Game One: Milwaukee Bucks at Charlotte Bobcats
At this point, there are a lot of things up in the air before the Milwaukee Bucks take on the Charlotte Bobcats in the season opener for both teams.
It sounds like most Bucks players will be active. Scott Skiles told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Charles F. Gardner on Christmas Eve that he wasn’t sure whether or not Luc Mbah a Moute (knee tendinitis) would be ready to go for the opener and Tobias Harris seems a sure bet to miss on account of the dehydration issues he’s had over the past week. Carlos Delfino’s sprained right wrist may limit him early as well. Both Mbah a Moute and Delfino practiced on Saturday, but both were limited.
But everyone else, Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson included, practiced and seem set to go this evening, barring any abnormalities.
Mike Dunleavy Jr. was quite the hit throughout the pre-season and with Delfino nursing his wrist on his shooting hand, he’ll slide in at the three. Brandon Jennings, Bogut and Jackson are the unquestioned starters at the one, two and five, and according to the aforementioned Gardner, Ersan Ilyasova will be starting at the four. It seemed likely that Drew Gooden would man the forward spot next to Bogut, but the lack of a backup center appears to have made him an appealing option off the bench.
As far as the Bobcats go:
Watch These Guys, Not Other Guys
- Kemba Walker
One of Charlotte’s two first round picks this season, the electric Walker joins the ‘Cats after a stellar college career at Connecticut. While his credentials as a point guard aren’t spectacular, Walker’s already demonstrated that his athleticism and quickness are ready for the NBA. He may make a couple nice passes and display a bit of vision, but watching Walker score, or at least watch him learning how to score, will be enjoyable for the opposition all year. If no one else does, Walker gives fans all over a reason to keep an eye on the Bobcats.
- Bismack Biyombo
Charlotte’s other first round pick this past summer, Biyombo bought his way out of his contract with a Spanish club so he could spend this season in the NBA. He’s the prototypical raw, athletic, shot-blocking big man. His minutes may be limited, and he’ll probably look lost more than he won’t, but keep an eye on him when he’s on the court. He has special abilities and can be a game changer on defense when everything lines up correct.
Everyone else on the Bobcats is fairly depressing. Corey Maggette is going to be relied upon heavily to do the scoring for Paul Silas’s group, so that paints a pretty vivid picture of Charlotte’s aspirations this season. Tyrus Thomas, Eduardo Najera and Reggie Williams are expected to miss the game with injuries.
The Bobcats are sort of young and largely without premium talent. They’ll likely turn the ball over a bit and very likely have trouble scoring with regularity. Of course, the Bucks have rarely been known to stress out a scorekeeper themselves. Milwaukee’s defense will keep them in this game, but we haven’t seen just what this year’s Bucks team is capable of offensively yet. There will likely be some early season growing pains, pains that shouldn’t keep them from beating a team like the Bobcats, but after last season, it’s hard to assume anything is a given for the Bucks.
It’s a new season though, a fresh start, with fresh players. If those players are the jumper cables the Bucks offense so badly needs, we’ll start to find out tonight.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.