Bucks Diary

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bucks in Free Fall

The Milwaukee Bucks are skydiving without a parachute. Even the return of PG TJ Ford was not enough to coax a desperately needed win on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This, mind you, comes directly on the heals of a humiliating defeat at home by the toothless Chicago Bulls, a game which turned solely on the question of desire; the Bulls had it -- the Bucks did not. Here are some thoughts:

Bogut Stunk

The loss of PF Joe Smith is beginning to take a toll. Against the Cavaliers rookie PF Andrew Bogut played one of the worst games of his professional career. He obviously left his usually reliable shooting touch back here in Milwaukee, going a "Magliore like" 5 for 12. That's okay. What bothered me was his inability to keep Cavalier PF Drew Gooden -- a man who will never be confused with Tim Duncan, or any other elite power forward -- off the boards. Gooden got loose for Rodman like numbers. He gathered 17 rebounds, including an unconscionable 10 offensive rebounds. He simply outworked the Bucks, there's no other way to describe it. And Gooden's a guy who, if I'm not mistaken, was run out of Orlando and Memphis because of his questionable work ethic. Embarrasing.

As Mo Goes

A lot of things about this Bucks team are confusing to me. But one thing is becoming crystal clear: the team goes as G Mo Williams goes. This week he lost his shooting touch, going a combined 18 for 40 from the field. The heart of the problem was a dropoff in his 3 point shooting. He was just 4 for 12 for a 33% average whereas throughout the season he has been carrying a 3pt FG% that has been upwards of 45%. If you eliminate his 3 point attempts, he was a more acceptable 14 for 28. But if pigs could fly we'd never eat bacon.

Bucks overmatched at Small Forward

The Bucks have a problem at the small forward position. Bobby Simmons is not getting it done. He's a scorer who can't score. He doesn't pass and he doesn't rebound. And he can't defend. The Cavs rotated LeBron James and Donyell Marshall at the position and they both had a field day. James ended with 35 and Marshall toted 14 in limited duty. The problem is, if Simmons can't do it, who will? So far, Jiri Welsch, the most obvious choice, has been maddeningly inconsistent with his jump shot. And if he can't hit jumpers he's a serious liability on the court because he can't stay in front of anyone on defense. His nickname should be "Toast". Veteran Toni Kukoc isn't the answer, either. His game has basically deteriorated. And, goddamn it, he keeps shooting and missing those 3s! He's got to stop. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Bucks should offer Simmons for Artest. That would solve this glaring problem and turn the Bucks from a mirage contender, which is basically what they are now, into a substantial playoff team.

Knock it Off with the Leotards

I've always said, the one sure way to find out if your peers think you're cool is to do something ridiculous and see if it becomes a trend. Well, if I'm right then Los Angeles Laker G Kobe Bryant is the NBA version of Arthur Fonzereli. Earlier this year he took to wearing black tights under his team issued shorts. Why? No one really knows. The first time I saw them I couldn't believe my eyes. They looked like something a Catholic school girl has to wear as part of her required uniform. But I said to myself, if this ridiculous half sissy look catches on, Kobe is the coolest of the cool. He is the next Jordan. (Remember Jordan is the one who begat the oversized shorts, the ankle socks, the bald look, and the pointless practice of wearing a knee sleeve inside out and on your calf, along with countless other trends. He was the master). And what do you know? It has caught on, even with some of our own beloved Bucks. Guards Michael Redd and Mo Williams now will not take the court without their tights. I can understand why Redd is doing it -- the way Bryant bitch slaps him around everytime they match up he can be excused for having a Kobe complex. But Mo Williams. Et tu, Mo?


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