Well, that was an exciting week. The Bucks proved what we have figured all along. They’ll be inconsistent. They can be exciting and dominant like they were against the Celtics, pesky and Mike Dunleavy-y like they were against the Cavaliers, or just horrible like they were against the Grizzlies. We never know what we’ll get with this Bucks team and that’s half of the fun. Here’s your recap of the week that was.
According to Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Beno Udrih is probable for tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards. Udrih missed the Grizzlies game with a right thigh contusion. His return will be welcomed as he is one of the few offensive sparks off the bench.
On Thursday, Ian Thomsen of SI.com wrote a profile on Brandon Jennings. In it, Jennings compares his recent drive and determination to what he had while he played in Europe.
“When I went to Europe it was humbling, and this one now — not getting an extension,” he said. “So I just go out there and play every game and I just push myself.”
So the absence of a new contract was bringing out the best in him?
“Oh, yeah, no doubt,” he said. “I can compare this year to the Europe year when I didn’t play at all, and I came back from Europe so hungry, just trying to go get it.”
Also from Thursday, Ian Levy from Hardwood Paroxysm wrote an outstanding feature on the Bucks’ first two games and the statistical oddities that they show.
The Bucks have carved out a niche in our collection of early season peculiarities by replicating, and even improving on, the defensive efficiency of their days as rough-and-tumble grinders. Through three games they are holding opponents to an average of 101.9 points per 100 possessions. That’s just the 20th best mark in the league this season, but more than a full point better than their 2009-2010 performance, and significantly better than the league average mark of 106.1 over the last decade. That they’ve played solid defense with Brandon Jennings, Ellis and Dunleavy leading the team in minutes is impressive. That they’ve done it while playing at the league’s fourth fastest pace is even more impressive.
On Monday, Steve Aschburner of NBA.com wrote a nice piece on Mike Dunleavy that gives him much of the credit for Jennings Player of the Week honors. Aschburner even makes a case for Dunleavy as a better POW candidate.
Jennings’ numbers to earn POW: 17.0 points, 13.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game in Milwaukee’s 2-0 start. But take a look at Dunleavy’s: 18.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals, while shooting 70.6 percent from the field and 87.5 percent (7-of-8) from the arc. Against the Cavs, he had 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. His PER, as a measure of overall efficiency: 34.2. Jennings? 28.5. The average NBA player checks in at 15.0.
This GIF happened:
Way back on Sunday, Paul Flannery wrote some words about Jennings for SBNation. In the piece, Flannery details Jennings’ rise and fall from high school phenomenon to now being the only big-name player from his draft class without an extension.
It must be strange to be no longer a phenom at the age of 23, and while there have been flashes of brilliance, Jennings has never been able to sustain that incredible shooting that marked his first month in the league. ‘Just become more efficient,’ his coach Scott Skiles said when asked what his point guard needed to do to achieve that long-sought breakthrough, and those four words define him as much as those ill-advised step-back jumpers he’s still prone to take on occasion.
And finally, Truman Reed from Bucks.com offered his take on Larry Sanders’ sudden rise to competency and how he became a fan-favorite. Let’s just take a moment to note, Larry has always been my favorite. Trend setter, I am. Sanders also talks about pace again, so that’s pretty neat.
When I’m away from the basket, I have to set good screens. I have to know when to release, when to cut to the basket, things like that – timing things. I think that starts with my pace and how I play. Great players find an even pace and it works for them.