Bucks Diary

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bucks look Bullet proof

Sorry I haven't been posting lately, especially in light of the Bucks big hot streak. I've been down with the flu I caught from my nephew and I just haven't had the energy.

Meanwhile, the Bucks have been all energy. Another big December win for the Green and Red last night at the BC over the team formerly known as the Washington Bullets. A terrific month for the Antlers, who will be moving way up my Power Rankings this Wednesday.

Last night the Bucks again got terrific play from several sources, most notably Andrew Bogut, Brian Skinner, Michael Redd, and the indominatable super sub Ruben Patterson. Has that guy been a pick-up or what? Skinner also continues to show his value. If only we can get Villanueva cooking again.

Arenas is STILL shooting

The other key to last night's win was the wild shooting of Bullets star Gilbert "World B." Arenas. Has that guy ever seen, heard, or come in contact with a shot he didn't like, or wouldn't take twice? How bad is his shot selection? Let's just say he's the only guy in the Association Kobe felt comfortable criticizing on that score.

I caught hell last summer when I did my point guard rankings and I had Arenas middle of the pack. I feel vindicated. Truth be told he should not have even been considered. He is no point guard. He's a top flight scorer, no doubt, but he is not a top flight point guard.

Last night he missed 15 shots. If they played a double header he would have missed 30. He had no intention to quit shooting, though it clearly was not his night. And, when his shot is not falling, he does little to make up for it. Last night he finished with one more assist (5) than his team's starting small forward. Most true points, when they see that their shot is not falling, look to get others involved. 2 guards pretending to be points will continue to fire away. How would you classify Arenas?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Bucks unleash their Strike Team

The game turned suddenly at the 8:32 mark of the fourth quarter. With the Bucks trailing by five, and the Spurs calmly looking to close out another victim, Milwaukee's Michael Redd blew down the lane like an Ohio tornado. Tim Duncan stepped to meet him. Undeterred, Redd wrapped a finger roll around the big man's head and raindropped it into the net. The furious Bucks rally was on. From that point to the buzzer, the Bucks tore their teeth into the wounded and lumbering Spurs like a pack of starving hyenas, scoring 25 of the final 38 points. I still don't think the Spurs know what the hell happened.

I'll tell them. The Bucks opened the wagon and unleashed what looked like a Green Strike Team. That fourth quarter stretch that began with the Redd layup and ended with a huge Bucks win was one of the sweetest displays of coldblooded basket attacking I have seen from this team since the days of Marques Johnson. It was surreal. It was dreamlike. It took my breath away. During one stretch within that stretch, the Bucks scored 10 straight points on lay-ups. At crunch time. Against the seasoned Spurs. It was beautiful. Am I getting across to you how excited I was? The Bucks OWNED the lane in the fourth quarter against an elite team on the road. Reread that sentence a couple of times.

The Bucks are a steamroller baby, gonna roll all over you

The win streak is at 5, the run is at 8 of 11. And it includes a spectacular win on the road against the San Antonio Spurs. I think notice has been served. The Bucks want to be taken seriously again.

This win will ring out because of the way it was produced. Unstoppable offense, TERRIFIC DEFENSE, energetic rebounding, and a 'my hairs on fire' fourth quarter rally.

I don't want to hear about the "ailing Spurs" either. They had a healthy Tim Duncan, didn't they? And still the Bucks dominated all major phases of the game last night. Let that ring out. The Spurs were fortunate to have even been in the game at all. Three pointers and an obnoxious hometown disparity in free throws attempted (28 to 14) is all that kept that them from being completely wiped out.

Skinner the agent of change

But can the good times last in BucksNation? Believe it or not, I think they can. The Bucks may genuinely be a team reborn. The fundamental reason: the redeployment of Brian Skinner as a poor man's Maurice Lucas to Bogut's suddenly reasonable impersonation of a poor man's Bill Walton. Kind of like what Magliore... without the ridiculous turnovers, the blindman shooting skills, and the self delusional view of the team, of course.

We all thought Bogut would thrive after the departure of Magliore. Instead he declined alarmingly. It turns out Bogut needs a Magliore-type, after all. Just not Jamaal Magliore.

Why? Well, Bogut is not a power forward. Clearly. But he is not really a center, either. He is a forward/center who needs a doppelganger forward/center.. like Magliore..or like Joe Smith..or, indeed, like Brian Skinner.. to thrive. He needs a tough foreman-type who can handle things in the plant while he -- pocketprotector Bogut -- concentrates on office work, if you know what I'm saying.

Of course there are limitations to this lineup. But we'll explore those later. Right now the pressing question is how to get Villanueva reinvolved. How does he fit into this new scheme? Let me think about that one.

Bucks succeeding against the better conference...

but failing inexplicably in their own, lesser, conference. The Bucks are 5-10 against the East and 8-4 against the superior West. I just caught onto this seeming paradox... I'm sure its well known throughout BucksNation. But what explains it? Does anyone have any theories? Could effort be the answer? Maybe.

Or the Bucks simply may be constructed in the manner of a Western team, and therefore more comfortable competing with the Western style... the up tempo game. The East, after all, is full of bruisers, and the Bucks have precious few of those. That's all I can think of.

Bucks top performers during winning streak

The Bucks have won 7 out of their last 10 games. Everyone knows that.. now learn how much each Buck player has contributed to this streak, according to each's Eff48 score (explained in the footnote) over the last ten games, and also over the last five.

Maurice Williams (Last 10: 32.45) (Last 5: 34.46)

Hang fire. Mo Williams is hellified at the moment (KG's phrase) and he's having a hellified season (KG's opinion). I don't know what hellified means, but I assume its a condition similar to white heat. Mo blows very hot or very cold. And, right now, he is extremely hot. He's starting to carry the Bucks again, as he did at points in the season (of course he dropped them at other points). The key for him is making jump shots early and attacking the basket often. He's streaky and has a tendency to settle for poor long range jump shots when he is cold.

Andrew Bogut (Last 10: 29.45) (Last 5: 31.98)

Right on cue to make me look like a chump, Andrew Bogut picked his season out of the rubbish bin and has had one of his most productive stretches of basketball in his young career (He certainly seems to be suddenly motivated, that's for sure. If anything got him it would be the Rosen butchering he earned and received from foxsports.com, not anything I wrote... obviously). What he has done over the last 10 games, and more specifically the last 5, is extraordinary. He has been filling the stat sheets, limiting the turnovers, and finally rebounding the basketball like an NBA center should. Most of the extra boards he has collected have come through pure effort. He has suddenly "refused to be boxed out" so to speak. What I mean is, when opponents attempt to box him out, he used to give in and accept his fate. He no longer gives in. Now he will counter and fight back. And he's getting rebounds as a result.

Ruben Patterson (Last 10: 26.83) (Last 5: 21.13)

Ruben's production has fallen in the last five games, but how could it do otherwise? His first five games in this stanza were personal masterpieces. They were symphonies to efficient, aggressive basketball. I love this guy's attitude. He always guards the opponent's primary scoring option in key situations. Who can forget when he went mano a mano with Kobe at the end of the Laker game? He is one game rooster.

Charlie Villanueva (Last 10: 24.25) (Last 5: 22.72)

In the last ten games, Charlie has performed okay... all things considered. But he better not get in the habit of settling for just "okay". I don't want him to use these nagging injuries as a justification for less than satisfactory play (by his standards). He needs to get back to the superstar level of production he established early in the season. He dominated the second half of the Heat game. The Heat had no answer for him. As George Karl would say, his challenge is to bring a "dominance" to every minute of every game.

Michael Redd (Last 10: 22.48) (Last 5: 27.49)

What can I add to the discussion? Michael Redd is a man, and he is having a man's season.

Brian Skinner (Last 10: 19.71) (Last 5: 19.61)

I'm warming to Brian Skinner. Seriously. First of all, he's tough, and you know exactly what he will bring to the party every single night. And more importantly, he is the only Buck whose defensive efficiency is under 110 (Skinner's defensive efficiency is 106, meaning the Bucks opponents score at a rate of 106 points every 100 possessions that he is on the floor. That is right at league average and far and away better than anyone else on the team.) Playing Skinner hurts the offense, but helps the defense immensely, and the defense needs a lot of help.

Charlie Bell (Last 10: 18.71) (Last 5: 26.60)

Charlie Bell has been either "awful" or else "pretty good" all season, with the awful games outweighing the pretty good ones by a heap. He's been hot in the last 5, no bout a doubt it, as Bubbles would say. His challenge now is to keep coming with it. With Simmons out we need him desperately to produce.

Dan Gadzuric (Last 10: 16.43) (Last 5: 19.94)

Dan Gadzuric should never, never, ever make any complicated or even rudimentary offensive moves or any kind except layups, putbacks, or dunks. Everything else he pulls out of his bag of offensive "skills" sets the game back to the days of the peach basket.

Steve Blake (Last 10: 10.43) (Last 5: 17.22)

Usually I'm all about the numbers, and the numbers say that reserve point guard Steve Blake is terribly unproductive and doesn't defend anyone. But... if this makes sense... he somehow looks good doing nothing. I'm not that uncomfortable with him on the floor. He can make key plays. If he could just make more of them.

Footnote: Eff48 is an official NBA statistic that calculates a player's production per minute. It is calculated using the following mathematical formula: (Pts + Rebs + Assists + Blocks +Steals) - (Missed Field Goals + Missed Free Throws + Turnovers) / 48. A decent score for a player to have is one in the high teens or the low 20s. As you go up the 20s you get better and better, and once you reach around 32 you are at elite status. Anything below 17 is poor.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bucks administer a Holiday Heatdown

"Makes me sick, motherfucker, how far we done fell" -- Detective William "Bunk" Moreland, The Wire
Those famous words from Season 3 of HBO's The Wire might well have been repeated last night in the visiting locker room at The Bradley Center by Miami Heat Coach Pat Riley, or by their superstar guard Dwayne Wade, or by anyone else on that team for whom pride might still matter. Because, somehow, someway, that team has gone -- in less than half a year, mind you -- from a championship outfit to a truly putrid team.
How could they have fallen so far, so fast? Age, mostly. Besides Wade, who is nearing his transcendent prime, they are a team of has beens and never weres. The glory once attached to some of the names on the back of their black traveling jerseys exists no more. Mourning, Payton, Walker... they are a like a stable of once great thoroughbreds who need to be put down.
And the Bucks, to their credit, recognized this and showed no mercy. They grabbed the aging Heat by their collective ears, marched them right down Kilbourn, and tossed them into Lake Michigan. It was a beatdown with a cane, Singapore style. And I didn't think there was a team bad enough to endure a humiliation like that from this Bucks squad. Certainly not the defending world champion Miami Heat. How far they done fell.
Playoffs? Were talkin' playoffs?
Now, if you look at it, and as shocking as it sounds, the Bucks appear to have the inside track for a spot in the NBA's post season tournament. Not because of their play, of course. Its because of the stiffs lined up behind them. Take a look for yourself and tell me, who looks capable of putting up any resistance? There are certainly teams who could fight, but none of them seem to have the will to actually do so.
Which says something for the Bucks. They have fought on when there didn't seem to be a reason to fight on. After they lost Simmons, and then Villanueva, their already thin lineup looked close to collapse. But they've kept it from breaking up, and that's to their credit.
One last note: The newspapers and online sources will heap most of the credit for last night's victory on Mo Williams because he recorded double figures in three seperate statistical categories. But the real shining star for the Bucks was Bogut. Against the once mighty Alonzo Mourning, he played a near perfect game, one of his best in a Bucks uniform. He filled up his entire stat sheet with positive numbers, even mixing in 3 blocked shots. He was spectacular. And if statistics were viewed in terms of substance rather than flash, it would be more than obvious that he was the best player in last night's game.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sure, Damir, I'll have another

