Bucks Diary

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bucks about to drift away


I was out of pocket most of the day today, so I just found out the horrifying news that Charlie Villanueva will miss 4-6 weeks with a torn ligament in his elbow. I'm so depressed I can't even blink.

Villanueva was having a fantastic season. He was scoring, rebounding, even defending. Now he's gone. I don't even know what to say. The Bucks are like one of those old pirate ships that's had its sails blasted off. They're dead in the water.

School Time for Bogut

Where do they go from here? The Bucks will struggle no doubt. But how they struggle matters. If they take the short view, deluding themselves into thinking they can be competitive, then they will lean exclusively on their backcourt, as they did last night. That will result in a lot of shots for Redd and Williams, and next to none for the bigs. It will be bombs away. The Bucks will lose badly and gain nothing for the future.

Or they can take the long view and use this time to develop Bogut into an effective NBA center. They would bite the bullet and run the entire offense through him. And stay with it. Just keep shoving the ball into him, whether he's fumbling it around, kicking it off his shins, tripping on it, or throwing it into the seats. Use this time to make Bogut a player, to make him a leader.

He will struggle, no doubt. It will be ugly, no doubt. But it will pay off in the future, when the Bucks are back at full strength, and Bogut has found a role on this team and in this Association. Remember, Bogut's still very young, and his history suggests he is a good learner. And he must learn. He's not going to beat anybody with sheer athleticism. He needs to divine the tricks of the trade, like Sikma had to. And now's about as good a time as any to get that done.

Of course the Bucks won't go this route. Stotts is desperate to keep his job. Larry Harris is on a short leash as well. Its regrettable. They have already wasted one season of Bogut development by playing him at power forward because they were thinking exclusively short term. They haven't much more time to lose.

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