Season Preview: Milwaukee Bucks

Surprise, Surprise, the Champ is here today filling in for the Ivy Leaguer who is buried in a myriad of schoolwork. Working on a little short notice, I am going to fill in our faithful readers on the forecast of the Milwaukee Bucks.

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A Little History:

To start off, may we go back to The Freelancer’s Inside the Name Series, in regards to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The last portion of the “animal” category of team names is the “generally harmless, but can cause major damage to your car.” While not particularly ferocious, this bottom-feeder of the category can become a major annoyance, especially after colliding with it in your rush to elude the police after a bank heist. The dreadful Milwaukee Bucks fall into this category. While not a threat in the Association (their only NBA Finals victory occurred in 1971), when they collide with teams destined for success, they find ways to stop them dead in their tracks. Most recently, they got in the way of the Charlotte Hornets in 2001, who had just swept the #3 Miami Heat.

The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the most fortunate franchises in league history, well, at least at their conception. After a dismal, but expected, first season in the Association as an expansion team; the team experienced great luck and success in the second and third years of its existence.

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Luck such as drafting Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabaar) and success such as winning the franchise’s sole NBA Championship in 1971 after the acquisition of “the Big O,” Oscar Robertson.

But like all good things, the tandem of Jabaar and Robertson ended soon enough with a change of ownership that induced a trade that sent Jabaar to Los Angeles, where his individual success would continue.

The Bucks continued their string of mediocrity through the 1980’s and into the 1990’s. However, the early 2000’s were different, with the Bucks reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001, losing in seven games to the 76ers.

The Bucks have been on the verge of the playoffs for the past several years now, but seem to trade their big name players such as Ray Allen, Mo Williams, and (more recently) Richard Jefferson.

But the Bucks still have a solid foundation with seasoned veteran and USA Olympic Team member Michael Redd, point guard prospect Brandon Jennings, and a former number one pick in Andrew Bogut.

2008-2009 Record: 34-48

Coach: Scott Skiles

Projected Starting Lineup:

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G Brandon Jennings:

Fresh off the boat from Europe, well kind of, Jennings brings an interesting aspect to this team. Can he unseat incumbent point guard Luke Ridenour for the starting job? That remains to be seen. Coming from the basketball powerhouse high school Oak Hill, Jennings was highly regarded by every major scouting report in 2008. However, Jennings took a different path by skipping college to play a season in Europe, due to the NBA’s ruling on waiting one year after high school. Jennings, who originally signed a letter of intent to play for Arizona, rationalized his decision by claiming he was competing against greater talent, amidst rumours of academic eligibility requirements.

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SG Michael Redd

The face of the franchise and one of the best shooting guards in the league. The Bucks know what they are expecting from Redd, unfortunately fans in Cleveland did not in the midst of trade rumours:

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SF Hakeem Warrick

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A key free agent signing, Warrick chose the Bucks over potential suitors such as Cleveland for the sole purpose of increased playing time. While the Bucks do not expect Warrick to carry the load of the team, they expect an increase of production, especially if Warrick gets the start. Nevertheless, Warrick has a huge gap to fill with the loss of Richard Jefferson.

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PF Joe Alexander

The team’s 1st round pick in the 2008 NBA Draft (8th Overall) showed promise in his rookie season. The 6’8” forward put up solid numbers in the Summer league and the departure of Richard Jefferson means increased playing time for the kid from WVU.

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C Andrew Bogut

The former #1 pick and native of Australia has proved himself to be a solid player in the NBA. Can sometimes be a competant shot blocker as well as a double-double threat.

Key Gains

PG Brandon Jennings

F Hakeem Warrick

Key Losses

F Richard Jefferson

Key Quote

“I like our future. I like the potential. It’s going to be great, … I want to stay humble, continue to work hard at practice … staying together in tough times and tonight was the test of tough times, and we passed the test tonight.” – Michael Redd

Recap:

  1. Sacramento Kings
  2. Washington Wizards
  3. Los Angeles Clippers
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder
  5. Memphis Grizzlies
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves
  7. Golden State Warriors
  8. New York Knicks
  9. Toronto Raptors
  10. Milwaukee Bucks
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