Buck Droppings: Bucks look... well, awful
I'm not going to go crazy here, because it is the preseason, but the Bucks look terrible. Their offense is basically non-existent (when are they going to flip the switch?) and their defense last week looked suspiciously like the '06 model Green and Red.
In three road games, the Bucks were destroyed by double digits three times. They didn't even look competitive. Their offense remained as awful as it was the week prior and has been all throughout the preseason (91.85 pts/100 possessions) while their defense sprung some severe leaks (105.72), dropping nearly ten points per 100 possessions from the week before. Again, I know its preseason, but aren't you supposed to be getting better as the season approaches?
Dan Gadzuric had a nice week filling in at center for Andrew Bogut. In fact, he's had a decent overall training camp. So why do I get so nervous whenever he enters the game?
Maybe its because he reminds me of one of those guys in high school who only played basketball because someone told them "Hey, you're pretty tall... you should try out for basketball". You know what I mean by that? One of those countless vertically advantaged guys who couldn't dribble, couldn't shoot, couldn't pass, couldn't think on the floor... guys who when they got a couple minutes on the hardwood would run as fast as they could and jump as high as they could and look a little manic, if not spastic, doing it. That's Gadzuric.
Yet give the man his due. He rolls on. What's kept him in the NBA and made him a handsome living is his sheer desire and his huge motor. He wants rebounds and he gets them. He wants to block shots and he often does. And if the Bucks had one decent playmaker on their roster who could set the table for him, he would be a pretty productive player (he misses TJ Ford and Toni Kukoc badly). Last year he had the least productive season of his career, but it was almost entirely due to the Bucks lack of a playmaker.
I still would rather he wasn't out there, though.
Villanueva at the crossroads
I really feel like the Bucks Charlie Villanueva is at a crossroads this season. Its time for him to shit or get off the pot. Is he going to continue on the path to being the next mediocre Stacy King, or will he set a new trajectory and fulfill his potential as a somewhat less dynamic, yet equally productive, version of Terry Cummings? He can do it. But he has to get tough and get serious and get assertive if he's going to reach that ceiling.
Rosen sees something in the Green and Red
I used to enjoy reading Charley Rosen. But after I while I just couldn't take his writing style anymore. Its so disjointed and so full of coachspeak and honky street lingo, it becomes unreadable. And normally he's a Buck hater.
Not this season, though. Oh, he gets his standard "he's so unathletic" cheapshot in on Andrew Bogut, but he also says there's a "lot to like" about the "somewhat rebuilt" Bucks. He then goes on to destroy his own credibility by praising Charlie Bell's shooting (he shot 43% last year) and... I don't get this one... Desmond Mason's ability to "power his way to double digits". Is that a euphemism for "he can't shoot"?
I do like and agree with his praise for Coach K, though. Its effusive. He calls Krisco "one of the most promising young coaches in captivity." (Don't ask me what the hell that metaphor is supposed to mean-- are some coaches living in the wild?).
Somebody convince me Mason is an upgrade
I just don't get the love for Desmond Mason. From the Journal-Sentinel to Charley Rosen to the attendant at the gas station I frequent, everyone thinks Desmond Mason is a huge addition to the Bucks. I don't get it. What does he do well? Or, more specifically, what does he do better than Ruben Patterson... the guy we let walk in favor of Mason?
Everyone sort of implies that Mason's going to bring this "energy and athleticism". Were any of them watching the Pirahna last season? He was all energy and athleticism.
Lets compare the two, going right down the list provided by 82games.com. Ruben Patterson was the better jump shooter, if you can believe it (38% to Mason's 28%). Patterson was the much better overall shooter (eFG of 55% vs. Mason's eFG 45.3%). Ruben had the better 82games.com Passer Rating (5.2 vs. Mason's 1.2). Ruben had the better 82games.com Rebounder Rating (18.4 vs. 14.1 for Mason). Ruben was a much better ballhandler according to 82games.com (His rating was 12.0, Mason's was 5.6). Both of them were overrated on defense, with Patterson being slightly less so ( Opposition's small forward: 51.5% eFG vs. 51.8% eFG for Mason).
And when it comes to overall production, there is no comparison at all. In 30.7 mins/game, Ruben produced an excellent Eff48 of 24.41. In 34.5 mins/game, Desmond produced an awful Eff48 of 14.12. When you consider that the median Eff48 for players who averaged more than 20 mins/game was 19.64, you can see how unproductive Mason was. Shoot, David Noel (15.17) had a better Eff48 than Mason, and Noel is playing his way out of the Association.
Sweet 2007-08 Bucks Promotional Schedule
The Bucks used to have the lamest giveaway nights in sports. I love any kind of Bucks nicknacks, and I didn't want anything they had on offer. In the last couple of years, they've really stepped up their game.
This year, with the 40th anniversary and all, they've really got a nice list of promotional nights.
First and foremost in popularity will be their Bobblehead nights. They will pay off big. Especially since this season the Bucks are giving away some intriguing "Bucks Legend" bobblehead nights that could be sweet (how sweet would it be if they went off the reservation a little with their definition of "legend"... how about Pressey?... Mokeski?... Dandridge?... Pierce?... Marques? I'm sure they'll stick with the officially sanctioned legends, though... you know, the guys whose numbers are up in the BC rafters... which is fine).
The only thing that I think they got wrong on the promos was their pennant nights. This is a completely personal gripe, though. For some reason, I love pennants and this season they have three pennant giveaways that, if they're full size pennants, I would love to add to my small Bucks den pennant collection. They're giving away a 1971 World championship pennant, a 1974 Western Conference championship pennant, and a 40th anniversary pennant. I've never seen any of those on the market anywhere. But the problem for me is, each of the pennant nights are 14 and under giveaways, so I'm going to have to use some strategery to get my hands on those.
The most intriguing giveaway night on the list: "The Andrew Bogut Take Charge Inflatable" night. I don't even want to know.
Bucks Season Preview coming... possibly
I'm going to try to do a preview before Tuesday, but I promise nothing. But I'll try.