Tag:Brandon Jennings
Posted on: October 4, 2010 4:54 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2010 5:16 pm
 

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Bogut cleared to play!

Bucks center cleared to play in preseason games.
Posted by Matt Moore


Andrew Bogut has been cleared to play in preseason games , which is pretty neat for them. Bogut's been all over the place in terms of predicting how he's coming along, and he's pretty set to avoid long-term injury, so this may not be set. But having Bogut back will help a ton in terms of Skiles trying to set rotations considering the number of changes the Bucks brought in.

It'll be interesting to see how the injury restricts Bogut. Using Synergy Sports , we see that Bogut only shot 43% in the post last year, and only drew fouls 5% of the time. He was much better in the pick and roll (shooting 70%) and in offensive rebounding situations (57%). But pick and roll requires more coordination with the mitts, and offensive rebounds are of course more physical. So the question will be how Bogut can react to the delicate nature of his wrist while he recovers from one of the grossest falls of all time.

Meanwhile, he does need to get floor time, because Brandon Jennings is still very much a work in progress. Working on Jennings' shot selection will be greatly improved if he learns to go to the big fella, and often. There are some new egos on the squad with Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden, so Bogut's presence is needed to establish the alpha dogs on the team. So his being on board from the get go has to boost the Bucks' chances of not only holding onto their playoff spot but improving on it.


Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:30 am
 

Preseason Primer: Milwaukee Bucks

Posted by Matt Moore

Fear the Deer. It became the meme of the NBA last season, and you were hard-pressed to find a hardcore NBA-head who didn't love the scrappy team from Milwaukee. Heading into training camp things are dramatically different. Andrew Bogut is recovering from injury again, but outside of that, the stakes are much higher. The Bucks were the fifth seed in the East and had it not been for Bogut's injury likely would have bested the Hawks. Now they need to somehow improve on last year's performance in an Eastern Conference which is loaded at every turn. What do they have to do in training camp to get that done? We'll let you in on the secrets as we continue our Preseason Primers.

Training camp site: Milwaukee, WI />
Training camp starts: September 28th

Key additions: Corey Maggette (trade), Drew Gooden (free agency), Larry Sanders (draft), Chris Douglas-Roberts (trade)

Key subtractions: Charlie Bell (trade), Luke Ridnour (free agency), Dan Gadzuric (trade)

Likely starting lineup: Brandon Jennings (PG), John Salmons (SG), Corey Maggette (SF), Drew Gooden (PF), Andrew Bogut (C)

Player to watch: Chris Douglas-Roberts. Okay, this is a lie. If Brandon Jennings is involved in any way, you watch him. But CDR's not a bad backup option, literally. With the Bucks needing a legit backup shooting guard, CDR has a chance to capitalize on his combination of handle and size if he can develop into a well-rounded player that commits to Scott Skiles' system. CDR is also highly explosive and can go off at any time, so how he reacts to Skiles' military approach may be the defining verdict on his career if things go sour.


Chemistry quiz: The Bucks worked really well together last year and embraced Jennings as a leader. The question will be how players like Drew Gooden, CDR, and Corey Maggette do in a system that asks them sacrifice and play defense consistently. The team struggled offensively last year, but a perk of that was a lack of ego-centric players who weren't looking for their shot. As delicate as chemistry is, the changes the Bucks brought in could create too many guys looking for FGAs.


Camp battles: Carlos Delfino versus Corey Maggette should be a great one. Maggette had a fantastic season last year and is a better overall player than Maggette. But Maggette has the contract and offensive firepower to demand a starting spot. Skiles abandoned Delfino in the playoffs when he wasn't in a good matchup. There's no telling how this one will wind up, but Delfino's play in FIBA this summer certainly is cause for excitement.

Injury issues:
I think the fact that reports have come out daily about Andrew Bogut's elbow is probably indicative he's a concern. That and the fact that he had more metal put in than that chick in Fringe with they cybernetic arm. That too.

Biggest strength: Simplicity. The Bucks don't over-complicate things. They defend like rabid animals, run basic offensive sets geared to give playmakers the ball in space, and work their tail off. It's an optimal system not only for a standard of success, anchored by a talented point guard and center, but easy for new pieces to fit in. Skiles continues to impress as a coach that is able to get through to guys and convince them to commit.

Glaring weakness: They added multiple offensive weapons, but there are going to be concerns with the age of both Maggette and Gooden, as well as how Brandon Jennings fits with all these high-usage players on board. That same simplicity also creates problems when they hit a team with a counter to their approach.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:25 am
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Posted on: September 7, 2010 2:52 pm
 

Pop Quiz: How will the All-Star Game look?

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 continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...



What will the All-Star Game look like?


Los Angeles. City of Angels. Home of the back-to-back NBA champions, the legendary LA Lakers. And in February, home of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. It's going to be ridiculous, it's going to be over-the-top (more so than even your normal All-Star Game). It's going to be expensive. Really, really expensive. It will also be interesting as next year there are likely to be big changes in the All-Star Game. So what exactly is that game going to look like?

