The Bucks could have rebounding issues
Update: The Revised Bucks Win Profile contained in the previous post is now accessible. I hadn't realized it was not accessible prior to today. I've been having some trouble publishing my Google Documents on the first try, but I think I've worked out the problem.
With a projected starting line-up of Richard Jefferson, Michael Redd, Ramon Sessions, Charlie Villanueva, and Andrew Bogut, the 2008-09 Milwaukee Bucks should not lack for reliable scoring (Jefferson should be especially helpful in that regard). And I am counting on new head coach Scott Skiles to "properly motivate" the Bucks defensively. But when it comes to rebounding, I have some very serious concerns. As in: where will they come from?
As my chart illustrates, the new additions to this season's Milwaukee Bucks rotation, with the exception of point guard Ramon Sessions (technically he's not new) and the underrated guard/forward Adrian Griffin (a potentially excellent Win Contributor for the Green and Red who deserves -- and will get -- the spotlight in a future posting), have consistently undershot the NBA per minute rebounding average at their respective positions.
Among the holdovers from last season, center Andrew Bogut has shown improved rebounding numbers each season, and Charlie Villanueva has been a slightly more productive than average NBA power forward, but in general the team really lacks a dominant rebounder. And as I have mentioned in earlier postings, there were several extremely productive collegiate rebounders available to the Bucks in this summer's draft, and I was disappointed that Bucks GM John Hammond chose instead to emphasize perceived "athleticism" with his selections (though Luc Moute could yet prove big on the glass -- especially if he is used primarily at the small forward position).
So am I suggesting that rebounding will be a constant concern this season? Yes, but its hard to say that with certainty at this point. After all, I have always contended that rebounding is the result mostly of superior positioning and effort, so improved production is theoretically within the reach of every member of the Bucks '08-'09 roster. (And the addition of Coach Skiles should help bolster that.) Besides, several prominent Bucks have shown they have the capacity to rebound at above average rates. Its just that they haven't really utilized that capacity lately.
A case in point is Richard Jefferson. Early in his career he was definitely a "plus rebounding" small forward. But since his injury two seasons ago he has been decidedly underproductive on the glass. Can he reverse that trend? I think he can. And Michael Redd was also a productive rebounder at one point in his career (actually, he was a productive player in general). Then he convinced himself that his "Redd the Gunner" persona was what brought him to big money prominence, and he since quit doing the untidy side work (such as rebounding) that is vital to producing wins in the NBA (isn't that ironic?).
So if those two players can merely reach into their Way Back Machines and reproduce the rebounding numbers of their early days, the issue might not be such a large concern for the Green and Red faithful. But if they can't -- or won't -- then that little "Hustle Board" they display at the Bradley Center -- you know, the one that includes the team's rebounding total -- well, that might prove to be a source of constant anguish for Antlerheads all winter long -- sort of like trying to bite through and then digest a Bradley Center "soft" pretzel.
Note: During my writing hiatus, I have continued to work on my Win Profiles for all 30 NBA teams. To date, I have published, I believe, around 11 or 12 of them. I have since completed about 12 more, but have not published those as of yet. I will start rolling them out shortly, and will do a compilation posting as part of my NBA season preview. The Profiles have thus far proven 94.7% accurate, so I am very pleased. And I think readers will find some of the results very interesting (for instance, the Jason Kidd trade was actually a major upgrade for the Mavericks, and the Suns defensive woes are actually centered on one man -- Amare Stoudamire, and Chris Paul's performance last season was unbelievably dominant for a player of his size).