Bucks Diary

Sunday, November 12, 2006

57 points equals yet another loss for Bucks

Last night Michael Redd exploded for 57 points against the Utah Jazz in one of the most prolific offensive performances in team history. My reaction: "So what?"

The Bucks still lost. You can't win with such an unbalanced attack. When one guy is dominating the shots like that, unless its Michael Jordan or Larry Bird, or someone else who is apt to mix in a little passing, then nobody else on the team gets involved. That's what happened last night (how do you score 57 points with nary an assist to your name? That's almost impossible). But the Bucks troubles go far deeper than that.

A look at the raw numbers reveals trouble everywhere. The Bucks are getting beaten in every single statistical category. I'm not kidding. All the way across the board they are, on average, doing worse than their opponents.

But what are the most glaring areas of decline? I would suggest two.

First, the Bucks are not rebounding the basketball like they did last season. I thought the Bucks might see a dropoff in rebounding, but I thought the dropoff would be attributable to the addition of PF Charlie Villanueva. Not so. Villanueva has actually improved rebounding production out of the 4 spot substantially. So its not on him. Instead the dropoff is due almost
entirely to the decline in production out of the 5 spot.

C Andrew Bogut is simply not hitting the boards with the same alacrity as last season. I didn't foresee that happening. Moving to his natural center position, and no longer competing for rebounds with former C Jamaal Magliore, I expected to see an improvement in Bogut's rebounding production. Thus far he has gone the other way. His rebounder rating is down from 26.2 to 22.5. That's maybe acceptable for a small forward; for a center its a joke. Most of Bogut's decline is due to a lack of offensive rebounding. His percentage of offensive rebounds/chance was 8.4% last year. It is 4.6% this year. At the same time his percentage of defensive rebounds/chance is holding pretty steady at around 17.9%.

What's causing this decline? This is just a theory, but I think he came back too soon. Besides offensive rebounding, his other main area of decline is defensive eFG (where he's gone from a respectable 49.3% to a ghastly 63.4%). What does this suggest? A lack of energy. After all, succeeding in those two areas is mainly a function of effort. If you're tired, or if you don't have your legs under you, the easiest places to cut corners are on the offensive boards and on your defensive covers. That may be what Bogut is doing at the moment.

The second big decline for the Bucks is jump shooting and defending the jump shot. Their eFG on jump shots has declined from around 45% last year to nearly 36% this year. Meanwhile their opponents jump shooting eFG has risen from 44.6% to 48.7%. Since the Bucks are taking and allowing about the same percentage of jump shots as last year (around 60%) it follows that their offensive production and offensive efficiency is down (from 108 pts per 100 possessions to 103 pts per 100 possessions), and their opponents is up (from 109 to 110). What's the problem here? Again, just a theory, but I would submit to you these numbers are a direct result of Coach Terry Stotts misguided attempt to instill an "up tempo" style of play.

As I suggested in an earlier post, in today's game, when you try to go up-tempo all you get for your efforts is sloppy offense and ragged defense. And that's what is happening. The Bucks haven't increased their possessions per game one iota -- it stands at 92, a glacial pace by historical standards. By trying to play faster all they have done is become far less efficient with the possessions they have. Why? Because the uptempo emphasis encourages poor shot selection and discourages disciplined half court defense. And thus we have seen the ironic consequences I foresaw. In trying to instill a running game, the Bucks are the ones getting run off the court. They're taking the first open look available, missing it far too often, and then allowing the opponent far too many open jump shot opportunities on the other end. I'll develop this idea further at a later time. This post is already way too long.


At November 12, 2006 at 6:47 PM, Blogger Pradamaster said...

I feel like this has been happening for both of the last two years. The Bucks have a lot of promising parts and should be better, but the only sure things they have are Michael Redd's scoring ability and Terry Stotts' coaching inability. Everything else is an unknown, so we'll get games where Redd explodes and the rest of the team is subpar.

I'm confused as to why Milwaukee has insisted on playing an up-tempo style for the past couple seasons. I figured that without T.J. Ford, the tempo would be slower. When they're playing up tempo, it seems like they're wasting the talents of Bogut and Villanueva if they're running all the time. Both are athletic, but they're at their best when they're breaking you down in the halfcourt.

After 6 games, it appears Milwaukee has the same problems they did last year.

At November 13, 2006 at 1:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Start Charlie Bell and let Mo come off the bench as a scoring spark.

2. I think it is entirely possible that Bogut rushed back from injury and isn't quite ready.

3. Stotts has no idea what to do with Blake, and Blake is actually regressing under him (makes no sense to me, Blake responded to Nate McMillan very well). That trade should never have been made.

4. Actually, just throw out Stotts. He's not that good a coach ... has no clue what to do with what he has.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home