It's difficult to predict, obviously, who will be participating in the game. Even more so than any other episode of predicting the future, there are so many factors that can play into who makes it. Not only things like injuries, team downturns, unexpected rises, and trades, but the popularity contest of the voting system. But there are some things we can examine the possibility of.

For starters, with Amar'e Stoudemire headed to New York, there's a spot down low for the West. You can slide in Tim Duncan, because he's like Johnny Cash. Steady like a freight train, sharp like a razor. Pau Gasol's another lock, as many think he's the best power forward in the league right no w. From there, you've got Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman as the other two bigs from last year's squad. Kaman's unlikely to return with the addition of Blake Griffin, and Randolph's success is tied to an inconsistent Grizzlies team. Meanwhile, Yao Ming returns from injury and will most likely look like a legitimate contender for the starting spot.

But what about Andrew Bynum? We've been waiting for Bynum to live up to his potential for three seasons, and he's constantly referred to as one of the best centers in the league, despite his numerous injury issues. With the Lakers getting older, and Bynum supposedly healthier than he has been in years, Bynum has to be considered a strong contender not just for the backup position, but possibly as a starting center (which would put Tim Duncan at power forward, where he belongs).

Speaking of Duncan, he and Dirk Nowitzki are headed down the stretch and it'll be important to note that one of them is going to take a step backwards. Age demands it. And though Duncan is widely considered the best power forward of all time by those that consider him a power forward, he's most likely to have the dropoff. You saw it at times last season. The writing isn't on the wall, but there's a pen by the chalkboard. Bear in mind we're talking about inches below the greatness he's always provided, but it might be enough with a rising Bynum to shove either him or Dirk out of the starting lineup. And that will just be weird.

This is all before we start trying to figure out the point guards in the West. Steve Nash showing no signs of slowing down. Chris Paul back to full health. Deron Williams healthy with Al Jefferson beside him and more of the offensive load. Tyreke Evans, out of the rookie well and into the general pool. Russell Westbrook, possibly coming on as one of the better slide and dice guards in the league on a team that looks poised to make a run. Stephoe Curry, a rookie of the year runner-up with another season under him and a license to score. This likely means Jason Kidd will not be returning to the team for the 11th time in his career.

And oh, yeah, Kobe will be back in the starting spot. No "probably." He will be.

In the East? Well, the Miami Triad was formed from guys in the East, so they're likely to stay. Even with a downturn in production from sharing the ball, all three should be locks, though it's hard to see Bosh making the starting spot as he was a reserve last season. Amar'e Stoudemire could wind up knocking Kevin Garnett out of the starting spot which would be another changing of the guard. But a more likely scenario is Joe Johnson being unable to reach the starting spot again and moving into the reserve spot as the East looks like the West from last year: four bigs and a guard (Dwyane Wade). Which will be disappointing considering Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo's existence, both of whom are probable to return as starters.

Carlos Boozer, freed from the big-heavy West, may be able to work his way into a spot, and Paul Pierce may be on the bubble. If Andrew Bogut returns healthy, he could complicate matters, along with Brandon Jennings. Basically, point guards are going to massively complicate these rosters.

Sure, some of these players are going to go down to injury, others will have downturn seasons. But there's a strong indication that this might be a year of big changes in the All-Star Game, both with starting rosters and the reserve spots.

But the parties will be awesome regardless.
Posted on: August 30, 2010 9:15 am
Edited on: August 30, 2010 11:30 am
 

Shootaround 8.30.10: Can't read BJ's poker face

Dragic slowed up, Jordan giving out, and Brandon Jennings does Lady Gaga. For real.
Posted by Matt Moore


So Brandon Jennings lost some sort of bet, and as a result, was forced to do a video online of him dancing to Lady Gaga . Yes, it is as bizarre-looking as it sounds.

Goran Dragic has been great so far in the FIBA World Championships, but found himself in foul trouble on Sunday in Slovenia's loss to Team USA. Twice, Dragic got caught trying to sneak up on a player's weakside off the inbounds. It's like Dragic got too comfortable playing non-NBA players and forgot just how well-trained even this inexperienced Team USA team is. And Chauncey Billups is anything but inexperienced.

Sam Amico of NBA.com reports that the Nuggets are looking at the Nets, Wolves, and Kings as possible options for trading Carmelo Anthony. But this assumes the Nuggets have all the leverage, which they don't .

Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats donated a quarter of a million dollars to middle-school athletics in Charlotte. It's another instance in a continuing theme of Jordan looking to invest in the Charlotte area. If he's planning on being the absentee owner many thought he would be, he's at least making a good show in the other direction.

FIBA play isn't necessarily the place for post play. But as NBA Playbook points out, establishing position is just as important there. Also, they provide a look at Ante Tomic, the Jazz draft pick who looked good for Croatia.

A resources company in Cleveland is cashing in on a former LeBron James ad campaign with a 'Witness' campaign of their own. Yet another indication that the bridges he burned in Cleveland won't be rebuilt in a day.

