Bucks Diary

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weekly Buck Droppings Volume V

Buck Dropping 1:
Hollinger labels Bucks an off-season "winner"

In a recent New York Sun column, John Hollinger, a well respected hoops analyst, put the Bucks atop his list of off-season 'winners'. While he was not wowed by the Magliore to the Blazers trade (he described the players the Bucks received in return "mediocrities"), he thought the Ford-for-Villanueva deal more than made up for it. In fact he called the trade a "scandalous rip-off" of the Raptors by the Bucks. He also liked the signing of G Lynn Greer (whom he described as a "sharpshooter") and the acquistion of defensive minded swingman Ruben Patterson. Because of these moves, he expects the Bucks to be competitive in the East (I assume that's what he meant by "afloat").

I can't take an educated position on the Greer signing because, frankly, I've never seen him play. But, as readers of this blog will know, I agree whole heartedly with his other two positive observations. But not everyone else does...

Buck Dropping 2:
Did he mean to write "project"?

On the other hand, Jeff Mangurten of Insidehoops.com, thinks the Ford trade might come back to bite the Bucks. He says the way a bad team becomes good is by acquiring a talented point guard, yet the Bucks "bucked" this pattern, he claims, by trading away a point guard whom Mangurten calls a "prodigy". (I won't even get in to the obvious illogic of his argument -- the Bucks were bad with TJ Ford, how would keeping him have made them better?)

But I will take issue with his description of Ford as a prodigy. A prodigy? Mozart was a prodigy. Not TJ Ford.

I cannot for the life of me understand why many otherwise knowledgeable basketball writers have so much regard for TJ Ford. What do they see in him? Is it his quickness? That's not a guarantor of success. If it were Brevin Knight would be the modern day Magic Johnson. Is it that Final Four he helped get Texas to? If that's the case, Mateen Cleaves was a much more accomplished collegian than Ford. So was Butch Lee for that matter. Neither of them did anything in the Association. Yet so many continue to expect so much from Ford. I don't get it.

Mangurten does, however, make a strong point when he says the Bucks must settle quickly on a starting point guard. Rotating point guards in basketball is about as successful as rotating quarterbacks in football.

Buck Dropping 3:
I have been waiting for this one

In his aforementioned article, Mangurten wondered whether the Bucks would live to regret "passing" on Hornets PG Chris Paul and instead taking C Andrew Bogut. I have been anticipating this critique for a while. I knew it was coming.

Whenever a top pick is outperformed by someone below him, or turns out to be average while the lower guy becomes a superstar, critics will inevitably rewrite history to make it look as though the team that passed on the superstar made a choice that even a fool would not have made, when in fact the prevailing wisdom at the time wholeheartedly agreed with the pick.

That's the case here. As far as I can recall, virtually no one considered Paul worthy of the top choice. The consensus choice was clearly Bogut, and to the extent that there was debate, it was between him and Hawks F Marvin Williams. Paul wasn't even in the conversation. Hell, he was not even considered an obvious choice as the best point guard in that draft.

Yet, mark my words, if Paul has a Hall-of-Fame career, and Bogut turns out to be "just a guy", history will be rewritten to reflect Mangruten's view, not mine.


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