Tag:Milwaukee Bucks
Posted on: July 27, 2010 6:12 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 8:30 pm
 

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

Posted by Matt Moore

With only a handful of free agents left on the market and with summer league over, we thought we'd take a look at how teams in the Central Division did over the summer in negotiating their moves.

Chicago Bulls

Added: Carlos Boozer (sign-and-trade), Kyle Korver (free agency), Ronnie Brewer (free agency), Kurt Thomas (free agency), C.J. Watson (trade)
Lost: Kirk Hinrich (trade), Hakim Warrick (sign-and-trade), Brad Miller (free agency)

Philosophy: "Why have excellent when you can have above-average?"

Well, hey, they didn't get LeBron. Or Dwyane Wade. Or Chris Bosh. Or Amar'e Stoudemire. But they got Carlos Boozer!

And sure, they didn't get Anthony Morrow. Or J.J. Redick (though they tried). But they got Kyle Korver!

And that's pretty much the Bulls summer. The Bulls swung out on the big boys and got the next best thing they could rustle up. Boozer's numbers are good, and he certainly solves a lot of their needs. That's really what it comes down to. All of the Bulls' signings were exactly what they needed, they just weren't the best guys they could get. Carlos Boozer gives them a low-post power forward with offensive versatility. He's just not Amar'e Stoudemire or Chris Bosh. Kyle Korver adds three-point shooting,and was a better option than even Anthony Morrow would have been. Ronnie Brewer may have been their best signing. They essentially took Kirk Hinrich, a defensive combo-guard that can't really shoot anymore (I'll never figure out where his shot went), and his considerable salary and moved him for Brewer, a defensive combo-wing that can't shoot.

It's hard to knock the Bulls, since they did at least stay aggressive, and did make moves. And trying to grade them based on expectations in this competitive of a year is tough. But with one of the biggest markets, cap space, and a handful of advantages, you still have to look at their moves and ask "Really?"

Grade: B-

Cleveland Cavaliers

Added: Ramon Sessions (trade), Ryan Hollins (trade), Christian Eyenga (draft)
Lost: LeBron freaking James (sign-and-trade), Delonte West (trade), Sebastian Telfair (trade), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (free agency)

Philosophy: "Not with a bang, but with 'The Decision'"

Yeah, I think this pretty much sums it up .

How do you judge them for this? How do you evaluate them after losing the most important player in franchise history in one of the most embarrassing ways possible? Can you blame them? Can you exonerate them simply because of James' classless behavior? At the end of the day, it's the responsibility of a front-office to make the team the best it can be. And in this case, it didn't. Whether there were forces beyond their control or foresight is irrelevant. We are judged by our performances, and the results sadly speak for themselves.

Sessions is a great pick-up, though, and Hollins has some potential outside of the triangle.

Grade: F+

Detroit Pistons


Added: Greg Monroe (draft), Terrico White (draft), Ben Wallace (re-signed)
Lost: none

Philosophy: "Running in place is good for the soul."

Such a wasted opportunity. Rip Hamilton, out there to move, with teams who missed out on the Big 3 needing impact players. Tayshaun Prince, same deal. Rodney Stuckey, conceivably expendable. Instead, Joe Dumars and company elected to simply do nothing. No additions, no trades, no moves. Just the consistency of mediocrity. Perhaps the idea is that things could not go as badly as they did last season. And it's hard to argue against that, with all the injuries. But the problems remain with an ineffective frontcourt and an inconsistent backcourt. There was still a lot Dumars could have pursued, he's pulled off those moves before. But instead he seems convinced that this roster as constructed can get the job done.

The shining light? Greg Monroe looks good. Really good. The kind of low-post player they've needed for years and have been getting by with Kwame Brown for. The wasted opportunity docks them, but their draft was solid enough to save them to a degree.

Grade: C-

Indiana Pacers


Added: Paul George (draft), Lance Stephenson (draft), Magnum Rolle (draft)

Lost:
none

Philosophy:
"The vague semblance of a plan."

