Bucks look like an old ABA team
There's a website called remembertheaba.com that celebrates the long lost renegade American Basketball Association, with its red white and blue ball, and its "interesting" style of basketball. As good as that site is, its been rendered unnecessary. Why? Because there's a team in Milwaukee that pays homage to the ABA and its perverse take on the sport of basketball each and every game out.
The Spirits of Milwaukee?
The Bucks could be mistaken for the Spirits of St. Louis the way they have played this season. Indeed, the next time NBATV runs an old ABA game between the Spirits and the Kentucky Colonels, or whomever, watch how the game transpires, then keep it in your mind until you catch your next Bucks game. I defy you to notice any discernable difference between the styles of play. The ABA game will feature one on one, free for all offensive basketball, with an absolute indifference to defense. So will the Bucks game.
The court rules seem to be the same too. In the old ABA, you got shots on your own or you didn't get them at all. There were no screens, no pick and rolls; whoever had the ball would dribble it incessantly, looking to hoist up a shot the minute he saw daylight. Compare that to the style Michael Redd employs. He dribbles in circles looking to get his shot off, and then he will take it no matter the odds.
I have never seen a good player take so many horrible shots. Granted, he somehow makes many of them, but by merely taking them he shows a level of indifference to his teammates that is detrimental to the overall effectiveness of the team. I mean, how many guys are going to want to work without the ball when they see the star player taking all those awful step back sling shot jumpers? Suddenly the offense stagnates as they wait to see what kind of low percentage heave Redd is going to attempt this time down the court.
The Bucks lack of defensive effort is well chronicled, but it continues to sicken me. I just watched the Bucks give up 108 points to a New York Knicks team that can only be described as awful. Countless number of times, my Tivo rewind button caught Buck players guarding no one at all, and the team's penchant for allowing unmolested layups to perimeter players is now legendary.
And what about Jamaal Magliore? I'll give him credit, he's a rebounding machine, but he plays no defense at all! He was supposed to provide a shot blocking presence in the paint? I watched slow-footed Eddy Curry spin by him like he was in cement, and I watched the midget Nate Robinson drive right into him and score. Robinson is barely 5'7'', and Magliore couldn't stop his penetration. Sick.
Williams is the difference
There's one man keeping Terry Stotts Flying Circus from crash landing -- Guard Mo Williams. He was spectacular again tonight, outclassing the self-proclaimed 'best point guard in the league' Stephon Marbury. Williams sustained excellence is getting close to earning him consideration for the All-Star game. He's been that good.
With all of his missteps in free agency, General Manager Larry Harris can take great pride in the Williams signing. This guy is the real deal. Without him the Bucks would be below .500 and sinking fast. They may likely find themselves there soon, but not because of Williams. He is quickly moving himself into the rarified air breathed by the elites of the Association.
AP Photos by Morry Gash