Bucksketball Podcast

Buck Hits: LARRY SANDERS!, Mayor Barrett on the Bucks, and comments from Beno

| March 1, 2013

Category: Buck Hits

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Welcome to March, the last full month of the NBA regular season. At the moment, the Milwaukee Bucks are the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, a game and a half behind the Boston Celtics for the seventh seed and three and a half games behind the Chicago Bulls for the sixth seed. Both the Celtics and Bulls have struggled of late, so it seems possible that the Bucks could jump them if J.J. Redick gels quickly.

For even more fun, the Bucks are only five games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the fourth seed. If the Bucks can get hot down the stretch similar to the Fear the Deer run of 2010 (16-7 in March and April), then a high seed and maybe even home court could be possible. But first, Brandon Jennings should remember how to play basketball. Here’s your recap of the past week.

Recap

Bucks 102 vs. Hawks 103 – Recap, Box Score, Highlights

Bucks 95 vs. Mavericks 90 – Recap, Box Score, Highlights

Bucks 110 vs. Rockets 107 – Recap, Box Score, Highlights

Coverage

Matt Moore of CBS Sports wrote an incredible feature story on our lovely LARRY SANDERS! You shouldn’t need anymore information from me to make you read the article. Go do it. For Larry.

Yesterday, Steve von Horn of Brew Hoop wrote a great piece about  Jennings and if he will be able to accept sacrificing minutes for wins with the addition of Redick and emergence of Monta Ellis. It’s a great read.

On Monday, Zach Lowe of Grantland labeled Ellis, as well as all of the Bucks backcourt and wings, as players to watch post-trade deadline because of course they are. Here’s his blurb on Ellis:

“But Ellis is the guy to watch. He has an $11 million player option for next season, and the league is assuming he’ll opt out to secure a long-term deal in the four-year/$32 million range. If he does, the Bucks can work their way to serious cap room — Josh Smith–level cap room — by using the amnesty provision on Drew Gooden. It’s unclear if they’ll pay Gooden to go away, but bottom line: Ellis has to prove he still can actually help teams win over the long haul, and he has stiffer competition now in doing so.”

Also on Monday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett emphatically stated during his State of the City that keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee should be a priority of the city. This is good news, but it will take a lot more than support from Milwaukee to receive funding for a new arena. Neighboring counties and the state will need to back the investment as well. But baby-steps are clearly being made and that’s about all we can hope for at this point.

Steve von Horn of Brew Hoop just won’t quit at being great. Today he looked at the recent numbers of Tobias Harris and decided that his performance in Orlando has been less impressive than his box scores show.

More interesting stuff from Brew Hoop. Yesterday Frank Madden wrote about Redick and how he differs from Ellis and Jennings. My first guess is names. They have different names. Did I win? What did I win?

BREAKING: Beno Udrih did not enjoy his time in Milwaukee.

And finally, on Wednesday the Bucks posted this video of the players visiting a camp for Special Olympians. It’s enjoyable.

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About the Author ()

Jon Hartzell is a Bucks fan trying to be more optimistic. Larry Sanders is wonderful. During the Fear the Deer run he was a ball boy for the team and was constantly yelled at by Kelvin Sampson. He’s currently a student at UW-Madison and writes for NBA.com, DIME Magazine, and (formerly) A.V. Club Milwaukee.

Comments (17)

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  1. Sfisch says:

    I wish I could know which of the players on the Bucks
    are just mercenaries who can’t wait to move to another
    team. I don’t want to waste my time on them.

    I was hoping that we might be able to cultivate Tobias,
    along with Larry and John Henson, to be long-term guys
    for the Bucks — as well as anyone else who might want
    to come along. I really like to root for guys over a long
    period of time rather than having guys just passing through.

    I’m kind of sad if people are already trying to minimize
    what Tobias is doing for the Magic. He’s going to have his
    ups and downs, but let’s give him some appreciation for what
    he’s done in his first three games for a new team after
    rusting on the Bucks bench for so long. Whether he succeeds
    or fails, ultimately, the point is that the Bucks couldn’t
    even give 15 minutes a game to a first-round draft pick.

