State of the Milwaukee Bucks – 12/28/11
State of the Bucks – A Weekly Review and Preview for the Milwaukee Bucks
Last Week’s Results:
@ Charlotte, Lost 96-95
vs. Minnesota, Won 98-95
Welcome back to another season of the State of the Bucks series. The shortened NBA season kicks off after the summer lockout, and Milwaukee is one of the many teams hoping to hold up against the condensed 66-game schedule.
So what is different this season? Entering last year, there was plenty of hope and optimism, but only IF the Bucks could maintain a cohesive roster. Long story short, they couldn’t. But after trading some weight from the team and building a faster, more athletic group, those chemistry concerns just aren’t there. Sure, the dreaded injury bug could rear its ugly head. Overall though, this is a simpler, harder working team.
Player of the Week:
The first POTW of the year goes to Andrew Bogut. His return in full health is the most important part of this team. With an extra long offseason to complete surgery and rehab, Bogut once again looks comfortable on the court. His back to the basket play and his mid-range jumper hurt the most from his ailing elbow, but he is averaging 16 points and 9 rebounds in two games. A confident Bogut yields a confident Bucks.
Highlights of the Week:
Depth was an issue last year, so the team went out and added a lot of offense. Bench scoring has been the biggest surprise of the early season, with Shaun Livingston, Jon Leuer and Beno Udrih all having great games as subs. Milwaukee’s backcourt wasn’t the same after losing Luke Ridnour, who was visiting with Minnesota. Udrih finally looks like a capable replacement: tough, gritty, a reliable shooter and defender. Perhaps the Bucks can feel comfortable when Brandon Jennings is on the bench.
Milwaukee has so far maintained its patented defensive focus, but some of the additions can contribute on both sides of the court. Leuer, Udrih and Mike Dunleavy Jr. are all quality defenders, and all three play very fast. Last year’s squad got caught standing a lot, but this group will move the ball much better.
Disappointment of the Week:
Playing fast and playing aggressive are great factors that Milwaukee has improved already but it hasn’t directly lead to better shooting. Against Charlotte, the Bucks fell apart in the 3rd quarter and blew a solid lead. They often had one bad quarter in games last year, and can’t let that become a theme this season. A close victory against Minnesota will boost some confidence, but they must be able to maintain strong leads when they build them.
This Week’s Games:
Friday Dec 30th, vs. Washington
Monday Jan 2nd, @ Denver
Tuesday Jan 3rd, @ Utah
These are all winnable games for Milwaukee. They’ve been reliable at home, but need to take some success on the road. They’ll get plenty of chances to do that, with 5 straight road games coming up.
Bogut and Jennings are the stars on the team, and both are finally showing an ability to dictate the pace and flow of the game when paired together. This is a big opportunity for these two to show leadership for the Bucks. There is a good mix of young and old on this roster, and every little thing Bogut and Jennings say and do will be motivation for Milwaukee.
Player of the Week Count:
- Bogut (1)