And We’re Off: Bucks Training Camp Begins

There were a few key words at Bucks media day Monday.

Depth ranks high on the list.  Everyone from Scott Skiles to Andrew Bogut to Bango the Buck was excited about how many options the Bucks now have all over the court.  “We’re three deep everywhere” seemed the day’s mantra.  Of course a lot of the new depth is unproven, therefore buzz word number two was youth.  Michael Redd noted that this may be the youngest squad he’s seen since his days with Milwaukee started.

And the other two words everyone was buzzing about?

Brandon and Jennings.

Even before the moment Jennings came skipping out onto the court it was evident he’d be a popular topic.  If there is one thing Jennings knows how to do, it’s take over a room.

Jennings is not shy about his jubilant manner and constant confidence.   “To play this game, you got to have confidence, at the end of the day.  You got to have confidence and you got to work hard.   I’m happy, you know, I’m playing in the NBA.  This is something I’ve dreamed about doing.”

Part of that dream was assuredly being a starter, something he doesn’t seem all that worried about right now, “If I don’t then I don’t.  We have a veteran point guard … I’m just trying to learn from him.”

He doesn’t seem to want to ruffle any feathers, but we all know Jennings is going to be the big draw from day one.  Michael Redd is a former Olympian and Andrew Bogut may be the most important player on the team, but something about Jennings personality and persona draw attention to him, and the Bucks are surely hoping that will rub off.  For all the talk about the veteran point guard Luke Ridnour easing Jennings into his transition to the NBA, we all know Jennings is the man people will want to see from day one.  Whether his slight frame and inexperience will be ready is a different story, but Jennings thinks he’ll hold up.

“Even though I didn’t play a lot in Europe, behind the scenes a lot of people didn’t really see what I was doing.  I had to work out every day and I was still practicing two times a day.  I don’t think I will hit the wall, but I’m sure I’ll get tired, I’m human.”

Other training camp notes

  • Kurt Thomas on being a veteran on a rebuilding team and his tricks of the trade: “I don’t have a problem with it, just the fact that I’m the old man on the team now.  I definitely know a lot of tricks and I definitely use them to my advantage when I can, especially since I don’t jump as high as I used to.”

Thomas seemed content with his place on the Bucks.  He’s here to play wherever he’s needed, be it the four or the five and bang around bodies a little bit.  His presence next to Andrew Bogut will surely be appreciated.  Bogut has never had a bodyguard on the court with him; he missed Tractor Traylor by about six years.

  • Coach Skiles on Luc Richard Mbah a Moute: “Whatever Luc’s high water mark as a player is going to be in the league he’s going to reach it.  When he’s done playing you’re going to say he’s gotten the most out of his ability.”

Skiles was practically glowing when given the opportunity to talk about Mbah a Moute, which makes sense.  You have to think after as strong a year as Luc had last year he’s got the leg up on the majority of playing time at the small forward spot, but may come off the bench simply due to his incredible versatility.  He was able to guard forwards and guards alike last year, possibly to the determent of his own offense.  When having to match up with two guards like Ben Gordon, Skiles noted that it would force Mbah a Moute into positions he was a little unfamiliar with and maybe not best suited for on offense.  With the Bucks increased depth this year, he should be able to slide around a little more on offense into his more natural forward role.

  • Oh, and the cornerstones of the season and their nicked up bodies?  Redd and Bogut say they’ll be fine by the time the season opens.  Scott Skiles wisely won’t take any chances early, and Bucks fans will continue to hold their breath until October draws to a close and Redd and Bogut are on the court.

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  1. If the Milwaukee Rebuilders finish over .500 this season I will give you my cherished Shawn Kemp autographed Bucks ticket…….I know you have always wanted it.

  2. Depth is one of the most valuable things for a coach. When he doesn’t like the way things are going on the court, he can look down the bench and see OPTIONS…thus not stuck with watching things go wrong. We all know that Skiles has no problem yanking someone for not giving effort or doing things his way.

    As for players, you tend to get the best out of guys when they know there are other viable options ready to take their PT (or money) if they slip up or dont give the necessary effort.

    • While I agree, I think an argument can also be made for players needing to have a role and understand their role. Too many lineup changes and too much shuffling could mess things up. I think depth and interchangable parts are good for a rebuilding team, but in order to get to the next level I think everyone needs to know their role so those on the court together are able to gel.

  3. I agree about knowing roles. If guys are worried about being pulled for each mistake or don’t know what is expected of them when they are in, trouble and confusion will often be the result. I suppose that is what training camp is for.

    When they say “three deep at every position” I’d think it more means, in case of injury we won’t lose much. Some of the third options at each spot are better served as guys who are there just in case. Roko Ukic, Joe Alexander (sadly he’ll be playing catchup due to an early injury again) and Francisco Elson, don’t necessarily need to get in every night.

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