Andre Gomes NBA Milwaukee Bucks 2010-2011 Season Preview

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Andre Gomes NBA Milwaukee Bucks 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009/10 Season Review:

No other team in the NBA was able to overachieve like the Bucks overachieved last season. I remember that the oddmakers had the Bucks to win 26/27 games, but they ended the regular season with a 46-36 record and a trip to the Playoffs where they forced the Hawks to a pivotal game 7 to clinch the series.

The supposedly franchise face of this team Michael Redd played only 18 games, so the Bucks had to rely in multiple pieces to carry the team. Head Coach Scott Skiles finished second in the Coach of the Year voting and he entirely deserved such high distinction. Actually it’s almost hard to believe, but the Bucks were the second best defensive team in the league! If you look to their roster they don’t have exactly a group of stingy defenders, so it was all about team work and playing in the same page and that’s why Skiles was terrific last season.

Even when Andrew Bogut went down with a season ending injury, the Bucks were still a terrific defensive team. Their problem however was in the other side of the ball: offense! The Bucks struggled to shot the ball as their 43.5% from the field was the second worst mark in the league. They also scored only 37.1 points in the paint per game – third worst mark, so basically the Bucks were a mere jump shooting team that didn’t shoot well on the offensive end of the floor.

Although the spotlight from last season is attributed to rookie Brandon Jennings in my opinion it was John Salmons that was the real X factor in this team. To put it simple: when Salmons arrived in Milwaukee in the last day of the trade deadline the Bucks had a 25-28 record so with him on the court the Bucks went 21-8 to end the regular season!

It was a magical season for a team with low expectations, but it showed how the hard work and team togetherness can really work in professional sports.

2009/10 Advanced Stats:

Pace                16th 95.8
Offense Eff.        23th 101.9
Defense Eff.       2nd 100.2
Rebounds         17th +0.18

2010/11 Outlook:

Projected Depth Chart:

PG: Brandon Jennings, Keyon Dooling, Earl Boykins        
SG: John Salmons, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Michael Redd        
SF: Carlos Delfino, Corey Maggette, Darington Hobson        
PF: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Drew Gooden, Ersan Ilyasova,Larry Sanders
C: Andrew Bogut, Tiny Gallon, Jon Brockman

Despite enjoying a terrific season, Bucks General Manager John Hammond didn’t rest on the team laurels from last season. Instead they made some moves to improve their weaknesses: offense, interior presence and more depth to compete in a long 82-games season. They traded for small forward Corey Maggette, inked power forward Drew Gooden to a five-year contract in free agency and re-signed John Salmons to a five-year deal. They also made some “minor” changes upgrading their perimeter with Keyon Dooling and Chris Douglas-Roberts and finally they drafted power forward Larry Sanders in the draft.

Last season Head Coach Scott Skiles handed the keys of his club to a rookie point guard and Brandon Jennings took the responsibility and showed an unexpected maturity for such young age. Statistically speaking his 37.1% shooting mark is way off to be a good number in an era where the league’s top point guards are shooting around 50%, his body started to feel the fatigue of playing 33-minutes every night as a rookie and in January and February he hit the wall by shooting 32.4 and 30.7% from the field. Also he had a solid number of 5.7 assists per game, but his 2.4 turnovers per game weren’t pretty to watch and monitor. So, what made Jennings so special with these kind of numbers? Well it’s all about leading a team and being mentally competitive for the entire season. Other rookies in the league playing for lowly teams had some periods of time where they could relax a bit without playing defense or being sloppy on the offensive end, Jennings didn’t have this luxury, as he played in the second best defensive team in he league! If he can improve his shooting numbers then the Bucks won’t certainly be at the bottom of the league in shooting %.

When Jennings didn’t play well, Scott Skiles had in Luke Ridnour a solid backup point guard. He’s now in Minnesota and the Bucks have Keyon Dooling and Earl Boykins behind Jennings now. I’m a bit concerned about this rotation because I don’t think that any of these two players is an upgrade over Ridnour, so the Bucks are really expecting Jennings to raise his level.

