Young, athletic and cheap is not only the title of this post, but apparently John Hammond’s mantra for this off-season.
Charles F. Gardner is reporting the Bucks have finalized a deal with Hakim Warrick. Marc Stein reported much earlier in the day that the Bucks were one of three teams with interest in the fifth year man out of Syracuse and it appears they were more interested than the other two teams.
If all goes through and Warrick (27…so not quite THAT young) does become a Buck in the next few days that will leave them with some options at the power forward spot. Warrick, Ersan Ilyasova and Amir Johnson were all acquired this summer and all come with equal parts intrigue and danger. Any time a player has his rights renounced by his former team, you’ve always got to be a little weary of that. I said earlier today that it was likely a matter of flexibility and not so much that the Grizzilies didn’t think Warrick could play, but it still raises an eyebrow or two. Much like how the Bucks didn’t feel Charlie Villanueva warranted a qualifying offer. It wasn’t that the Bucks thought Villanueva wasn’t good, they just didn’t think he’d work in their salary structure given what he brought to the table as a player.
Warrick has seen some high highs (shout out to Kyle) in his basketball playing life, but has served mostly as a role player since arriving in the NBA. He’s been an on and off starter on fairly bad Memphis teams.One very positive note on Warrick is that his PER has improved with each passing professional year, topping out at 16.91 last year. In comparison Amir Johnson dropped to an all-time low last year of 13.57.
Warrick (every time I say Warrick and I want to call him Peter…I didn’t even like Florida State, what gives?) seemed to have made some progress with his shot selection last year. Two years ago he fell in love with his jump shot, taking over 60% of his shots from outside of close range resulting in over a hundred less free throws attempted than the year before. Last year though, Warrick had his free throw numbers back up to over four and a half a game, likely due to an increased frequency of inside maneuvering. Warrick will likely be able to play ample minutes, as he does not foul at the ridiculous rate of Johnson. Warrick averaged a scant two fouls per game in roughly 24 minutes of action.
As is, I don’t envision Johnson moving over and playing center much. When he was acquired John Hammond noted that he was often in foul trouble last year because he was forced to play out of position at center and they didn’t feel like that’d be the case here. Having the lithe tandem of Johnson and Warrick manning the four and five spots would be like having two Popsicle sticks holding up the foundation of a house. Fouls have long been Johnson’s biggest enemy (see: summer league 2009 in Las Vegas) and if the Bucks think much of him I’d bet they want to do their best to help him with that problem. Warrick could probably slide over and grab a few minutes at the three if Joe Alexander proves still incapable of handling the job though. Warrick shot a respectable 71% from the line last year and around 38% on his jump shots two years ago on 82games most recent updated shooting stats. He’s likely improved some on his outside shot, but not Larry Bird type stuff. For a few minutes a game the Bucks could probably live with him on the floor at the three, assuming they have good shooters at the one and two.
Warrick’s signing is certainly more of the same that we’ve been seeing out of the Bucks all summer long. Athletic? Check. One year? Check. Young? Check. Can he catch a lob from Brandon Jennings? Check. In just over a months time the Bucks have gone from Charlie Villanueva, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Malik Allen and spurts of Joe Alexander to Hakim Warrick, Amir Johnson and Ersan Ilyasova. At the very least I see three guys who can be much better than they are now, and that is exactly what you want from a team that is focused on a few years from now rather than this year.