Pistons 95 – Bucks 93 About A Week Before It Matters

There were times the Bucks looked sharp in Friday night’s loss to the Pistons, but most of the evening was a sloppy affair.  Before the game, Scott Skiles was asked if he’d coach Friday as if it were a regular season game, he said no and then really proved that point by going with some lineups throughout the game that will (hopefully) never be a consideration for the rest of the season.  In the first half there was a stretch with:

Brandon Jennings, Charlie Bell, Ersan Ilyasova, Kurt Thomas and Carlos Delfino.

In the second half:

Luke Ridnour, Charlie Bell, Roko Ukic, Ersan Ilyasova and Kurt Thomas.

All of these guys have some skills, but I ask, where does the offense come from on either of those units?  On the first unit the upside is that Jennings is out there hopefully creating some easy shots, so I feel better about that one, but the three point guard set?  None of those players are capable of creating much on offense.  Ukic might be the most capable of that task, and he’s a poor shooter and questionable finisher.  Most of his laurels rest on his defense where he was something of a terror at times Friday.  That second half lineup consisted of complimentary pieces capable of getting offense off of someone else, but largely incapable of initiating much.

Predictably in the three minutes that lineup played together at the start of the fourth quarter, the Bucks went from up one to down five.

But that’s why it’s preseason.  Guys can play in different positions and Skiles can get a look at what he likes seeing and what he doesn’t like seeing.  I’d imagine that lineup will fall in the doesn’t like category, along with Hakim Warrick as a starting power forward.

“Generally you need more than one defensive rebound out of your power forward in 25 or 26 minutes of action.  (Starting) Takes away some from Hak’s game.  His niche in the league has been coming off the bench and scoring on second unit guys.  As a coach you’re trying to put guys in situations where they can have the best success.  That’s what he’s done the best.”

Skiles also made it sound like Warrick won’t really be spending a lot of time at the small forward spot even with Joe Alexander down, despite initial reports when Warrick signed that he’d be capable at that position.

“Hak has struggled to go out on the floor and guard people.  It’s something he’s working on and it’d be a luxury for us since he’s so long, we could post him up on other team’s threes.  The two and three are almost interchangable, there’s just as many three men running off screens for shots and it’s just something that he hasn’t really done.  We’re working with him on it, but I think he’s a ways away from that.”

Listening to Skiles, it sounds like Warrick will be coming off the bench and playing solely the four this year.  Which likely makes the Bucks a better team.  Warrick will be more free to attack without Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut getting touches and Warrick works best in the halfcourt when he’s getting the ball on the wing and attacking.  Of course he’s at his very best when he’s able to get in the open floor, which he did a number of times Friday night with great success.  Finishing is certainly no problem for Warrick.

Skiles indicated he’ll be making his final lineup decisions Sunday and Monday in preparation for the start of the regular season Friday in Philadelphia.  Yes the season FINALLY starts on Friday.

It’s a good feeling.

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