The Pacers did the same amount of stuff that the Pistons did, so they get the same grade right? Sadly, no. Fair is not always equal. The Pacers get a much improved grade from years past thanks to their willingness to go away from what has been their calling card. Instead of opting for big-resume players from major programs in college and veteran marginal free agents, the Pacers went with talent. Best talent available. And now? They have a roster with movable veteran pieces (Ford, Murphy, Foster), with replacements in place for them, and have managed to get involved in multiple talks for Granger without losing leverage.

Lance Stephenson, even if Summer League was a complete mirage, has long-term value to be able to invest in at both the point guard and combo-guard position. George has long-term development potential. Roy Hibbert has been given opportunities to develop and showed signs last year, and they didn't do anything in the draft or free agency to interfere with that. Even Magnum Rolle looks like a decent backup prospect.

I don't really know how to live in a world where I'm about to give this grade, but I'm going to.

Grade: B+

Milwaukee Bucks


Added:   John Salmons (re-signed, Drew Gooden (free agency), Corey Maggette (trade), Jon Brockman (trade), Keyon Dooling (free agency), Larry Sanders (draft), Darington Hobson (draft), Tiny Gallon (draft)
Lost:   Luke Ridnour (free agency), Kurt Thomas (free agency), Royal Ivey (free agency), Charlie Bell (trade), Dan Gadzuric (trade), Darnell Jackson (trade)

Philosophy:
"LOCK AND LOAD."

I love what the Bucks did. I hate what the Bucks did. I totally understand what the Bucks did. I'm completely baffled by what the Bucks did.

Okay, here's what we know.

John Hammond believes this roster can contend. Andrew Bogut, when healthy, can be the cornerstone. Brandon Jennings will only get better. They have movable assets of value. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is versatile and talented at multiple positions. They needed scoring. A high-volume, high-usage, efficient shooter that isn't named Michael Redd Who Has No Legs. So they got Corey Maggette. Nice. That works. Sure, Maggette's a defensive question mark, but we've seen terrible defenders become semi-decent in good systems, and the Bucks have one of the best around. They re-signed Salmons, for a lot less than I thought he would garner in this market. They now have offense and defense.

But in addition to that, the Bucks got gluttonous. Drew Gooden, for the amount of money he was signed for is fairly unforgivable. Three days later, Hammond got Salmons back for a quality price. It was like every move they made, they followed with one on the other end of the sense spectrum. One thing is for certain: the Bucks are good at power forward. After watching Larry Sanders look fairly incredible at Summer League, I'm ready to commit to a bet that the Bucks will lead the league in blocks next season. With Bogut, Gooden, Mbah a Moute, Sanders, and whoever else gets in on the act, I think they have a good shot at that.

The question is if the unbalanced nature of their acquisitions (all high-usage players) will maintain a balance with their defense to ensure they reach last year's performance and exceed it. And on that front, it's a mixed grade.

Grade: B-



Posted on: July 20, 2010 4:56 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2010 5:53 pm
 

Summer League Round-Up

Posted by Matt Moore
The prospects have gone home, the lights are turned off and the court's been rolled up. Summer League in Vegas is over. Here's a look at the week that was at Las Vegas Summer League.

The Rookies


Bright Light: John freaking Wall.
Wall was pretty much everything fans, scouts, and media expected. There were downsides, don't get me wrong. After a strong debut, shooting wise, he returned to the clank fest he showed in college, finishing with a 38% mark from the field. He had some turnovers, which is pretty normal for a rook. But the rest? Ye Gods. One of the more surprising elements of Wall's game was his change of direction. Wall's reverse, pull-up leaner, and floater were all on-target. The combination of his vision and speed, which were the most hyped parts of Wall's game, were brutally efficient. Perhaps most surprising of Wall's week was his development in intangibles. Even with a Summer League roster of fringe players, this was Wall's team. When Wall exploded to the rack and hammered home a dunk in traffic, JaVale McGee acted like he'd just posterized Dwight Howard . There are things to work on, but Wall was the biggest winner from Summer League.

