Bucks best players vs. NBA's best teams
Last night I analyzed the performances of five key Milwaukee Bucks players in games played against the NBA's Eastern and Western Conference semifinalists: Boston, Detroit, Orlando, Cleveland, New Orleans, San Antonio, Utah, and the Los Angeles Lakers. I wanted to see how the players (Redd, Bogut, Villanueva, Jefferson, and Sessions) the team is depending on performed against the Association's best competition. The results were mixed.
Here is my "Bucks vs NBA's Top 8" chart. It evaluates the five Bucks' performances in said games according to: the player's Offensive Win Score average in those games, the player's Offensive Half Wins per 48 minutes generated in those games, the player's Offensive Win Contribution in those games, and the percentage of "Good Games" he had against the Top 8 (defined as a positive Win Score). I also list the player's overall season numbers for comparisons sake. Here are a few thoughts on what I found:
Redd performs very well against the best teams. In fact, better than he does in games against the rest of the field, which might suggest a wandering focus. Indeed, Redd started the season out putting up incredible numbers against the best competition, but then tailed off badly after it became clear the Bucks were headed nowhere. We need him, as our maximum salary player, to bring it night in and night out. He should be the example for the rest to follow. Unfortunately, too often he is.
Bogut's production suffers against the better competition, but he had a stretch of games in the middle of the season where he was able to perform well above average against the Top 8. He just has to develop consistency. That said, he's never going to dominate the Association's elite, but the Bucks need him to put up his regular numbers against them and he usually doesn't.
Of the 5 Bucks analyzed, not surprisingly Villanueva performed the worst against the best competition, and had the highest number of "bad" performances in those games. He just isn't a big time player. He's more of an occasional tease.
Jefferson's performance against the Top 8 was in line with his performance generally last season: normally gaudy, with little positive result. He would usually get his points in those games, but he didn't do much secondarily, and he turned the ball over too much. Mix in a slew of unusually bad shooting nights, and the numbers for RJ get ugly.
Lets not get carried away by Sessions numbers against the Top 8 teams. He produced them in a limited number of games, and exclusively in games played near the end of the season. Nevertheless, he produced them. That's the bottom line. The Bucks may have found yet another big talent in Round 2 of the NBA's draft. If he can just pick up his defense, and continue along the path he's on, he's going to be a good one.