    Fans seem to be all-excited about Monta despite his inconsistencies,
    which, as I understand it, include missing five shots in a row
    down the stretch against Houston before throwing up his lucky
    game-winner. Not to take away from the good things he did in that
    game, but if he’s just auditioning for another team, it seems stupid
    to give him 45 minutes and 24 shots in one game. I hope that’s not
    the case, but again, I wonder about Monta and other guys on the team.

    If there’s no loyalty between players and fans and management, then
    I’m not all that excited about having a hoops team in Milwaukee –
    and I’ve been a huge fan for more than 40 years. It’s loyalty and character that has allowed the Wisconsin Badgers to excel against traditional college basketball powerhouses. Without loyalty and character from all sides, the Bucks will continue to be a second-rate franchise.

  2. happyfeethustle says:

    I hear ya loud n clear Sfisch… I too like to root for players long term. I suffer from the LOYALTY disease- often times I want to turn my back on BUCKS and find another squad to cheer for-just cant do it!

    I’ve been critical of the ENTIRE Ellis experiment-now find myself uplifted by recent success w/his play at PG. Although its not ALL STAR caliber- it is passionate,… looks like WINNING is everything to him
    now. Thats not always been the case over last 3 months.

    Im also a Brandon lover- despite his faults. Would be sooooo rewarding for fans to see a more consistent Brandon. Im sure he would also feel better about it too! He has given fans ALOT to cheer about- Three pointer at buzzer against Cavs, Multiple 3rd quarter offensive EXPLOSIONS, Domination of Nate Robinson for a Bucks victory in Chicago, etc…etc… He can be awesome to watch, then again he can be a drain to watch. Pouty, poor body language, intentional fouls when he doesn’t get a call etc..etc..!

    It is what it is- Im hopelessly optimistic, and unable to root against my hometown squad.

    GO BUCKS GO

    • Sfisch says:

      I was seven years old in 1970 when the Bucks
      lost a playoff series to the Knicks in six games –
      and I remember crying, and I think my Dad got
      mad at me. The next season, the Bucks won their
      only championship, with Kareem, Oscar, Bobby Dandridge,
      John McGlocklin and other notables, and I was overjoyed.
      Anyway, I’m not likely to give up on the Bucks too
      easily.

      I do get discouraged though at the mercenary mentality
      in pro sports — the idea that it’s just a business.
      Well, I’m not going to spend my leisure time watching
      guys build a house or go to a company board meeting
      for fun, or buy a hat or jersey with the logo of a
      megacorporation on it.

      I realize that there are times when difficult decisions have
      to be made in sports about players staying or going, but
      there has to be a prominent place for loyalty and character
      and a real relationship between players-fans. I think
      that’s why we’ll always love the Packers of the 1960s and
      the Bucks of the early 1980s. It’s why I hope the Packers
      keep Greg Jennings, even if it’s a little costly and risky. Otherwise, being a sports fan just seems so superficial!

      Anyway, I’m not giving up on anyone on the current roster
      for the Bucks, but I’m wary of getting too attached to or
      excited about any of them, as well. I hope a big focus for
      the Bucks is having players with character and loyalty, and
      I hope we fans respond in kind!

      P.S. Thanks for your above response, happyfeethustle!

      • Patti says:

        Awe come on…you don’t have one John Deere baseball cap? LOL

        I know…not one that you had to actually PAY FOR!

        Too much time between games this week to over think and over react. I’m stuck on the Bucks so whatever happens, I’m hoping for the best.

        They are long overdue for some of that March magic, and I want to see Jeremy change the Bucksketball header to read at least 7th Seed Or Bust! There is still hope.

        Go Bucks!

        • Sfisch says:

          “7th Seed or Bust!”

          I like it.

          Please excuse me if I got carried away. I’m still
          upset about the Ray Allen trade, too… oops, there
          I go again! Actually, I don’t think I’m overreacting
          (well, maybe just a little) but then again, I don’t
          want to get maudlin. It’s hard to strike a balance
          between positive and negative, and this current team
          for the Bucks is difficult for me to get a handle on.

