Bucks Diary

Friday, June 27, 2008

BucksNation: Where a billion fewer fans happens

I just thought of something. Remember how last season the Bucks were making such a big deal out of the "one billion" new Bucks fans? Does that mean BucksNation just experienced a population decline of epic proportions? I guess so.

I say good riddance to them. Those "billion new fans" weren't really Bucks fans at all, and anyway, I was a little annoyed at the way the Bucks marketing campaign focused on their Chinese pseudo fanbase at the expense of the hardcore Antlerhead lifers who comprise the heart and soul of BucksNation.

Back to Yesterday's Trade

Yesterday I hastily produced a Win Chart comparing the 2007-08 performance of Richard Jefferson with that of Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. The chart had all the correct information, but I put it together so fast it turned out unreadable. I apologize. Let me reset that with a new and better chart.

Reviewing the Conclusions Drawn

The chart basically outlines the below average contribution made to the Nets by Richard Jefferson and the even further below average contributions made to the Bucks by Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons.

Technically, Richard Jefferson's play had a slightly more negative impact on the Nets success than either Yi or Simmons individually had on the Bucks success. But that's only because Jefferson played a lot more minutes than either Yi or Simmons. In fact his percentage of Net playing minutes about equaled the combined percentage of Buck minutes consumed by Yi and Simmons. Technically then, if you add Yi's Win Contribution with Simmons' Win Contribution and compare that new number to Jefferson's Win Contribution, you get a better picture of the present value of the trade for each team. (Correction: Bobby Simmons play was actually so bad that even though he consumed half the playing time that Jefferson consumed, he had a larger negative impact on the Bucks than Jefferson had on the Nets.)

As I said yesterday, the ultimate "winner" or "loser" of this trade will be determined by two things: whether Jefferson can get back to his old elite level of play and whether Yi's level of play can ascend. If neither event happens, then the trade will have provided a slight advantage to the Bucks. If, on the other hand, Jefferson can resurrect himself, the Bucks will have made a great trade. But, if Jefferson continues his downward descent and Yi's play ascends in the same manner as Yao's or Dirk Nowitzki's did (each took a huge leap upward in production following their rookie seasons) then the Bucks will have made yet another colossal blunder.

That said, local sports director Joe Schmidt made an interesting point on the radio this morning. If you think about it, Yi was something of a lazy malingerer. Around midseason he came up with a slew of excuses and wussified injuries that he seemed unwilling (rather than unable) to play through. In fact, as Schmidt pointed out, at the time of his injuries Yi made comments indicating he was more interested in getting ready to play in the Olympics than he was in helping the Bucks.

I guess I kind of gave Yi a "cultural differences" pass on that one. I probably would not have if he were an American player. In fact, I know I would not have. Maybe the Bucks are better off without Yi no matter what direction his career takes. Of course, if he becomes an All-Star, however unlikely that will be, no one will remember his malingering attitude, they'll just remember that the Bucks traded him after one season.


At June 27, 2008 at 5:55 PM, Anonymous paulpressey25 said...

I've been thinking about this as well. If 100 million Chinese are watching your game but your team still loses, was it a win?

No question the Bucks sold Yi while he still had 80 cents left on the dollar. While he could get much better, he also could be the same guy. If that's the case, those 100 million viewers will quickly get bored watching the new "Wang Zhi Zhi" play his 15 minutes and score his 8 points.

The whole Yao phenomena is based on the fact Yao is a star. I just couldn't see China staying with "Brad Lohaus" if that is what Yi remains as.

At June 27, 2008 at 8:07 PM, Blogger TCW said...

That's weird. I was thinking the same exact thing. I wonder how many Chinese actually continued to watch when it was clear Yi was a run-of-the-mill talent? There's no way Americans would religiously follow some American soccer star that went to the Premier League and basically was the fifth best player on his team. Are Chinese people that much different?

At June 27, 2008 at 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although remember Yi had his best games in December, then his shot fell off a little and we could say it was because of opposing defenses, but the Bucks would later say it was the shoulder throwing off his shot. I wouldn't dispute the point that he could have found ways to play and contribute though, especially since he was the only one beside Bogut regularly making any kind of positive defensive impact.

I'm not panicked about losing Yi. It did stand out at the Rookie/Sophomore game when Chuck went out of his way to praise him even though he had about zero impact on the proceedings. Not that he's never been wrong. And maybe he was looking at a ceiling of nice shot, scoring and some help defense and blocks. While we hoped for an all-around monster that wasn't likely to appear.

So I've been looking all over for something positive to seize on about Jefferson and not really finding it, I would kind of like to challenge you to do it but I'm sure you've looked at everything already, but maybe it's pretty good and all right the way it is.

I didn't like Hammond's rationale that Fegan would want a lot of money in a couple years, but what was he supposed to say I guess. I'm far from sold on him but he gets his fair chance.

At June 28, 2008 at 9:49 AM, Anonymous Paulpressey25 said...

The hard part on this trade is trying to figure out Yi's mental game. As noted above, Yi could have contributed more when his shot stopped falling but didn't.

Last year he just didn't seem like he enjoyed being on the court nor did he have the demeanor that he wanted the floor to tilt in his direction.

You can argue that our cesspool of a team environment was the cause of this, but it didn't hold back Ramon Sessions from wanting to "kick ass" on the court.

Was that unhappiness with Milwaukee in particular? Was it Yi's nature? Can Yi ever have a killer mentality on the court against tough NBA competition?

That to me is the biggest answer as to whether we win or lose this trade in the years ahead.

But at least now Yi can stay out in Manhattan nightclubs until 4am while driving his sportscar.


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