A very sweet home win for the Bucks. Wins over Kevin Garnett and the Twolves are normally hard to come by, and the Bucks had to earn this one. But you can read a better account of the game on jsonline.com, I'm sure. Instead, I have a more interesting anecdote to share (you won't find on jsonline).

The best action from my point of view was after the game at Taylor's on the corner of Wells and Jefferson in downtown Milwaukee. The MVP at that venue (actually, the only Buck in the house that I spotted) was the Big Rook... the Swinging Croat... Mr. Damir Markota.

Turn's out he's a pretty cool guy. At least he was damn generous with the drink purchases last night. In fact, he bought me and the group I was with a couple of rounds of shots. (Truth be told, he was buying them for the chicks who were with me -- I think he felt obligated to throw me in the mix to keep peace. But, respect this -- he's learned American lesson number one: never mow another man's grass.)

Now, I don't want to talk out of school against a guy who's willing to show that kind of love, but damn he was pounding back the poison. And I'm not talking about Milwaukee champagne, either. It was hard shit all the way for the young fella. For real! And, in a move that was shades of the original Yugoslav sensation, Vlade Divac, he was smoking cigarettes, too.

It got so ridiculous that at one point he was in a corner throwing back what looked like a doubler by himself. When I saw that pathetic display, I'm thinkin' "Damn, boy! Go easy!" He wasn't thinking that, though... trust me.

After he came back over I asked him what kind of shots he was doing. He said "Jahk Dahniels". He then told me this little bit of Bucks Trivia you won't find in the Media Guide: he started drinking Jack Daniels when he was 14! Its not that astonishing, especially given where he came from, but I was just weirded out by the fact that he sounded proud of it.

I think the Bucks know they might have a problem here. I think they put a designated babysitter on his ass. Because after a while some random guy leaned in and said "Damir... tomorrow" and pointed to his watch, and Damir, on cue, split the scene. Here's how wasted he was: When he went out the door he headed the wrong way down Jefferson Street. How did I know this? Because I saw him double back past the window about three minutes later. No shit. Rock on, Markota.

On a serious note -- Damir's a great guy, and I'm pulling for him to make it, but how the hell can he swill the Tennessee river water the way he does and still hope to somehow get over on guy's more talented than him the next day? He's not Mickey Mantle. He's not good enough to play with self-inflicted wounds. Maybe that's the point -- he knows he's not going to play.

Oh well, whatever... all I have to say is this to the guy... to paraphrase the salutation given by DeNiro when he did a shot with the guy he and Pesci ended up kicking to death in Goodfellas, "Top of the Mornin' to Ya, Damir!"

Footnote: In case any of you were wondering, yes, Damir is only 19. His underage status was of no matter to the bouncers, however. Another quick tidbit: All night I kept telling people Markota was from Russia. Later on, he loudly corrected me "No, Ty! Yugoslavia! Not Russia!" Ouch. Just add that to my list of classic blunders, along side misspelling Terry Stotts ("Terri"), calling Mo Williams "Michael Williams", referring to Leandro Barbosa as "Leonardo Barbosa" (to which some smart ass commented "yeah, he was great in The Departed" -- which I thought was an awesome burn) and countless other misspellings and counterfacts spewed from my keyboard onto this site.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Catching up with some ex-Bucks

How are some of the Bucks castoffs from seasons past faring in the Association? Some are doing well (TJ Ford, Zaza Pachulia), while others are struggling mightily (Jamaal Magliore, Desmond Mason). Here's a rundown:

TJ Ford (PG, Toronto Raptors) (Eff48: 24.48)

TJ is having his best season to date. His jump shooting is actually worse than last year (40.4% to 41.7%), but he has improved his overall eFG (46.3% to 44.0%) by finishing much better around the hoop (56.0% to 47.7%). He has also improved his ballhandler rating (23.9 to 19.2) and his passer rating (12.8 to 9.3).

