State of the Bucks – 2/1/12
State of the Bucks – A Weekly Review and Preview for the Milwaukee Bucks
Last Week’s Results:
It was a big week for the Milwaukee Bucks as they continued their winning ways, taking 3 of their 4 since the last “State of the Bucks”, as well as tonight’s game against the Miami Heat. Now sitting at 10-11, they have a chance to hit .500 when they hop back on the road to Detroit. More on that later on.
Player of the Week:
We had a photo finish this week, but the final nod for POTW goes to Drew Gooden. He averaged 18.3 points on 57% shooting and grabbed 7.5 rebounds over the last 4 games. Runner-up goes to Mike Dunleavy, the free agent pickup of the year. Ok, perhaps that’s a bold statement to make this early, but he himself shot 62% from the field, averaging 14 points off the bench over the last 4. Against Miami tonight he chipped in 10, another double-digit scorer off the bench.
Highlights of the Week:
For whatever reason, the Bucks are finally attacking the basket. Instead of relying solely on jump shots, they take the opportunity to pump fake their defender up into the air and cut toward the hoop. Oddly, that’s something they didn’t do a lot of when Bogut was in the paint. But it has helped them to draw more fouls than they use to get. Brandon Jennings is becoming a pure leader on the court, forcing the opponent to occasionally cheat another defender at him. His assists have gone up as he has taken the time to find wide open players near the basket. Just one more reason why their offense has been rolling.
Shooting has finally, though still for a short time, become an area of strength for Milwaukee. Last season, they recorded a better shooting percentage than their opponent barely 1/3 of the time. So far this season, they have outshot their opponent in 10 of their 21 games. And they have hit the 100 point mark in 5 straight, something they didn’t come close to accomplishing last year.
Disappointment of the Week:
In the first half against Miami, the Bucks were thoroughly manhandled. It really wasn’t a terrible half that Milwaukee played; it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible. That said, Miami was clearly playing in an upper echelon that few teams could have matched. While that of course was a problem, it wasn’t the end for Milwaukee, who clawed back into it while limiting the Heat to 37 points in the second half. Certainly the end justifies the means.
Milwaukee is still putting itself in bad stretches where they turn the ball over too often. At this point, they are still tweaking their available minutes on the floor, and will probably continue to put together a unique roster rotation the rest of the season.
This Week’s Games:
It can’t be said enough: the Milwaukee Bucks have been taking down some very talented teams. Are they overachieving, or are they just playing smart? When they went to the playoffs in 2009-10, they were accused of overachieving, winning plenty of games they has no business being in.
This team just seems to want to battle against whoever they are playing, and that alone will usually get you the playoffs in the NBA. But for the Bucks, they’ve been lucky to have reliable contributions in the post from a few different players, and it will be interesting to follow how well those players do over the length of a condensed season. But the current Bucks are a tough, scrappy team that puts its mistakes behind them well, and can rarely be accused of ever giving up.
As stated earlier, a win in Detroit would put Milwaukee at an even 11-11 record. Besides the visit from Chicago, the Bucks’ schedule is about to get much softer. Rather than getting complacent, they need to feed off their victories as if they haven’t eaten in weeks. Always putting a young, energetic, hungry team on the court will mean good things to come for Milwaukee.
Player of the Week Count: