The Milwaukee Bucks have signed Keyon Dooling to a two-year-deal to backup Brandon Jennings.
After the departure of Luke Ridnour, backup point guard was the last hole on a roster that’s become incredibly deep this off-season. Heading into his 11th season, the 6-foot-3, 195 pound Dooling brings a different dimension to the point guard spot with size the Bucks did not have last season.
Despite the size advantage Dooling has over Ridnour, he’ll be stepping into some pretty big shoes. Ridnour surprised everyone with by far the best season of his career last year, posting a 17.7 PER while dropping jaws with a shooting percentage line of .478/.381/.909. Of course, that merely boosted Ridnour’s career numbers to .424/.347/.864, so it may be difficult for him to replicate last year’s stellar efforts. And without those shooting percentages, Ridnour becomes considerably less valuable. While he led the Bucks in assist percentage last season and generally showed tons of toughness, his size limits him to having success guarding point guards only.
Dooling likely won’t be able to match what Ridnour did offensively last season, but it stands to reason that he can give the Bucks nearly exactly what Ridnour would give them in a typical Luke Ridnour season. Dooling has a career true shooting percentage of .516 and a career effective field goal percentage of .464. Nearly identical are Ridnour’s career numbers of .512 and .463 respectively.
Essentially, the only area in which one could expect Ridnour to easily outshine Dooling next season is free-throw shooting. Ridnour’s career percentage from the line is .864, while Dooling lags slightly behind at .798. Ridnour helped seal a number of games down the line last season, but with a season of work under Jennings belt and the full season additions of John Salmons and Corey Maggette, it seems safe to say Ridnour wouldn’t be needed at the end of games as much.
After undergoing hip surgery last off-season, Dooling struggled to be Keyon Dooling last season. By that I mean, he wasn’t the bubbly leader he apparently often is. And on last year’s Nets, who can blame him? Here’s an excerpt from a (Nets writer) Dave D’Alessandro story from January in which he spoke with Dooling after a big win in which Dooling was chipper as ever.
“Some days are better than others with the hip. The explosion hasn’t come back yet — talking to the doctor, he said I should be back to normal after a year. So next year I’ll feel great. Wherever I am next year.”
For what it’s worth, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Dooling’s teammate on the Nets last year, was very excited to see Dooling as the Bucks newest addition.
“Keyon is a professional in every sense of the word. Great lockeroom guy & he won’t ever miss any open 3. He’ll be great for BJ. Yes yess!”
For as many additions as the Bucks have made this off season, very few of them have been of the veteran variety. Corey Maggette has the reputation of being a good guy, but a possibly destructive chemistry force on the court overshadows that. Drew Gooden isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a locker room leader and Jon Brockman, the soon-to-be newest Buck assuming a trade goes down for him, is only heading into his second season. Dooling can help step into the roles filled by Jerry Stackhouse and Kurt Thomas last season as Bucks players who have been there before. Guys who have lots of experience with the highs and lows of the NBA season. The Bucks care players, Jennings and Andrew Bogut will each have one more season under their belt and will logically take on more leadership, but it’s always good to have that veteran at the end of the bench who’s seen it and is willing to let his teammates know what to do. In that regard, Dooling is a perfect fit.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com