Zaza Pachulia (C, Atlanta Hawks) (Eff48: 24.35)

He has turned into a servicable NBA center. He's still soft as a marshmallow, but he has slightly better productivity numbers than Andrew Bogut, although his internal numbers (eFG, Rebounder rating) are either the same or below Bogut's.

Mike James (PG, Minnesota Twolves) (Eff48: 18.98)

He's having his least productive season in the last couple. He's still shooting the ball well, but he's not much of a point guard. His Ballhandler rating (14.7) and Passer rating (6.7) are far below par for a starting point guard in the Association. He looks like a 2 masquerading as a 1.

Tim Thomas (SF, LA Clippers) (Eff48: 17.55)

This guy is either a genius or the world's biggest tease. T squared once again parlayed a productive playoff run into a substantial contract, and once again, after the ink was signed, his productivity dropped. Don't people ever look at a player's entire body of work before they make their offers? If so, they could have easily predicted what they were going to get from Thomas. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...

Jamaal Magliore (C, Portland Blazers) (Eff48: 17.88)

He's really struggling. His numbers last year seemed subpar, this year they're down even lower. The Blazers must have simply regard him as an expiring contract. That's about all he is.

Joel Pryzbilla (C, Portland Blazers) (Eff48: 18.26)

I thought Pryzbilla was poised to become a fairly productive big man. So far this season, he's not been that. Perhaps its injuries holding him back, or maybe he simply peaked in the last few years and is now on the down slide.

Desmond Mason (SF, NOK Hornets) (Eff48: 12.46)

He's really lost his game. How does he get 34 minutes of playing time each night? He has no jump shot (eFG on jumpers: 27.3%) , he doesn't finish well around the basket (eFG on inside shots: 46.7%), he's a horrible passer (Passer rating: 0.3!), he's a terrible ballhandler (Ballhandler rating: 4.3), and he's a mediocre rebounder -- especially for a forward (Rebounder rating: 14.7). His defense is decent, I suppose, but that's always been an up-and-down proposition with D Mase.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bucks Diary NBA Power Rankings 12-15

Here are the latest Mke Bucks Diary NBA Power Rankings. Again, these rankings are based almost entirely on each teams' offensive/defensive efficiency differential. I only apply my subjective opinion when teams have the same differential.

This week's big doings: The Chicago Bulls continue to rise, moving up to elite status as the number one Eastern Conference team. The Phoenix Suns also continue up the charts to No. 2. The Spurs, though, seem indominatable as the No. 1 team; They just keep pushing their numbers higher and higher. Lower down in the rankings, the Clippers continue to baffle, falling again this week after seemingly stabilizing their numbers. And defending World Champion Miami finally relinquished their spot in the basement to the Charlotte Bobcats.

1. San Antonio Spurs (+10)

2. Phoenix Suns (+7)

3. Houston Rockets (+7)

4. Utah Jazz (+6)

5. Chicago Bulls (+5)

6. Dallas Mavericks (+4)

7. Los Angeles Lakers (+4)

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (+4)

9. Detroit Pistons (+2)

10. Denver Nuggets (+2)

11. Orlando Magic (+1)

12. Washington Bullets (+1)

13. Sacramento Kings (0)

14. Minnesota Timberwolves (0)

15. Seattle Supersonics (0)

16. Boston Celtics (0)

17. Golden State Warriors (0)

18. New Jersey Nets (-1)

19. New York Knicks (-2)

20. Los Angeles Clippers (-3)

21. NOK Hornets (-3)

22. Indiana Pacers (-3)

23. Atlanta Hawks (-3)

24. Philadelphia 76ers (-3)

25. Toronto Raptors (-3)

26. Milwaukee Bucks (-4)

27. Memphis Grizzlies (-4)

28. Miami Heat (-5)

29. Portland Trailblazers (-5)

30. Charlotte Bobcats (-8)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

There's no D in Milwaukee

As the second to last post insinuated, the Bucks offense is cooking this season. So why are they floundering below the .500 mark? Its the defense, Antlerheads, or more succinctly, the lack thereof. Milwaukee's team defense is... what's the opposite of cooking?

