Green and Red Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down
Let's call a spade a spade. This has not been a great start to the exhibition season for the Milwaukee Bucks. It may indeed be the preseason, but at some point you just have to say this is pure garbage.
Coming out of tonight's latest humiliating exhibition loss to the Detroit Pistons, the Milwaukee Bucks team Win Score average per game for the four preseason games stands at a paltry 24.9, miles below last season's NBA team average of 43.6. I would venture to say you can't win any games in the NBA with an offense that is that inefficient. It will get better. It HAS to get much, much better. And it has to do so rather quckly.
On the other end of the court, the news isn't that much better. The Bucks' opponents hold a collective Win Score average of 47.3. Again, that is above last season's NBA average, and just about the same number, I believe, that the Bucks defense yielded last season. Needless to say, they have to do better on defense as well, and I suspect they will.
Here's my Green and Red Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down for Week One of the Exhibition Season:
1. The Prince: I like what I am seeing from Bucks rookie Luc Moute. He is a small forward who seems to defend with tenacity, has length, and really gets to the boards. He just can't shoot worth a damn. Someone, a Moute fan from UCLA, emailed over the summer warning me that Moute has a tendency to view himself as a shooter when that is not warranted. We saw some of that the other night when he went a Godawful 1for12 (wouldn't you quit after say... oh... 8 misses??). But i love his tenacity and productivity. He's rebounding at a .18 per minute rate. That's excellent for a swingman. Thus far, Moute has clearly outshown fellow rookie Joe Alexander, who doesnt look ready to contribute anything to the Green and Red.
2. Dan Gadzuric: Welcome back, Gadzureeeeech!! Well, maybe. The Dunking Dutchman, and number one Buck to former Buck blogger Sam (whatever happened to Sam??) has had a pretty good camp so far. Going into the Pistons game last night, he was one of the few Bucks to post a positive Win Contribution (I'll do a chart soon... right now its soooooo ugly it would just be discouraging). Perhaps the competition from another Dutchman (Francisco Elson is Dutch I believe) got his engine revved. He always had it in him. Don't forget, before the Bucks basically put Gadzuric on mothballs, he was a HUGE offensive Win Contributor. More so than Redd in the Bucks second to last playoff season. I should do a post someday illustrating that in greater detail.
1. Ramon Sessions: With Luke Ridnour out, it was all there for Sessions. He had his opportunity to impress new coach Scott Skiles. He blew it so bad, he may have run himself out of the rotation. Going into Saturday night's action, he had shot so badly, and had so many turnovers, he had ZERO Win Score points in 100 minutes of preseason action. That won't get it done, son.
2. Richard Jefferson: Thus far this exhibition season, he's been horrible. The one thing I was looking for was a resurgence of RJ's rebouding. Well, in 52 minutes of action, he has exactly 5 rebounds. That stinks. There has likewise been no resurgence of the old multi-faceted Jefferson. This RJ looks for his shot, and that's it.
3. The Defense: Clearly, Scotty Ball has not taken hold in Milwaukee. The team's Oppo Win Score is now hovering near 50.0, which is abysmal. Have we asked too much of Skiles? Can he truly turn water into wine?
4. Joe Alexander: Thus far he's lived down to the low billing he's gotten here on Bucks Diary. If ever I wanted a guy to shove my analysis down my throat, it was this guy, but he hasn't. He looks like, to quote Dennis Green, what we thought he was... a NO rebound, timid power forward... kind of like that Chinese guy we had... what was his name?? When will these talent evaluators ever learn?? Athleticism doesn't win basketball games. It just gets general managers fired. Efficient productivity wins basketball games.
5. Andrew Bogut: In those ridiculuous 3 man team pictures the NBA makes teams do, Bogut posed with RJ and Michael Redd and looked, frankly, a bit pudgy. Coming off his ankle injury its understandable, but his play is way down, and we need it to get up quick. In three games, including last night, his Offensive Win Contribution stands at -0.518, which is terrible, and I venture to guess his defensive contribution is no great shakes either.