It has been a couple weeks worth of practice, three pre-season games and a boatload of injuries since the Bucks kicked off their new season. Tuesday night though, it looked like this group had not spent much time together at all yet. Milwaukee had their annual open practice which saw the team split into two teams and scrimmage. It sounds a lot better than it looked.
Both teams looked out of sync and significantly sloppier than the Bucks have appeared in any of their first three pre-season games. That’s saying quite a bit too, because Milwaukee turned the ball over 24 times in their exhibition opener. It wasn’t even just the turnovers that seemed to be the problem for both Bucks squads, it was a lack of players being in the right spots.
Coaches were yelling from the bench on a number of occasions reminding players where they needed to be. After the game, Coach Scott Skiles was vocal in his displeasure with where his team is at this far into the exhibition season. After the game, Skiles was asked if the team had made an acceptable amount of progress yet.
“Not as much as we need to,” he said. “But we’ve still got five games left. On one hand we’re not that far into camp, on the other hand we don’t have that much time before we play real games. It’s kind of both right now. We’ve definitely got a ways to go, there’s no doubt about it.”
Though both squads struggled as a team, that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few bright spots.
Brandon Jennings scored a very Jennings-like 18 points. Lots of his baskets came on long jumpers, but he was able to breakdown his defender, often Earl Boykins, and get in the paint for a couple baskets. He finished the first quarter with a floater in traffic, but missed that same shot later. As far as finishing in the paint, he still very much seems to be a work in progress. If Jennings can improve at creating space for himself inside though, that could go a long way towards getting him better looks at the rim. He shook a few defenders on one drive to the hoop and ended up with an uncontested layup. For as quick as he is and as good a ball handler as he is, he didn’t always get through traffic with ease last season.
Larry Sanders, despite sometimes still not knowing where he’s supposed to be, continues to show off his athleticism. He had consecutive put-back dunks in the third quarter that were the result of that great leaping skill and length he has.
Drew Gooden threw a few sharp passes that fewer saw coming. Ersan Ilyasova certainly didn’t, as he had trouble hanging on to them.
This was most people’s introduction to Corey Maggette as a Bucks player and it was a mixed bag. Maggette did get to the line for six free throws, but he has a bad habit of complaining excessively if he doesn’t get a call. Players are going to do that, but in an intersquad scrimmage in early October, that isn’t exactly ideal. One of his teammates could be heard yelling at one point, “We know you can get to the line, just get back on D!” while he was pleading his case on one occasion. His skills as a scorer can’t be questioned, but, much like a lot of his Bucks teammates at this point, he still is a work in progress in regard to fitting in and knowing where to be.
- Darington Hobson – Out for the season
From the Milwaukee Bucks:
Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond announced today that rookie guard Darington Hobson (6-7, 210) had successful left hip surgery this afternoon. Hobson will undergo a similar procedure on his right hip later this year and is expected to miss the 2010-11 campaign.
It seems likelier with each passing day now, that Hobson will be released and Brian Skinner will stick on the roster as the Bucks last man on the bench. Skinner was one of the most active looking players on the court Tuesday night, scoring nine points and grabbing seven rebounds. Skinner went on to join Brandon Jennings as the only players to connect on half-court shots in a contest that won two lucky fans Bucks six-packs.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter