You know what your name is? I'll tell you what your name is. Your name is "you're wanting", because you can't play this man's game; You can't close em. -- Blake (Alec Baldwin) from Glengarry Glen Ross
With Michael Redd back in the lineup, the Bucks are still only good enough to lose -- whether its a muck-in-the-mud game like Tuesday's loss to Detroit, or an ABA style shootout like last night's loss to the Indiana Pacers. They can come close, but they just can't close. They're wanting.
Last night was the same old story as its been throughout the new year. The Bucks were thoroughly outplayed upfront. Outrebounded, outshot, outworked... the whole nine yards. This is starting to get comical. I mean, how many times am I going to have to read a box score and see that an opponents PF grabbed a ton of rebounds, scored above his average, and did so with very few missed shots (meaning very little resistance)? That's what happened last night again. In a nutshell: the Pacers bigs put up big, big numbers, while the Bucks got below average production from Bogut and Patterson, and I think Skinner might have missed the flight to Indiana. Also, for the second night in a row, the Bucks got crushed on the boards.
Mo better Mo
On the plus side, Mo Williams broke out of his personal slump with a terrific game. He's been struggling lately, but not last night. Redd gets all the props, but Williams, when he's on his game, can be as productive as any Buck. The key for him is to think assists, scavenge rebounds, and get his shot to fall early.
Redd clutch, but not sharp
A lot of people think because I'm obsessed with the Eff48 statistic I must be like one of those baseball nerds who sits in his parents basement with equations dancing in his head, pondering the formula for world domination. Not so. Not at all. I actually hate math. Why do I use the arcane formula? Because the traditional basketball statistics are totally misleading, especially points per game. I hate them. Not only are they misleading, they provide perverse incentives. Michael Redd is the classic example of what I mean.
Take Michael Redd's game last night. Yeah, he scored 38, and hit some unbelievably clutch shots down the stretch, and, yeah, he's guaranteed to get some nice run on Sportscenter, but, believe it or not, he really had a below average game! Why? He was hurting the Bucks almost as much as he was helping them.
First, he missed more shots than he made (13-for-28). That's poor. He also missed 3 free throws. Then he turned the ball over 5 times. So, while Redd did score 38, he was also responsible for somewhere around 22 empty trips that could have resulted in 44 or more points for the Bucks. On top of that, he contributed a mere 2 assists and 1 rebound. Your max guy has to do better than that. (that's the one thing that is so aggravating about Redd. How do you handle the ball so many times, draw so much defensive attention, and still leave the court with only 2 assists?? Was he wearing horse blinders? And, when you are responsible for so many missed shots, how do you only get one rebound? The shooter has the best idea where the carom will bound. I just think Redd only cares about scoring.)
Eff48 is hardly a perfect statistic. But I just think its a more interesting and more definitive means of evaluating each player's performance. Therefore, I am going to make an effort to calculate and post Eff48 box scores after every remaining Bucks game.
One final point. Imagine if Eff48 were the predominant statistic in basketball, rather than scoring. If that were the case, I'd bet you dollars to donuts Michael Redd's game would change dramatically. He would finally have an incentive to pass up some of those piss poor shots he takes, because he would realize those shots have a very low percentage of going in, and thus are likely to actually cost him important statistical points. In fact, he might even think about looking for and passing the ball to an open teammate. I'm serious, it could happen.
What's happened to Earl the Pearl?
The return of Redd has thus far coincided with the disappearance of Earl Boykins. He is totally lost on the court. He has contributed next to nothing since the All-Star break.
He can't find his role. Redd is eating up the shots he had when he arrived from Denver, and he can't adjust. Strangely, for a little guy, he isn't much of a playmaker. It seems a waste. With his quickness he could open things up for his teammates. But that doesn't appear to be his game. He's more comfortable looking for his own opportunities, or having his teammates set him up. Its odd, but he seems to be a 5'5'' shooting guard.
Bell going the other way... kind of
While the Pearl is sinking, Bell is rising. So to speak. To quote The Doors, he's been down so goddamn long that it looks like up to him. Since the All-Star break he's actually put together what could be considered -- for him -- two productive games. He's still having a horrible season, though. But its not too late for him to redeem it. He started his productive push about the same time last year.
Eff48 Box Score