As a reminder, Brandon Rush got tagged with a five game suspension for violating the NBA's drug policy. The interesting note? He's yet another Kansas or Kansas State player found in trouble with drugs. You'll remember Mario Chalmers' problems at the rookie transition program, along with Michael Beasley.

Bryan Colangelo is on the hot seat in Toronto. The question is, why isn't Jay Triano also feeling warm in the butt? It's been Triano's defense that has been systemically bad, despite good man-defenders in Amir Johnson and Antoine Wright. It's been Triano's team unable to close out games, despite having Chris Bosh. Everyone looks at Colangelo as the problem, but as Raptors Republic points out, Colangelo has yet to to hand pick a coach in Toronto.

Wanna know just how far back your team's good (or bad) decisions go? Take a look at these flowcharts . The Knicks one is especially hilarious/tragic.

Rich Cho says there's no way to know how Greg Oden's knee will respond until it's "under stress." Pretty much, Greg Oden's not going to be considered healthy until he's considered healthy. It's a binary question.




Posted on: August 27, 2010 9:01 am
Edited on: August 27, 2010 9:05 am
 

Shootaround 8.27.10: Chicken Nuggets

Posted by Royce Young
  • Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post: "The task of receiving anywhere near market value for Anthony in trade only figures to be more difficult with a growing perception the 6-foot-8 Denver forward is more interested in winning an Oscar than an NBA title. As a league executive told me: Anthony used to bleed basketball. But if you opened him up now and looked inside, what could be found closest to the player's heart? A love of the game? Or the desire to be a Hollywood star?"
  • Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company: "I know most observers are saying the Nuggets are going to fail to get equal value for Carmelo, and they are right.  There is just no way around that fact. I strongly believe Denver is in a better position than everyone realizes.  There will be competition between the Knicks, Nets, Rockets and Clippers. The Knicks, Nets are desperate to make a big move and acquire a marquee player.  The Clippers are just a notch below that level. I can see Donald Sterling convincing himself that this is his chance to make a run at the Lakers and doing everything he could to acquire Melo."
  • Howard Beck of the New York Times: "With Fields signed, the Knicks’ roster is essentially set. They have 14 players with guaranteed contracts and no immediate plans to fill the final vacancy. (Center Jerome Jordan, another second-round pick, will begin his career in Serbia. The Knicks retain his rights.) A handful of players will be brought to camp on partial guarantees and perhaps compete for the 15th spot."
  • Steve Nash talking to the Arizona Republic: "It disappointed me because we were close and we're going to miss a big piece, but I think Robert went to or beyond where anybody could ask him to go," Nash said. "This franchise would suffer a severe risk if Amar'e ever got hurt, so I understand why the last two years were guaranteed only if he played 22 minutes a game. I can't fault Robert for that. I can't blame Amar'e. He got that money guaranteed. It's just a shame."
  • D-League Digest continues on with grading teams use of the D-League. I find the differences fairly fascinating.
Posted on: August 23, 2010 7:26 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2010 9:34 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

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.

Be sure to follow the NBA Facts and Rumors blog on Twitter @CBSSportsNBA


Posted on: August 19, 2010 12:30 pm
 

Bogut's recovery not going well, may miss opener

Bucks' star having trouble in recovery from elbow injury, may miss season opener.
Posted by Matt Moore

Andrew Bogut suffered a seriously gruesome elbow injury in a fall last season which ended his year and the Bucks' chances of going deep into the playoffs. He required multiple surgeries, but worked hard to recover and all indications were that he would be back with plenty of time to spare before the start of the season.

You can sense the "but" here, can't you?

Real GM's board of internet scour experts brings us a transcript of Bogut's television appearance in his native land of Australia. The interview, available here (but not in the US), tells us that Bogut was shooting while in Europe, but had fluid build up in his elbow and so had to go back to conditioning and weight training only. More concerning is this quote:

"I'm optimistic that I should be ready for the season but you never know with these things because of the nerve damage and so on, it's on its own course.

"[It's my decision] I'm one of those guys who will play through injury but if I'm not 100% for the season to start, there is no sense going into an NBA season at 85% 'cause we're playing up to May."


Yikes. Losing Bogut for even a month could put the Bucks in a hole to start the season. The good news is that they did bolster their frontcourt with Drew Gooden and Larry Sanders, who might be able to at least function with Brandon Jennings and Corey Maggette handling the scoring load until Bogut returns.

It was a severe injury that Bogut underwent, so this isn't entirely expected. It still has to be frustrating for both Bogut, and Bucks fans, who have seen the versatile center limited in multiple seasons due to injury. When healthy, he's one of the top big men in the league (and a defensive player of the year candidate). But he's got to be able to get on the floor first. For all the strides Milwaukee has made, recurring injury problems for Bogut is just the kind of thing that can submarine a season before it has a chance to get going.

The clock's ticking.

(HT: Brewhoop on Twitter )

 
 
 
 
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