Black Hole: Xavier Henry . He's more of a non-existent star. Henry was held out of Summer League play due to a contract dispute, despite the existence of the rookie pay scale, specifically meant to prevent this. Part of the blame is certainly on the Grizzlies , but Vasquez was playing without contract, so you have to wonder: Did Henry hurt his learning curve by not joining his teammates in Vegas?

Bright Light: DeMarcus Cousins ' first three games. Cousins was the player who looked like he simply couldn't be handled physically. He was dominant on the glass, finished off of offensive rebounds, and showed the most versatile set of post moves of any big in the SL. He had his emotions in check and played to his potential. He managed this against good young bigs, including Greg Monroe (who was a bright light in his own right). It would have been a great week for Cousins if it weren't for...

Black Hole: DeMarcus Cousins' last two games . And then everything came crashing back down. Cousins' final two games were a combination of emotional implosion and inefficient play. He got into it with the refs, pouted, moped, and could not buy a bucket. It certainly seemed like Cousins' hit the wall. Which is not a good sign after a handful of games, with the grind of the NBA regular season coming. Cousins may end up becoming one of those polarizing players in the league if this trend continues.

Bright Light: Larry Sanders . The Bucks are going to have a fleet of capable, talented power forwards this season. Sanders was one of the most impressive rookies in Vegas, playing solid defense, showing off a well-balanced frame, and looking very much like a versatile offensive option. Sanders' mid-range game was considerably better than expected. He showed nice tough with the ball and again, is a mountain in terms of size. He needs to work on his spacing and defensive awareness, but it was a very impressive showing.

The Vets


Winner: JaVale McGee. McGee is a Summer League star, which says a lot about his career. But with John Wall? It was entirely different. Wall and McGee had obvious on-court chemistry, with McGee acting as his enforcer and the Tyson Chandler to wall's Chris Paul. That's an exaggeration. It's also not that much of an exaggeration. McGee wasn't entirely reliant on Wall, though, and had an array of hook shots going. He also played better defense than he's shown in previous years. Throw in the level of excitement he played with and it was a great summer league for Epic Vale.

Loser: Blake Griffin. How do you lose if you don't even play? You're a Clipper. That's how. Griffin was held out of Summer League play despite playing last year prior to his season-ending injury. There's something to be said for holding Griffin out to make sure he's completely healthy. There's also a concern that the knee may still not be right, which has to absolutely terrify Clipper fans.

Winner: DeMar DeRozan. Paired with Sonny Weems, the Raptors had a full highwire act going with DeRozan. DeRozan looked like he was primed for a signicant jump in productivity this season, especially with Chris Bosh you-know-where. He has such great length and his explosion was in the elite class. Averaging 21 points and 4.5 rebounds during Summer League, he and Weems had a plethora of highlight reels and looked like possibly the most impressive sophomore of the bunch.

Loser: Jordan Hill. Hill turned around his rookie season when he was traded to Houston from New York. He looked like a solid low-post player for limited minutes. But in Vegas he returned to the completely lost youngster he was with Mike D'Antoni. His numbers were good, but he had difficulty in getting position against bigger players. with the addition of Brad Miller and the re-signing of Luis Scola, his spot on the Rockets became even smaller during the week.

Winner: Reggie Williams. Williams got buckets. Period.

Loser: Hasheem Thabeet. Thabeet did not. He did play defense well, both man and weakside. He blocked shots and had better screens. But the points? They are many, many miles away.

The Fringe


There are tons of NBA fringe players at NBA Summer League that when you watch them, you find yourself asking "Why isn't this guy on an NBA roster?" Some of them are held back by size limitations. Others are offensive Wizards that would be liabilities on defense. Some have off-court or personality problems. And some really are just mystifying, they're so good. Here's a quick insight on who had a great week.

