Milwaukee Bucks: Where Are They Going?

July 26, 2009

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Chad

Milwaukee Bucks: Where Are They Going?

The 2009-2010 Milwaukee Bucks roster is not yet set, but that doesn't mean we don't know where they are heading.  We do know where they are heading though, and that is straight down.  They are dumpster diving for young "talent" to try to turn themselves into a young, exciting squad.  Unfortunately, the young pieces that they have are either:  raw or simply not talented enough to make an impact, and this is going to be a long season in Milwaukee. 

PG:  Brandon Jennings, Luke Ridnour, Ramon Sessions (FA)
is getting a lot of hype around Milwaukee and from the coaching staff because of his speed and ability to get to the rim.  He is an extremely quick guard that can get end to end in a flash, but his jumpshot, experience, and cockiness all had NBA teams sour on him at the draft.  He could be a good player, but he is going to experience a lot of growing pains and spend a lot of time trying to defend bigger PG's on the block. 
has been around the block and carries a hefty price tag, as he averaged 9.6 points and over 5 assists a game last year.  Those aren't bad numbers, but he isn't a great defender either.  I think you'll see Ridnour stay a Buck if Sessions signs elsewhere.  If Sessions re-signs in Milwaukee, then I think Ridnour will be traded for a pick, cap relief, and/or a young player.
is a young PG that put up pretty good numbers in Milwaukee, but apparently he isn't "exciting" enough for the Milwaukee brass.  He averaged over 12 points and 5.7 assists per game only playing 27 minutes a night.  His 3-point shooting, however, was atrocious at 17%.  Regardless, he did drop over 20 dimes in a game and also finished his NBA season with games of 10 points/9 assists, 19 points/7 assits, and 9 points/12 assists.  At his age and with his ability to see the floor, I am shocked the Bucks went with Jennings in the NBA draft and have not re-signed Sessions.  He might not be a potential Buck much longer, and that is disheartening to the Milwaukee fans.

SG:  Michael Redd, Charlie Bell, Jodie Meeks
is a pretty good NBA scorer that does not do a whole lot of anything else.  He is an awful defender, a below average ball hander, and does not rebound a whole lot despite his body size.  He has a quick release, is accurate from 3, and can post up small players.  Why they maxed this guy out and thought he was better than Ray Allen, I have NO idea.  He averaged a shade of 21 points, 3 boards, and 2 assists before going down with a season-ending knee injury last year.  If the Bucks wanted to clear up some cap space, they should have traded this dead weight, but they still haven't.  Cross your fingers that he gets off to a good start this year, so they can turn him into something useful.  Milwaukee might be thinking, however, that they need to keep him to have a reliable scorer on their roster.  I hope not.
is another Buck that I'm not sure why is still around.  He doesn't do anything extremely well, but he plays hard.  I guess that's more than I can say for some of his teammates.  Bell averaged just over 8 points a game last year, he's not a great shooter but is quick enough to the rim.  He's a solid role player, but I don't think he should be logging 25+ minutes a game in the NBA. 
was the Bucks 2nd round pick in the last NBA draft, and he might have been a steal.  This early entrant can absolutely fill it up; he dropped over 50 in an unreal shooting performance against Tennessee last year.  I watched a bit of him in the Summer League and his jumpshot is pure; he moves well without the ball, and he plays hard the entire game.  If Meeks does not make the Bucks NBA roster, there is something wrong with management.  He could be a surprising scorer for the Bucks off the bench because he's buckets when he's on.

SF:  Luc Mbah a Moute, Bruce Bowen
(I wrote out the whole thing because I like saying it so much) came out of nowhere last year as a 2nd round pick to start 52 games and play major minutes for Milwaukee.  He isn't a great shooter/scorer, but his energy is something they definitely needed.  He gets after it from whistle to whistle and averaged 8 points and nearly 6 boards in his 25 minutes a night.  He'll rebound, he'll defend, he'll dive.. he's like The Birdman, but without the drug problem, the tattoos, and the hair.  I wouldn't mind seeing him make a 3-pointer next year, right now he's got as many NBA 3's as I do. 
started to slow and fell out of favor in San Antonio last year, only starting 10 games.  He's old, can only shoot from the corner, and isn't the defender he was even 2 seasons ago.  He came for cap relief, and if he's held onto hopefully he can be a good, hardworking teammate for these young kids.  Other than that, he won't be much of a factor for Milwaukee, and I'd be shocked if he made it to the season on the roster.

PF:  Kurt Thomas, Joe Alexander, Amir Johnson

is a pro, a good teammate, and he can defend and rebound.  He averaged 4 points and 5 boards a game last year with the Spurs, and seems to be a guy everybody wants on their bench come playoff time in the NBA.  If the Bucks are smart, they'll keep him to show the young kids how to work and defend and limit his minutes.  When it's time to make a deal late in the season, they'll send his salary and experience to a playoff team and get a draft pick in return. 
has a sweet nickname, Vanilla Sky, and played at the same college as Kevin Pittsnoggle(West Virginia) but he really struggled outside of that.  His rookie season was very difficult as he failed to average even 5 points and 2 rebounds a game in limited minutes.  His shot was off all season, and he struggled with defensive rotations.  Alexander, when he's on, can score inside and outside and is quick and athletic enough to get to the rim against a lot of different sized defenders.  It's time for the light to go on this year, but if Vegas is any indication, it could be a long year for Vanilla Sky.
is long.. and athletic.. and somehow started 24 games for the Pistons last year, but he just averaged 3 points and 3 boards a night.  He doesn't really appear to have any offensive game at all, andhe shoots just 65% from the line.  He'll give you something with his length on defense, but he isn't strong enough to body up guys on a nightly basis.  The Bucks will need to play up-tempo to get him any offense because I would hate to see him in the blocks trying to make a move on Rasheed Wallace or a similar sized defender.  

C:  Andrew Bogut, Dan Gadzuric
was a former #1 pick in the NBA draft.  In fact, I remember being estatic that they took him #1 in that draft.  What was I thinking?  Of course, the other guy they considered was "Starvin" Marvin Williams, so you'd have been excited too.  Bogut got hurt last year after averaging 11.7 points and 10.3 boards through 36 games.  Bogut isn't athletic, but he has great vision on the block.  He's a good passer, and is getting tougher as his career goes on.  On a good team, Bogut could be a great 3rd option, but he's stuck being a go to guy on the Bucks.  Right now, that's not his game.  He needs to be around guys that can shoot and slash to make his vision a better asset.  I do like Bogut's game, and wouldn't be surprised if he put up around 13 and 10 this year.
.. does anybody rate higher on the unintentional humor scale than this guy?  An epic waste of salary cap space that Milwaukee is dying to get off the books.  How this guy signed for $36 MILLION is beyond me.  I'll give him the fact that he provides energy, but his dives and hustle make me laugh because he looks so awkward running the floor.  He averaged 4 points and nearly 4 boards a game in his thankfully limited minutes last year.  I hope he logs big minutes this year, so I can enjoy his more before he heads out of Milwaukee.  

As the preview shows, Milwaukee does not have a ton of scoring of defensive players this season.  They have a potentially exciting PG in Jennings, but a guard more experienced and ready to play in Sessions that they might not bring back.  Redd can score, but does little to nothing else on the court.  They have a few hustle players, but they have a major hole at PF and a smaller one at SF.  Teams will be able to score and shut down the Bucks this year.  It's going to be a long, cold year in Milwaukee.

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