At the Shooting Guard position, the Bucks didn’t want to wait for a healthy Michael Redd and they threw $39 million at John Salmons this summer. In fact I don’t think that Redd will be playing again in Milwaukee, so John Salmons will be the uncontested player in this position. Since acquiring Salmons from the Chicago Bulls last season, Milwaukee has made him a focal point of the offense, as he averaged 19.9 points per game, while shooting 46.7% from the field. He was having a terrible first half of season in Chicago, so it was nice rebound for him. At thirty-years old, Salmons is on his prime and the Bucks are hoping that he can carry the load and eventually he will be the team’s leading scorer once again next season.

The Bucks also added Chris Douglas-Roberts and CDR can play both at SG and SF, as he is a versatile forward. He didn’t have the best of the experiences in New Jersey, but he has the upside to be a real solid player in this league. Luckily for him he will play for Scott Skiles and he can develop smoothly into a good player.

At the Small Forward position, the Bucks is stocked with plenty of different weapons. Corey Maggette is the biggest offseason acquisition and he had a career-year last year, as it pertained to his percentages - 51.6% from the field. The Bucks badly needed some offensive help and he can be that “guy”. However let’s not forget that Maggette during his career played mainly for losing record teams, so his competitiveness and toughness will be tested this season.

That’s why I believe that Maggette will be the sixth man of this team, as Carlos Delfino will start at Small Forward. Delfino made a nice comeback in the NBA last season by averaging 11.0ppg, 5.3rpg and 2.7apg, however it was his extreme intensity at the defensive end where he helped more the team.

Andrew Bogut was the leader of an underrated frontcourt and he was having a breakout season before a terrible tumble knocked him out of action within weeks of the start of the playoffs. He was averaging 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, but it was his brutal awesome defense that earned the spotlight around the league. To put it simple he went from averaging one block per game in 08-09 to 2.54 bpg last season, trailing only Dwight Howard in the whole league! Unfortunately the pain in his elbow will likely linger throughout this season, so the Bucks must have solid options to give Bogut some rest during the season.

They signed free agent Drew Gooden to add more depth in the frontcourt. Gooden’s career has been a classic example of a journeyman, but apparently he found a home in Milwaukee. He isn’t a top player, but he can bring solid numbers across the board, as he’s a high-percentage player who rebounds well and play some defense. Having the confidence in the ballclub will help him establish an missing identity and the Bucks need him to be a complete team.

Behind Bogut and Gooden, the Bucks have an array of promising young players to complete the backcourt.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was the starting Power Forward most of the time and he was a key piece of the stingy Bucks defense last season even though he is undersized for the position. Ersan Ilyasova returned to the and developed into a well-rounded player, as he played in different positions averaging 10.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, despite playing only 23 minutes per game. Recently he led his country (Turkey) into the FIBA World Cup finals by averaging 13.4ppg and 7.6rpg, so we are dealing with an extremely confident player going for this season.

The Bucks also selected Larry Sanders within the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft and the Bucks have another young player that can be a solid contributor in the future.

The Bucks are a pure classic example of a team that despite not having a true Superstar player, they have a complete and deep roster and if they can be solid defensively like they were last season, they will fight for the division and maybe having home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

  • Bad news regarding Bogut's injury:

    "I might not be 100% the whole year," said Bogut.

    "The elbow, finger, everything; I won't be 100%, so I'll have to play through the pain through the season. Even once it gets better, I'm still going to be 90% for the year or 85%.

    "I don't have my mobility and flexibility like I should, but I just have to adjust to it."

    Bogut was asked if that would make him apprehensive about getting hit when he does play.

    "I hope not," he said.

  • Brockman has a big body despite being undersized for the position he plays. However like you correctly said he’s a hustle guy, never giving up for any play and Skiles loves this kind of player. I expect Bogut to have a slow start this season and Big Brock will have some chances early on to establish himself in the team.  

  • you have him listed as third-string, but keep an eye on brockman this year...he's going to fill the high-energy scrapping, dive-for-loose-balls intensity that skiles loves...mark it down - he will become a kind of cult-hero in a working-class city like milwaukee, and even though he won't put up big numbers, guys like that are invaluable...think back to the 2001 bucks that went to the eastern finals - they had the same type of player in scott williams, whose suspension during that series played a huge part of the sixers advancing....bucks are very deep this year, and guys like brockman will be valuable