Gary Neal: 50% from the arc. That's a pretty ridiculous shooting clip for anyone. Neal averaged 1 made three for every two attempted at Summer League, including a 6-9 performance in the first half against Memphis Sunday alone. Neal, a 6-4 guard out of Towson University, was a candidate for Summer League MVP, averaging 15 points a game and consistently hitting from all over the floor. Most impressive, though, was his perimeter speed. Neal was able to go from baseline to corner for the pop-out three in nearly no time at all. Combine that with hyper-efficient shooting and it makes for an amazing week of work in  Vegas.

Jeff Adrien: Zach Harper kept turning to me throughout every Grizzlies game and screaming "He's a man!" And that was about right. Adrien was "beasting," I believe is the term. For teams looking for a role player that can rebound attack on defense, Adrien's a great fit and only 24. Then again, I'm not entirely convinced he won't physically harm everyone in a ten mile radius with his biceps. In closing, he's a man.

Pooh Jeter: Jeter averaged 14.4 points and 5.4 assists for Cleveland, which is pretty impressive considering the Cleveland roster outside of J.J. Hickson may or may not have been pulled off a craps table at the Mirage. Jeter's played in nearly every league you can think of and never stuck. It was a good week for Jeter, but his defense may not have been good enough to get him over the hump.

Storylines


With nearly every NBA coach, executive, and agent in Vegas, along with nearly every top rookie, there was a lot to take in. Here are four observations from the week at Thomas and Mack.

1. All the lonely people. The coaches and executives who are considered at the top of their games were surrounded by assistants and scouts. They examined the games and players, even if there was little of consequence to take in. They had notes, were on the phone, and gave instructions post-game. Conversely, those who you may list as not the best in their field sat alone, playing with their phone, reading the paper, and generally looking bored. There's a lot that goes into being a GM, but you can tell those who are professional in all aspects.

2. Wall Mania. The crowds were good for most of the games, but nothing compared to the Wall mania. The guy could sit around twiddling his thumbs and still get a ton of people watching him. Wall was easily the biggest star in the SL, but DeMarcus Cousins was a close second.

3. Pace, pace, pace. All the SL teams played the easiest type of offense. Get up and run. Almost all the teams employed a fast pace with quick shots. It wasn't a Warriors scrimmage, but it was close, That's part of the reason any great performance is looked upon skeptically. Not only is it against inferior opponents, but the style is often the exact polar opposite of what the regular club is running.

4. Dress code.
The best thing about Summer League? Seeing coaches and executives in cargo shorts and flip flops. It's such a striking difference between the suits they usually wear during the summer. Seriously, if you haven't seen Scott Skiles in cargo shorts laughing and having a good time, you haven't lived. It's like Batman in a Hawaiian shirt.