The Bucks are giving up the most points per 100 possessions of any team in the Association (112.0). Thus, while they may only rank fourth in Points Allowed per game, it is right to say they are currently sporting the worst defense in professional basketball. And its not really that close, either. No one else is giving up more than 110 points per 100 possessions. The Bucks, in other words, are a total sieve.

Which just shows the ghost in all the clap-trap that was spouted by Bucks coach Terry Stotts at the beginning of the season, about how he was going to put a "new emphasis on defense." What exactly was he emphasizing? How to give up the baseline more readily? How to allow your man even better position in the low post? How to stay as far away from the other team's perimeter shooters as possible?

The bottom line is the Bucks need to start playing some real defense if they are to have a shot at the postseason. Defense is all about effort, thus I think that if they have the will they can get it done. That notion is both inspiring and frustrating at the same time.

Footnote: The Big O has nothing to do with the Bucks lack of defense. I just put that picture up there for nostalgic purposes only.

Is Bogut just Kent Benson with an Ozzie accent?

No defense...no rebounding...no bench production...no fan support...no problem for the Bucks! In front of a sparse Tuesday night crowd at the Bradley Center, the Bucks rode their starters to another win over a sub-.500 team, the Seattle Supersonics, 94-93.

But the victory didn't impress Charley Rosen of Foxsports.com. He sees the Bucks as a team of limited talent heading nowhere.

Bogut a bust?

He was particularly hard on Andrew Bogut. He believes Bogut lacks the athleticism and skill to compete at the center position. He points out, rightly, that Bogut can't really guard anyone (someone named Johan Petro absolutely schooled him in limited duty last night). He never blocks shots, and he gets many of his own shots blocked. And he isn't as great a rebounder as I once believed. As Rosen points out, and Bucks fans will have noticed, most of the rebounds he gets fall right into his lap.

Folks, I know Rosen can be a bit of a know-it-all a**hole, but, on this score, I think he may be on to something. It may be time for us to consider the possibility that Andrew Bogut may never get better than he is right now. And right now he's decidedly below average.

It pains me to admit that. But its true. He plays in cement shoes. How is that ever going to change? I don't think it will. Thus, he may be headed to the historical purgatory occupied by the likes of Pervis Ellison, Joe Barry Carroll, Joe Smith, and our own former Milwaukee Buck Kent Benson... decent players who could never justify their status as number one overall picks.

Comparing Bogut to Benson: Benson Wins!

Let's compare Bogut with Kent Benson. First of all, if you look closely at the numbers, Benson wasn't a terrible player. Let's debunk that myth. He had a decent touch on his shot and he grabbed his share of rebounds. He just lacked the physicality to bang in the middle, and he lacked the quickness to play on the perimeter. But he wasn't a bust. He just wasn't a number one pick. And, more importantly in Milwaukee, he was no Kareem. Not even close. So you could say he was simply a victim of historical circumstance. He never really had a chance.

And Bogut seems headed for the same fate. At the same point in their respective careers, Bogut isn't close to being as productive as Benson. Benson's Eff48 from his second season (30.57) is much better than Bogut's has been thus far (22.03). In fact, in his career thus far, Bogut has yet to have even a single month of production that equalled Benson's career average (25.66).

