Bucks Diary: Rosen warms to Bogut... sort of
This week we saw it again: the schizophrenic (sp?) nature of the 2006 Milwaukee Bucks. While the Bucks seem perfectly able to compete with the league's very best teams, losing close games on the road to both the defending conference champions, and beating the world champions at home, they cannot seem to handle the league's lesser lights, getting blown out by teams like Utah and Orlando, and just recently the struggling Houston Rockets.
But I don't get upset about it anymore. The Bucks are what they are. They'll bring it against the elite teams and they'll occasionally half-ass when they could be recording an easy win. I've guess I've accepted that. Terri Stotts sure has. A couple more thoughts:
Charley Rosen likes Bogut now... kind of
Earlier in the year Foxsports.com columnist Charley Rosen really took FC Andrew Bogut to task, calling him unathletic and nothing more than a career role player. But after watching him against the Pistons he amended his judgment slightly upward. (He's never 100% positive about anyone unless its his sput buddy Phil Jackson or any of the Lakers).
His overall assessment was a little puzzling, though. Everything I generally thought was weak, he said was strong, and vice versa. For instance, he lauded Bogut's low post game, which I generally consider the most underdeveloped part of his jacket. Then, he gave Bogut low marks for his high post work which I think is one of the more impressive parts of his game.
Then he sort of drifted off into this bizarre critique of Bogut's rebounding. It was really esoteric, wanna-be coach speak. Not being a whistlehead, I couldn't fully understand his meaning, but from what I gather he thinks Bogut is a poor rebounder of balls that fall below his shoulders, but an excellent rebounder of balls above his shoulders. I still don't know what that means. (Aren't the vast majority of rebounds gathered above the shoulders?) What's really stunning, though, is he concludes his "Red on Roundball" analysis by giving Bogut an overall poor grade for rebounding! That's ludicrous. But, that's the danger of doing snapshot, one-off, breakdowns of a player's game like Rosen does -- its hard for him to truly distinguish between a poor performance and a genuinely poor performer. Thus he is led to make absurd generalizations based upon to little information and too few observations. Its a common logical error made by people all the time, known simply as the "Hasty Generalization" fallacy. Though Rosen is a bright guy, he makes the error all the time. Bogut is an above average rebounder by any standard.
Will Mo ever be Mo again this season?
Don't pooh-pooh the impact of G Mo Williams' plantar fascitis. Plantar fascitis is one of those awful injuries that you can play with yet never seems to heal. Its painful and annoying. Clearly, Williams has been playing below the level he set early in the season ever since he suffered the injury. I'm worried it is just going to linger all season and Mo Williams will never be 100% again this campaign. That would be very bad for the Bucks hopes and dreams in this year. Its no coincidence their worst stretch of the season is occuring during his worst stretch of the season. Like I said earlier, as Mo goes, so go the Bucks.
TJ Coming Up a Little Short
When TJ first broke into the Association in '03, I remember reading one of those anonymous scouting reports in Sports Illustrated that basically called TJ useless because: 1. He couldn't shoot consistently from the outside; 2. He wouldn't be able to get to the hoop in the NBA because the defenses could neutralize him by flashing a big man at him whenever he drove; and, 3. He'd be a liability on defense because bigger point guards would be able to post him at will.
In '03 I kind of thought that was foolish hyperbole, but during Wednesday's game against the Pistons I saw all three of the weaknesses the scout mentioned on full display. TJ couldn't hit wideopen outside jumpers with any consistency; when he drove to the hoop the Wallace boys only needed to step at him to discourage him, and what they would do was after they showed themselves in the lane and frightened Ford, they would immediately flash back to their man, and in doing so they disrupted his dish offs as well. And on defense, it was painful to watch him try to cover Rip Hamilton. It looked like a little kid trying to guard his high school brother. It was an impossible mismatch. It hurt the Bucks all night long.
Gaines Nothing But a Cap Number
On Wednesday the Bucks had a crying need for a big point guard to matchup with the Pistons backcourt. And they have one on their bench. Yet 6'6'' Reece Gaines registered yet another DNP. Where did his career go so wrong? Or did it go wrong at all? Perhaps he was just another example of the vagaries and uncertainities of the NBA draft. I was curious why he was drafted ahead of people like Dallas F Josh Howard, Philadelphia F Kyle Korver, and the Bucks own Mighty Mo Williams. So I went back and looked at the scouting reports on him coming out of Louisville (here and here are two of them).
The reports were glowing. You almost wonder who they were watching when they filed them. One report referred to Gaines as "a big point guard who can play the 2". One even had the audacity to compare him to the versatile veteran G Jimmy Jackson. They described him as an athletic, versatile player who could step in and run a team almost immediately. They called him, get this, a"natural playmaker". One report said he had "excellent ballhandling ability". Again, who were they scouting? Several of the reports said he was "a better shooter than you think." How wrong were all these scouts? Reece is a 32.9% field goal shooter for his career who has never run a team and has no ability as a playmaker. You'd never have known it in the run-up to the draft. He sounded like the new Oscar Robertson.
As a means of comparison, I dug up a scouting report on Mr. Gaines that was filed last season. Note the stark difference. The NBA report said of Gaines "if he works hard he might be able to hang around as a 12th man." Its assessment of his skills was blunt and somewhat shocking. It called him "a poor passer, not a point guard", and "a terrible ballhandler". It said he was a "disaster running the break", and that he "struggles mightly going to the hoop." Oh, and it said he "needs work on his defense." A point guard who can't pass, dribble, drive, shoot, or defend. The scouting reports coming out of college on this kid were, er.. a little off. Its clear now the former All-American is nothing more than a cap number to the Bucks, and one they will happily take off their books come the end of the season. Kind of sad.
Magliore's Offensive Ineptitude
Was C Jamaal Magliore wearing roller skates on Wednesday? His footwork was so terrible! Did you see how many times the Pistons pulled the old "remove the chair"# trick on Magliore? And when he wasn't traveling he was getting his pocket picked by even the token double teams the Pistons were bringing at him. They induced 4 turnovers on him. Our center! That's unacceptable. Magliore's problem is he has no balance. That's why he has no touch around the rim. Without a good base you can't get up consistent shots and you're bound to miss. Hit the jump ropes Jamaal, or take a dance class. I'm serious.
# Remove the chair: When an offensive player is backing a defender down by leaning on him, a clever defender will simply back off, thereby causing the offensive player to fall backward into a traveling violation -- unless the offensive player maintains good balance.