Bucks Diary

Sunday, March 11, 2007

They Bucked up another lead



At 23-40, the Bucks still haven't totally packed it in, and that's commendable. They just can't hold leads anymore. Last night they fought the good fight against the East's rising power, the Cleveland Cavaliers, had them down big late, let them back in, and then came up just short. Heard that story before?

Of course, the 12 point fourth quarter lead would have held up just fine had Milwaukee gotten anything at all from the normally reliable Mo Williams, the lately reliable Charlie Bell, or the hard-to-figure-out Charlie Villanueva (he had a negative Eff48 game, the first such qualifying game since I started doing the Eff48 boxscore. Although, Larry Hughes had a big fat zero last night, too.). But none of the three were on their game Saturday at the BC. And yet it almost didn't matter.

That's because the contest boiled down to a battle between four players of similar backgrounds but different pedigrees. Cleveland had native Ohioan and former top pick LeBron James along with journeyman former lottery pick Donyell Marshall, and the Bucks had a pair of super second rounders, Ohioan Michael Redd and the spectacular journeyman Pirahna, Ruben Patterson. In the end, the Cavs had just a bit more. But not by much.

No worries. The bitter loss actually helps the Bucks (lottery odds-wise). And that's where the game's at right now, isn't it? I'd still like a bit more consistent play out of Villanueva, though, since he is quite clearly one of the Bucks building blocks. But that may come.

What is Charlie V anyway?

Parenthetically, I'm beginning to wonder where Charlie V's natural position lies, or indeed if he even has one. He's sort of got what I call "Ralph Sampson's Disease", an illness effecting athletically inclined big men who seem physically suited to play in the paint, but can't seem to always find their way there. The symptoms include an aversion to areas near the basket, a severe distaste for banging, and an uncontrollable desire to drift outside and launch the long range jumper. Which leaves the question. What is Charlie V? A soft power forward (who doesn't play down low), or a big small forward (who can't check the association's legitimate small forwards)? The answer to that question will have a large impact on the Bucks' future plans.

Fear the Pirahna

With all the things that have gone wrong for the Bucks in '06-'07, the one thing that has gone very right is the Pirahna, Ruben Patterson. Dude is 6'5'' in shoes, has no jump shot range, and yet leads the Bucks in field goal percentage (55.1%). How does he do it? By displaying Bernard King-like creativity in attacking the basket. He's beautiful to watch down low. Oh, and he is the Bucks best face-up defender, and, when the game's on the line, he always checks up on the other team's go-to option. That's called ballin' baby.

Andrew "Needs Improvement" at the line

I can understand most of Andrew Bogut's limitations, save one. On sight inspection alone, he ought to be a better than 50/50 free throw shooter. Its not like he's shot-putting the ball Shaq-style. He's got a good routine (he always spins the ball into his hands), pretty good looking stroke, nice rotation, and shitty results. He clearly has the capacity to be at least a 70-75% thrower, but, to be honest, his history doesn't suggest he can reach that goal.

Regretting Hughes?

How sweet would the Cavaliers be if they had signed Redd and bypassed the Useless Larry Hughes? Its scary to think about. Meanwhile, Hughes is absolutely stealing money. I keep hearing pundits say how great he is "when he's right". When is this guy ever right? Last night he had more turnovers than points. For his career he has a mediocre Eff48 of 21.23, since coming to Cleveland he has a weak Eff48 of 16.94, and for the year he has the miserable Eff48 of 15.33. Detecting a pattern? And the guy is the 27 highest paid player in the Association, and is making more money than Michael Redd! If I were King James, I would petition to have him exiled from my kingdom.

Bucks Diary Eff48 Boxscore

92
Patterson................................................44.57
Redd......................................................27.60
Bogut.....................................................24.61
Skinner...................................................24.00
Bell........................................................06.48
Williams...................................................03.89
Villanueva...............................................-(02.52)

94
James
........................................................48.00
Marshall......................................................36.57
Gooden.......................................................25.84
Ilgauskas.....................................................25.26
Varejao......................................................24.82
Pavlovic......................................................10.66
Snow..........................................................07.38
Hughes........................................................00.00

Photo Credit: AP/Morry Gash

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