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NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

Posted on: August 23, 2010 7:26 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2010 9:34 am
 
Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We kick off our Pop Quiz series with the following question...

Is Milwaukee Legit?


The Bucks had terrible prospects going into last season. Considered an Eastern-Conference also-ran, with a questionable "centerpiece" center in Andrew Bogut and a reach of a first-rounder in Brandon Jennings, no one expected them to succeed. And yet, despite all the criticisms constantly lobbed at Scott Skiles, his team did what his teams do best. They defended like samurai, attacked the glass, and won far more games than they were expected to. Additionally, Brandon Jennings made a legitimate push for Rookie of the Year, an award he likely would have won were it not for Tyreke Evans' historic performance (with apologies to Stephen Curry's wheeling and dealing). Jennings had nights where his questionable shot selection, fueled by the kind of confident sense of bravado you want in your superstar, hurt the team, but more often than not, he proved himself exactly what the team has needed for a decade: a true star.

But that was last season. And after Andrew Bogut's arm injury has him still trying to fight through rehab
, the question has to be asked. Are the Bucks legit, or was last season the type of spike that fans will look back on as the high point, followed by a long slide back to the margins?  If we're going to try and suss out the answer, we need to look at their strengths and weaknesses.

The Bucks were the fourth best defense last season (we're talking defensive efficiency here, don't fall for the fallacy of points per game, which doesn't account for pace). They were fourth in opponents' turnover ratio but only tenth in opponents' field goal percentage (45.1%). But very relevant? They were fourth best at defending at the rim . That's got a lot to do with Bogut, who was an absolute iron curtain down low. But Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and even Dan Gadzuric were all good at attacking anyone that dared challenge the Bucks at the iron. They were also sixth in three-point defense. What this means is that the two most efficient areas on the floor, the Bucks were exceptional at. Their only real area of problems, defensively? 10-15 Feet, where they were dead last in field goal percentage allowed. So the Bucks really needed to upgrade their wing and mid-range defenders.

Which is fitting, because similarly their wing offense was also where they desperately needed help. The Bucks' offense in general was a mess , but with Jennings and Bogut, they at least have cornerstones to work with. The addition John Salmons was significant for improving their scoring distribution, and Carlos Delfino proved to be a valuable asset as well. The best news for the Bucks is that they improved precisely at that position, filling in for the injured now-trade-chip Michael Redd with Corey Maggette, while only losing Gadzuric and seldom-used wing Charlie Bell.

The Bucks improved at the position they needed to, adding both Salmons (and subsequently re-signing him) and also added a ton of muscle down low by drafting Larry Sanders and adding Drew Gooden in free agency. While Gooden's usage is a bit high, he does provide somewhat of a backup plan in case Andrew Bogut continues to struggle recovering from the arm injury. That said, just as it was in the playoffs, this team's chances are tied to Bogut. Bogut has to not only recover, but re-assume his position as a premier big man in the league if the Bucks are going to repeat their success of last year. Similarly, Brandon Jennings has to take a step forward, grow a sense that maybe that off-balance 18-foot jumper on the run is not the best option offensively for this particular moment of time, regardless of how hot he "feels."

This is a team sound throughout its principles and structure. But its superstars will have to take steps forward if they're going to keep pace with the rest of an improved Eastern Conference.

Finally, the real test for if this team is legit is if Skiles manages to get the same effort night after night from this team that he did last season. There's been a pattern with Skiles' losing the ears of his players with the incessant yelling and discipline, and it'll be up to him to show some restraint and trust. Not exactly something he's known for. But Skiles has improved in his coaching style, so it's not out of the realm of possibility.

At the end of the day, the Bucks won with defense, rebounding, a dynamic point guard and stellar center. That's a formula that's been relied on to win. Throw in the fact that they added to their team while losing no essential component, and while it's not a sure thing, it's safe to say you can legitimately fear the deer for another year. That was an unfortunate rhyme.

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Comments

Since: Feb 22, 2007
Posted on: August 26, 2010 3:50 pm
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

The Bucks are a legitimate playoff team, there it ends.



Since: Jul 30, 2008
Posted on: August 25, 2010 1:38 pm
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

ok here are my predictions

1- Miami
2- Orlando
3- Bucks
4- Celtics
5- Hawks
6- Bulls
7- Bobcats
8- knicks/Cavs

the reasons i say the bucks will be a 3 seed are
-Andrew Bogut coming back and we will be a powerhouse inside of the paint especially with the addition of Drew Gooden
-The cavs have lost lebron James and the bulls i believe just have too many random parts and not a "team" like the bucks do
-Re-signing of John Salmons is HUGE we needed to re-sign him in order to have a chance of being back in the playoffs
-The bucks have some of the best 3 point shooters in delfino, ilyasova, jennings, and salmons.
and last but not least
-SCOTT SKILES! he has made this team a defensive minded team and they love it!



Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: August 25, 2010 2:58 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

Well Milwaukee is not better than Boston and not better than Orlando...... They are probably not better than Miami... They are similar to the Bulls... to me they are better than the Hawks and Bobcats...they will be better this year than last you and I would not be surprised to see them in Round 2.



Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: August 24, 2010 11:35 pm
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

You do not need to put an 's' on the end of certain team's names. For example, the Orlando Magic is already plural...



Since: Jan 4, 2009
Posted on: August 24, 2010 11:07 pm
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

FEAR THE DEER.





ahahahahahhahaha



Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: August 24, 2010 8:35 pm
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

cavs fighting it out for a playoff spot?
HAHAHAHA
what a dream

the cavs are probably the worst team in the central



Since: Aug 24, 2010
Posted on: August 24, 2010 7:19 pm
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?


Doubtless the Bucks wing defense will improve, with new personnel, but the real question remains the same.  How will Bogut fare following his injury?  As usual in these matters we really don't even know the extent of the injury, as the mri and other tests are cloacked in the jargon of trainers, instead of stardard medical terminology.  We know what a fracture is, but the matter of ligamentous damage is graded by degrees of severity.  What surgery was done and during the course of his rehab, if he's had some joint swelling, as reported, we don't even know if the mri has been repeated and if so, the up or down results.         



Since: Aug 24, 2010
Posted on: August 24, 2010 2:18 pm
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

Have I lost my mind?  Didn't the Bucks lose to the Hawks in the FIRST Round, meaning they didn't make it to the second?  I do agree that they will hover somewhere in that 4th-6th slot....



Since: Jun 22, 2010
Posted on: August 24, 2010 11:56 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

Obviously the answer is yes. They showed this when they went to the second round of the playoffs without Andrew Bogut and they will probably let him rest in the opening night until he is near 100% to play. They will definitely follow the same formula of grinding defense and running offense to help through the Central Division. Still bottom line is they will need their star center back to be successful next season.



Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: August 24, 2010 10:39 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

Just WAY too early predictions but I'll throw my hat in:

1. Boston Celtics
2. Miami Heat
3. Orlando Magic
4. Chicago Bulls
5. Atlanta Hawks
6. Milwaukee Bucks
7. New York Knicks
8. Charlotte Bobcats or Washington Wizards




The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com