History suggests he won't improve very much

But can't Bogut improve, you ask? That's what I used to hang my hat on, too. But a look at some comparable centers from the recent past reveals that the numbers they produce in their second season are generally eerily similar to the numbers they will produce for their career. At least, they don't go from the low 20's (where Bogut lingers) to the superstar 30s.

That said, here is my sampling of numbers produced by current and postcurrent centers, placed in completely random order, for your consideration (The player's Second Season Eff48 is listed first and followed by his Career Eff48 in parenthesis):

Vlade Divac...............29.19 (28.57)

Luc Longley..............21.39 (21.62)

Joe Barry Carroll......25.44 (26.44)

Jack Sikma................29.47 (29.93)

Sam Bowie.................28.73 (26.12)

Raef LaFrentz...........25.77 (25.21)

Shawn Bradley..........24.66 (25.63)

Adonal Foyle..............21.25 (21.50)

Eddy Curry.................25.53 (23.14)

Tyson Chandler..........24.86 (24.45)

Michael Olowakandi.....18.90 (19.11)

Bill Walton.....................39.03 (37.53)

Yao Ming.......................30.1 (31.4)

Jermaine O'Neal...........27.72* (27.48)

Darryl Dawkins..............30.10* (29.04)

Radaslov Nesterovic......19.70 (21.15)

Chris Mihm.....................22.18 (22.23)

Ralph Sampson...............29.85 (29.67)

Michael Olowakandi.......18.90 (19.11)

Pervis Ellison...................28.44 (26.74)

Zydrunas Ilgauskas.........24.14 (27.86)

Basically, as you can see, where a player is in his second season of extensive playing time is where he is going to be for his career. If there is any movement in the numbers, its usually downward, otherwise its uncanny how stable a player's Eff48 scores remain throughout his career. Thus, what Bogut is putting up now is, in all probablility, about what we can expect.

Trust me, I searched high and low for counterexamples to disprove this thesis, but found little. The only similar player whose career has had any persuasive countervalue at all is Ilgauskas. But even his example isn't really dramatic enough to make me move away from my general conclusion.

There was one player, however, who, initially provided me with some hope. Marcus Camby. He went from essentially producing, in his second season, at the level Bogut is producing now, to his current above average production level (31.80).

But the Camby example is probably an aberration. Early in his career, Camby was a power forward. As soon as Patrick Ewing left, he moved to center. When he did so, his rebounding improved markedly. In the center position, he was able to use his athleticism to outmanuever other centers. For Bogut, the opposite has been true. Since moving to center, he has become a worse rebounder. When he played power forward, he would let his opponent drift outside, as a lot of power forwards like to do, and would then gather in uncontested rebounds. This year, he has had to fight for those rebounds, to his detriment. So, the Camby case probably is not analagous.

I hope I'm wrong. In fact, if events prove me wrong, I will happily eat this whole posting. But history says I probably won't have to.

#: Jermaine O'Neal and Darryl Dawkins both came straight out of high school, so I considered their second season to be the second season in which they averaged substantial minutes of playing time.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bucks starters improve production at every position

We have reached, roughly, the quarter pole of the NBA season. Its time to take stock of the "new look" starting line-up for the Milwaukee Bucks. So far, you must say they look good.

The Bucks productivity per minute (Eff48 score) is up at every starting position. Their cumulative improvement over last year averages out to 17.12% per position. The greatest increase comes from the power forward spot where newcomer Charlie Villanueva, despite the setback with his elbow injury, has increased production by 34.8% over last year's starter, Andrew Bogut.

Here is a rundown of the numbers:

PG (+18.90%)

Mo Williams..............23.04
TJ Ford......................19.37

SG (+8.10%)

Michael Redd............26.93
Michael Redd............24.89

C (+9.6%)

Andrew Bogut............22.29
Jamaal Magliore........20.32

SF (+14.20%)

Ruben Patterson........21.91
Bobby Simmons.........19.17

PF (+34.8%)

Charlie Villanueva......32.16
Andrew Bogut.............23.85