball moves – the pass. A good passing offense keeps the opposing defense off-balance, limits the turnovers they give up, racks up tons of assists, and always has high-percentage shots open, whether they make them or not. Milwaukee has done none of these things well on a regular basis. More on this later.
Player of the Week:
Writer BigSnakeMan at Pocket Doppler pointed out that Drew Gooden has been near the top of consistency in the last few games. In the last 2 weeks, Gooden has averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds per game. His minutes per game have slowly gone up, as head coach Scott Skiles rewards effort with playing time. With that increase in playing time, Gooden has kept his turnovers down while hitting 45% of his shots. These are absolutely all the things that the rest of the team has struggled with during that same span.
Other Standout Players:
Why force it, right? No one else really qualifies for this spot. Let’s hope for a turn of fortune for next week.
Highlights of the Week:
During the 3 game losing streak, the Bucks have out-rebounded the Lakers, 76ers and Thunder by 15 total boards. That’s something to keep as a bright spot. If you collect more rebounds than your opponent in 100 games, you’ll win 60-70 of them with that statistic alone. Milwaukee is 4th in the NBA in rebounds, and they cannot lose focus on that.
Disappointment of the Week:
Sure, you can say that winning is never easy on the road. That’s the only excuse to make up about the loss to Philly. They were 2-10 at the time and missing their best player in Andre Iguodala. Their bench outscored Milwaukee’s, Andrew Bogut only had 4 points, and everyone (besides Gooden) was just flat in their performance.
This Week’s Games:
Wednesday Nov 24th, @ Cleveland
Friday Nov 26th, @ Detroit
Saturday Nov 27th, vs. Charlotte
Monday Nov 29th, @ Utah
Ahh, next week. Another Wednesday, another “State of the Bucks”, and another chance for the Milwaukee Bucks to really prove themselves.
This Bucks team is about to blow up. Will that be good or bad? Ask the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday morning. Either the Bucks early season woes will culminate in an explosion of offensive and defensive intensity that has been lacking the first 11 games, or the resulting implosion will lead to a shift in the Bucks’ lineup that will permanently affect the rest of the season. The next 3 opponents have a total record of 15-21. Those teams should provide a chance for Milwaukee to refocus themselves.
Things to Watch For:
Division games are always a little tougher than most. Road division games are vital to the success of any team. Regardless of whether those division team are projected to finish at the bottom of the league or not, a team must take care of business within the division. Milwaukee played well against the NBA Central last year, but not so well on the road. What a perfect opportunity to get better in both of those areas!
Match-up to Watch:
Well, Cleveland DOES have two former Bucks at the point guard position, Ramon Sessions and Mo Williams. But we don’t care about that. The real exciting match-up to watch involves another point guard named Williams. When asked a week ago who was the best point guard in the league, Brandon Jennings immediately said Utah’s Deron Williams. Averaging 21 points and 10 assists, Deron Williams is the best of the younger PG’s in the league. His defense and his ability to create for his team is unmatched by anyone except some of the bigger-name veterans in the NBA. How will Jennings and Williams respond against each other?
While some emphasis was just placed on a great point guard battle, there is no question that the Milwaukee Bucks do not succeed without production from Andrew Bogut. There is no other way to look at it, because his ability around the basket is terribly difficult to defend. Bogut became a star on many ESPN highlight reels last year because of his way to abuse other team’s defenses. Left-handed, right-handed, over-the-top, straight through you, it didn’t matter. Andrew Bogut could do whatever he wanted.
When other teams are forced to double team a player of Bogut’s caliber, it opens the offense for everyone else. Because Bogut’s wrist hasn’t 100% healed, (and this week some issues with his back), other players have been forced to carry the burden for the team. Jennings loves to be the go-to guy, but until he starts acting more like Deron Williams, the Bucks will struggle on offense. Success comes when the offense runs through Andrew Bogut.
Milwaukee Brian’s Bucks Report runs from Wednesday-Tuesday and covers all the highlights, all the highs and lows of the 2010-11 Milwaukee Bucks season. Topics can be found at Pocket Doppler – The Wisconsin Sports Blog and Milwaukee Brian Sports