What's Hammond's ryhme? What's his reason?
For the life of me I can not detect any logical pattern connecting the curious offseason personnel moves made by new Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond except this... he likes to collect players with little or declining productive value... and he hates physical power forwards. Hates em!! Will not touch em!!
And that bothers me. Its not that I mind the guys Hammond gave away. Not at all. Its just that I wish I could convince myself that he knew what he was doing when it came to the guys he asked for in return, or the guys he picked up in free agency, or the guys he picked up in the annual "crap shoot", errrr... NBA Draft (Sidebar: we should have started worrying when Hammond freely conceded in May that to him the draft was "a crap shoot"-- Dude!! That's not good enough. You're being paid the big bucks to make it LESS than a crap shoot. If you can't do that, we might as well go down to the Milwaukee Zoo and let Samson the Gorilla throw darts at a board.) But I can't. I just can't figure out what the hell he's doing.
Lets examine some of Hammond's "major" offseason improvements to the Bucks:
1. Richard Jefferson: Big scoring average last year masked the fact that his peripherals and his defensive numbers have been in free fall since his injury. I spotted this -- the guys on RealGM spotted this -- why didn't he see this? Perhaps Jefferson can get it all back this year, but how likely is that?
2. Joe Alexander: With safe and reliably productive power forwards on the board, Hammond rolled the dice on this workout wonder who really does nothing well on the basketball court unless there happens to be a bench press sitting idly at half court. If not, he's out of luck. He raised eyebrows with his stunningly awful play this summer in Las Vegas. He proved to watchers that he can't rebound well enough to play the power forward and he lacks the basketball versatility to play the small forward. Hey, maybe he can do routines with the Energee Dancers during timeouts.
3. Luke Ridnour: Lets face it, he may be a nice guy, but he's a decided downgrade from Mo Williams at the point guard. Mo Williams was a horrible defender, but he was a positive contributor on the offensive end. Ridnour was bad on both sides of the court. The guy plays hard, but aren't you tired of "Thanks for the effort, here's another loss", Antlerheads?
4. Malik Allen: Malik is a good defender, and would be a nice compliment to a versatile 4, but we don't have a versatile 4. Allen provides nothing on the offensive end. Poor Bogut. We thought he had it bad when he had to play next to Jamal Magliore... I bet Magliore looks like St Stephen to him about now. When is the Bucks front office going to get him someone physical who can compliment his finesse game?
I don't have time for anything more. The rest are basically more of the same... I didn't even mention Damon Jones. God, I hate that guy.
What I might have done
Faced with the same circumstances, at the helm of the Good Ship SS BucksNation, I might have done this. After making the Jefferson deal, I might have conceded that the offense would center around 4 pretty soft scorers... guys who will exclusively handle the offense -- Redd, Jefferson, Bogut, and off the bench Villanueva. Accepting that, I would have steadfastly determined to balance it off, and maximize the talents of my new coach, by making sure that every other guy I would have added to the roster would have been a glass crashing, knuckle dragging, punch you in the mouth straight up thug. Anyone remember the dudes who tried to steal Robbie Benson's scholarship in "One on One"? That's essentially the kind of player I'm referring to. Defenders and rebounders. Guys who can play Skiles ball... or Celtics ball, take your pick.
And my point guard acquisitions would not have been diminutive Tyron Lue or Luke Ridnour, and certainly not Damon Jones. I would have looked for players in the mold of Ron Harper. Guys who didn't need to score or fill up the sheets, but who could hit the boards, protect the ball, and defend like crazy. If I needed some punch from that position, I still have Ramon Sessions. Therefore anyone I would have picked up would have been a ball hawk first and foremost. Think Aaron Rouse of the Packers, except at point guard.
And at power forward, I would have drafted Joey Dorsey of Memphis rather than Alexander. I guarantee he will be a better pro. And he is the exact kind of Maurice Lucas clone I have been begging the Bucks to put next to the Aussie for years. At small forward the one move I sort of agree with Hammond on is the drafting of the Prince out of UCLA. His defensive versatility fits my vision perfectly.
Now, of course, my vision may be ridiculous bunk. And everything the Bucks fans on RealGM have written on the boards over there about what the Bucks ought to do may be bunk. But at least those fans seem to have thought about the Bucks considerable personnel problems and at least tried to come up with COGENT plans of action to address them. And that puts those Antlerheads, whom I consider the heart of Bucksnation (they're thinking Bucks Basketball twentyfourseven!!), one chess move ahead of the Bucks real real GM.