This evening the Milwaukee Bucks look to bounce back from their opening night loss to the Charlotte Bobcats in the franchise’s 44th home opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7:30 PM Tuesday night.
The Bucks and Wolves met twice in the pre-season, with the Wolves taking both games, one a definitive victory, the other courtesy of a late run against Milwaukee’s bench. The Wolves dropped their regular season opener to the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night, 104-100.
Before Tuesday’s game though, the gang here at Bucksketball decided we’d take a look at Milwaukee’s top three after one game.
Jeremy Schmidt: It can’t get much worse for Jackson after last night, so I’ll error on the side of the optimist and say the opposition. Last night seemed to scream: I WANT TO STICK IT TO MY OLD TEAM. Jackson’s strategy of pull-up threes on repeat was curious, but not unlike something we’ve all done in NBA 2K at some point in our lives.
Josh Hilgendorf: After witnessing his performance last night, it is tough not to say the Bucks should fear him more. Entering the season, we knew it was likely Jackson would have performances like that calamity in Charlotte. It is just the nature of the beast. But to actually watch it happen was brutal. Jackson did not do one good thing for the team. He scored six points, three on a wild bank and three on a questionable foul call. Of course, not every game will be like that. But I think at the end of the season, Bucks fans will be calling for Jackson’s exit.
Ian Segovia: We’ll wait and see. Until Jackson feels better, he’s not going to do much more than take threes. And he has bone spurs, so it stands to reason that he’s not going to feel well for a while. Bad threes were a known quality of Jackson going into this experiment, but that was supposed to be mitigated by his passing, which was a rare thing from him against the Bobcats.
2. Brandon Jennings – Has nothing changed?
JS: I’d say, if nothing else, Jennings looked like he’s ready to involve his teammates if they are willing to move. And, until that dreadful long two with the game hanging in the balance, his shot selection looked very strong. Of course, he picked the worst time to try and do too much with that shot selection again. The two threes he took late were both wide open and he attacked often instead of settling for jumpers. But his attacks are still often futile. He could stand to learn a thing or two from Beno Udrih about using his body inside to shield defenders.
JH: It sure doesn’t seem like it. Jennings brought the Bucks back into it with those two threes, but neither were particularly smart shots. And then he followed them up with a terrible 21-foot jumper with plenty of time on the shot clock. Jennings did have a couple nice finishes, but he also had some bad misses. It did seem like Jennings was making an effort to actually go strong to the rim instead of stopping for one of his patented floaters. However, I had zero confidence Milwaukee would end up with points when he drove. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for someone the team’s season basically hinges on.
IS: Aesthetically, Jennings is always going to be pure toxic. It’s still a wonder if he’ll ever turn that toxicity into consistent effectiveness. Just note that he was shooting 40 percent against the Bobcats until that horrific two at the end of the game and he was 50 percent from three. He was also working to get everyone else going first to start the game. But yeah, that long two at the end of the game when he had room to get to the basket was awful. Shot selection is still a big issue with him.
3. Andrew Bogut – Big scorer or a big that can kind of score?
JS: Bogut seemed to mention his confidence every few minutes this pre-season, and he sure looked like he had plenty of it Monday night. But I’m not sure his issue is as simple as confidence. Why can’t Bogut get easy shots? That’s a question that floated over the Bucks last season and needs to be answered this season. Is he not slipping into the right spots? Do guards need to be more willing to find him on drives? Bogut took 14 shots Monday, but just three came at the rim. If he could keep his shots high and find a way to take one or two more at the rim, it would do wonders for him and the Bucks.
JH: Bogut will never be a big scorer. It just isn’t who he is. He clearly has some great post moves, but getting the shot has never been his problem. He just can’t seem to put the ball in the basket consistently. I have a hard time seeing that change. What Bogut did against the Bobcats is what we just need to accept as the standard. He is going to score between 10 and 20 points, pull down around 10 rebounds and block a few shots. That output is clearly enough to make an impact. We just shouldn’t expect much more than that, and that is just fine with me.
IS: As long as the offense runs the way it does, he’ll put up big points occasionally. Last year, he was second among big men in least assisted field goals. The team has to find a way to incorporate Bogut more into the offense. Good news though: Bogut seems more willing to call his own number, taking 14 attempts against the Bobcats. That’s closer to his 2009-10 number. He only took 11 FGA per game last season.