Posted on: July 20, 2010 8:13 am
Edited on: July 20, 2010 9:59 am
 

Shootaround: 7.20.10

Posted by Royce Young
  • For whatever reason, Matt Barnes has become one of the most talked about free agents on the market this offseason. And yesterday, he appeared headed to Toronto in a sign-and-trade . However, because of some miscalculating, Marc Stein reports the deal is possibly dead : "Since Toronto recently spent the bulk of its $5.8 million mid-level exception to sign Linas Kleiza , it doesn't have the available funds to sign Barnes outright to a deal that starts in the neighborhood of $4 million. The Magic, though, are prevented by salary-cap rules from starting a sign-and-trade deal for Barnes at higher than $2 million, because Orlando doesn't have Barnes' full Bird rights after employing him for only one season. A sign-and-trade deal would also have to span at least three years, although only the first year is required to be guaranteed."
  • Henry Abbott with nine things to know about Cho : "Given the soap opera in Portland's front office over the last few months, Cho's law school focus on "dispute resolution" could prove to be the most valuable element in his time in Portland."
  • There's been some concern that Amare Stoudemire won't be able to produce quite the same numbers without primo setup man Steve Nash orchestrating the offense. But Knicks assistant Phil Weber told the New York Post that Amare will be fine : "Everybody's going to look very good playing with [Nash]. But Amar'e in his own right, he's got the versatility, quickness and shooting ability, he's going to wreck havoc on the defense.''
  • Shoals writing on Free Darko about DeMarcus Cousins and how he relates to other players with character issues : "Cousins might seem to call into question whatever it is that Arenas and Beasley represented. On the contrary, in his contradictions, he make more urgent than ever the need to develop a more psychologically sophisticated approach to assessing prospects. Arenas asserted the right to be kooky, unpredictable, and obsessive; Beasley , incoherent, compelling and loud. That was a fair description of each at their best, and if their stories ended today, each would serve as a cautionary tale against this kind of player. Cousins , though, makes the case for the development of something new, something that might actually better equip a team for an Arenas or Beasley —that is, anyone other than an outright bust."
Posted on: July 19, 2010 7:40 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2010 8:18 pm
 

Summer League winners and losers: rookies

Posted by Matt Moore

The prospects have gone home, the lights are turned off and the court's been rolled up. Summer League in Vegas is over. Here's a look at the rookies that brought the Thunder and those who had their parades rained on.

Bright Light: John freaking Wall.
Wall was pretty much everything fans, scouts, and media expected. There were downsides, don't get me wrong. After a strong debut, shooting wise, he returned to the clank fest he showed in college, finishing with a 38% mark from the field. He had some turnovers, which is pretty normal for a rook. But the rest? Ye Gods. One of the more surprising elements of Wall's game was his change of direction. Wall's reverse, pull-up leaner, and floater were all on-target. The combination of his vision and speed, which were the most hyped parts of Wall's game, were brutally efficient. Perhaps most surprising of Wall's week was his development in intangibles. Even with a Summer League roster of fringe players, this was Wall's team. When Wall exploded to the rack and hammered home a dunk in traffic, JaVale McGee acted like he'd just posterized Dwight Howard. There are things to work on, but Wall was the biggest winner from Summer League.

Black Hole: Xavier Henry . He's more of a non-existent star. Henry was held out of Summer League play due to a contract dispute, despite the existence of the rookie pay scale, specifically meant to prevent this. Part of the blame is certainly on the Grizzlies, but Vasquez was playing without contract, so you have to wonder: Did Henry hurt his learning curve by not joining his teammates in Vegas?

Bright Light: DeMarcus Cousins' first three games. Cousins was the player who looked like he simply couldn't be handled physically. He was dominant on the glass, finished off of offensive rebounds, and showed the most versatile set of post moves of any big in the SL. He had his emotions in check and played to his potential. He managed this against good young bigs, including Greg Monroe (who was a bright light in his own right). It would have been a great week for Cousins if it weren't for...

Black Hole: DeMarcus Cousins' last two games . And then everything came crashing back down. Cousins' final two games were a combination of emotional implosion and inefficient play. He got into it with the refs, pouted, moped, and could not buy a bucket. It certainly seemed like Cousins' hit the wall. Which is not a good sign after a handful of games, with the grind of the NBA regular season coming. Cousins may end up becoming one of those polarizing players in the league if this trend continues.

Bright Light: Larry Sanders. The Bucks are going to have a fleet of capable, talented power forwards this season. Sanders was one of the most impressive rookies in Vegas, playing solid defense, showing off a well-balanced frame, and looking very much like a versatile offensive option. Sanders' mid-range game was considerably better than expected. He showed nice tough with the ball and again, is a mountain in terms of size. He needs to work on his spacing and defensive awareness, but it was a very impressive showing.




Posted on: July 1, 2010 12:25 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 12:26 pm
 

Bucks sign Gooden to MLE.. wait, what?!


Let's take a minute and look back at what the Milwaukee Bucks have done in the past ten days.

Traded for Cory Maggette.

Traded for Chris Douglas-Roberts.

Kept Carlos Delfino.

Drafted Larry Sanders.

And now, they've signed Drew Gooden for the Mid-Level Exception, at a clip of 5 years for $32 million (via Yahoo! Sports). This despite having Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute on roster, both whom are considered high-upside, versatile, talented players, and Gooden having spent time in more cities than a mid-70's hobo.

So what in the name of Bogut is Bucks GM John Hammond up to?

The Gooden signing makes sense if you listen to Bucks blog BrewHoop, which says the team needed veteran depth at power forward. And Gooden certainly provides that at 29. You do have to wonder about the contract, the length of the contract, and how Gooden fits. The Bucks' offense was definitely their weak point last season. They do need someone who's able to produce offense. And Gooden averaged 15.7 points and 11 rebounds per 36 minutes last season .

The problem is usage (estimated percentage of possessions used). Gooden had the 12th highest usage of any power forward in the league playing at least 30 minutes last season. That's a lot for a guy who is considered a journeyman role player. His efficiency numbers are good, and Gooden comes with a wide range of verstaile skills. It's just curious that the Bucks seem to have loaded up so much at the forward positions, especially with John Salmons still drifting in unrestricted-free-agent land. Probably most curious was the fact that Hammond committed five years to a 29 year-old role player when he has such a young nucleus.

It makes you wonder if Hammond is done with moves beyond re-signing John Salmons and other free agent Luke Ridnour.

-Matt Moore


Posted on: July 1, 2010 10:36 am
Edited on: July 1, 2010 11:36 am
 

Free-agency layup line: LeBron's gift edition

All of the little free agency stories that flow through. We'll have several of these throughout the day, updated regularly.

A mystery team dropped a "small square box" containing a gift off at LeBron James' house at 11PM Wednesday night, according to the New York Daily News .  Our best guesses as to the gift are the heart of a lion, whatever was in the suitcase in "Pulp Fiction ", or a Russian doll containing $2.4 million in bonds.  (HT: FanHouse )

Richard Jefferson opted out of his contract, but that doesn't necessarily mean much for the team basketball-wise. Spurs blog 48 Minutes of Hell reports that with the team significantly over the cap still, Jefferson's opt-out doesn't clear them to make any significant moves and leaves them with a hole at small forward. You have to wonder if Tony Parker and his contract may be even more on the block.

Chris Bosh is predictably keeping track of his free agency exploits on Twitter. As of 4EST, he had met with the Bulls, Raptors, Heat, and Rockets (check out more on our discussion of Houston's chances ). You have to wonder if it's better to be early or late in these discussions. The Knicks seem to be taking the latter approach, since they went and visited Mike Miller first thing last night.

Darren Rovell of Sports Biz reports that part of the Nets' offer for LeBron James is a clothing line via Jay-Z . These are the kind of advantages teams have to pull out. There's so much more going on here than just money and a good core of players, though those things are up-front the most important.

Via Wizards blog Bullets Forever , Yahoo! Sports reports that Washington is looking to fill that whole at small forward quickly . They've already spoken to both of their expired small forwards (Mike Miller, Josh Howard) and are looking at Ryan Gomes, Travis Outlaw, Rasual Butler and even Josh Childress who is still in Greece. With the acquisition of Kirk Hinrich, the Wizards have to be thinking on the cheap with this contract, and likely won't want to commit to anything long-term. Then again, they traded for Kirk Hinrich and Yi Jianlian, so there's no telling what they're going to do next.

John Hammond is "cautiously optimistic" that the Bucks will be able to re-sign John Salmons. Then again, we think Hammond is "cautiously losing his mind" for giving Drew Gooden a 5 year, $32 million deal when he has Ersan Ilyasoava and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute along with rookie Larry Sanders to pair with Andrew Bogut. Hammond's either gone around the bend or is in pursuit of something...


 
 
 
 
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