No more nostalgia, no more complaining from me, no more legalese. We can finally talk hoops again. As Chuck Mangione might say, “it feels so good.”
We’re kicking off with Bucksketball’s first installment of the TrueHoop Network’s Three-On-Three series. It’s like those Five-On-Fives you see back at the mothership, but shorter and longer all in one. Today we’re addressing some lingering roster questions that will finally clear up in the next few weeks.
1. Who is a more important potential loss Ersan Ilyasova or Luc Mbah a Moute?
Jeremy Schmidt: In reality, it’s Mbah a Moute. But the loss of what everyone hoped Ilyasova could have developed into stings more. Most have accepted that Mbah a Moute is close to the player he’s going to be. But there was always that hope that Ilyasova would turn into a high percentage three-point shooter that aggressively defended the post and rebounded ferociously. Losing the shooter that could have been on an always offensively challenged group is deflating.
Ian Segovia: Mbah a Moute. Ilyasova’s efficiency and rebounding are what made him an asset in the 2009-10 campaign, but outside of his free throw shooting, Ilyasova barely shot better than LRMAM last year. LRMAM is an elite defender at three positions and he’s not that much of an offensive liability if he’s playing near the rim or cutting to the basket often.
2. Where is the biggest hole on the current roster?
Jeremy Schmidt: A backup center certainly would be a useful addition as soon as free agency starts, but this offensively awkward group sure could use a shooter somewhere on the roster. Milwaukee’s best three-point shooter as it stands is Carlos Delfino. Then there’s quite a chasm between he and Beno Udrih, Stephen Jackson and Keyon Dooling. If Brandon Jennings is a 32% shooter from three rather than the 37% he was as a rookie, this team needs another player that can hit consistently from deep.
Ian Segovia: Frontcourt depth. The second-best big is Drew Gooden and then there’s a steep drop-off from him. Maybe Larry Sanders makes an unlikely leap this season, but everyone else the Bucks can play at the 4 or 5 is a well-known entity. And here’s what we know about them: they’re not that good or are woefully incomplete players.
Josh Hilgendorf: The Bucks could really use a power forward to complement Andrew Bogut. Many players have tried, but nobody has successfully fit the bill. It seems like Bogut is also stuck next to players with glaring weaknesses. While Mbah a Moute has been decent, he is far from a long term option at that position. I’d like the Bucks to get a player who can take some of the defensive pressure off of Bogut. While he is obviously an outstanding defender, Bogut shouldn’t have to be killing himself every night. We all know he won’t hold up if that is the case.
3. Last man on the bench: Darington Hobson or Jon Leuer?
Jeremy Schmidt: Hobson. This is more curiosity than anything at this point. Hobson’s college numbers were a testament to versatility, and it would be interesting to see how they translate. If Leuer showed he could step out and hit the three, essentially if he were an Ilyasova replacement ready to go, maybe I’d feel differently about this. But without a three-point shot, Leuer doesn’t have anything that stands out the way Hobson’s multi-faceted skills do.
Ian Segovia: Hobson. No point in adding a four who isn’t strong enough to defend or rebound in the NBA when they already have a platoon of mediocre power forwards. The front office has been talking up Hobson for a while, so it’d be weird if they let him go now. Swingmen with good court vision make Skiles offense hum. Between Hobson, Udrih and Jackson, the Bucks have that in spades.
Josh Hilgendorf: While I would personally prefer Leuer, it is going to be Hobson. The Bucks have kept him around the team too long to just give up on him now. Somebody, probably John Hammond, is infatuated with his skill set. I think this is the year we finally see what he can do. I am biased, but I think Leuer will be a good pro. It is just going to take him a season or two to adjust. A big part of his game is taking slower big men off the dribble, something that will not come easy in the NBA. Both of these guys are skinny, but Leuer did at a position where bulk is more important.