          Still, I’m rooting for the Bucks the rest of the way,
          also, and for all of our players! So, let’s go get them Celtics!

          • Patti says:

            Oh no…I did not at all mean to imply that you said too much. I really enjoyed your post and happy feet too. I loved your part about it being just a business, which is why I poked you about it.
            That was meant only to be directed at myself, as I have been rather vocal (on a blog do you call it postal?) this past week and I am just jonesing for an actual game.

            Was hoping for a Boston loss last night, but noooooo
            Warriors couldn’t pull out a win, even after we gave them Bogut?

          • Sfisch says:

            Thank you Patti for your nice note this
            morning (Saturday). Also, good chance for me
            to say that I appreciate your enthusiasm
            for the Bucks, as well as your insights and
            humor.

  3. Justin says:

    I don’t know if I am mad or laughing hysterically at Brando’s perception of Bucks vs. Mavs.. he really said “Who wouldn’t wanna play for that organization”? Lets’ break that down for a second.. the team with the aging star,the sub .500 record, the mishmash of talent, and I’ve never heard anyone say they loved playing with OJ Mayo before.. Dallas has completely mismanaged everything about the team/talent and Dirk has said so.. but way to sight that Mark Cuban is dancing around excited, let me see if we can teach Herb Kohl to back flip.. COMPLETELY ASININE

    Now brings me to Tobias.. why does everyone keep bringing up his stat lines and breaking them down to garbage minutes vs valuable minutes? My only point about what he is doing is this: He should have been freaking playing.. he is showing that with playing time that he can contribute and he never got that chance with the Bucks.. so stop trying to break the kid down and just be happy that he’s being afforded that chance

    • Patti says:

      Brandon was right about one thing…Mark Cuban does get excited. I just don’t know if his actions would always be described as ‘dancing’ though.

      We could petition Dancing With The Stars and see if we could get Herb Kohl a spot on the show.

    • Sillybilly says:

      Yea Brandon reminds me a lot that he is only 23 years old with his comments and body language. Having his talent would be good for most any roster, but featuring him as the centerpiece of a franchise would be the mark of an organization that is certainly doing something wrong.

  4. Sillybilly says:

    Just wanted to contribute to “Bucks Hits” with a great read from Bill Simmons in which he lists the best player contract bargains and provides some great commentary on the bucks:

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9002028/the-best-bargains-nba

    first Bucks mention:

    Luc Mbah a Moute (Bucks): 3 years, $13.8 million
    Love watching this dude play defense, love listening to opposing announcers mangle his name. You gotta hand it to Bucks GM John Hammond:3 He made three bad signing mistakes (the Drew Gooden/John Salmons/Corey Maggette contracts) and somehow extricated himself from two of them. He bailed on Andrew Bogut’s contract at the perfect time. (Sorry, Warriors fans, it’s true.) He nailed three first-rounders in four years (Brandon Jennings at 10, Larry Sanders at 15 and John Henson at 14) and smartly traded down in a crappy 2011 draft from 10 (Jimmer Fredette) to 19 (Tobias Harris) while dumping Salmons in the process. Looking at their roster right now, they don’t have a single overpaid player except for Monta Ellis4 (probably bolting this summer) and Gooden (an amnesty candidate). Watch what happens this summer when Hammond flips Jennings (eligible for a big extension) for assets to some desperate team that wants to stupidly overpay him — it’s the same thing New Orleans should have done with Eric Gordon (and didn’t). More on this later.

    Second Bucks mention (BJ3 discussed starting in 3rd paragraph):

    5. Al Horford (Hawks): 4 years, $48 million
    He signed a five-year, $60 million extension in November of 2010, so we’re only in Year 2 of what almost immediately became a doozy of a bargain for the Hawks. He’s the league’s 41st highest-paid player right now, earning significantly less than peers like Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph and Chris Bosh. Carlos Boozer and Al Jefferson make 25 percent more per year than Horford does. Heck, Kris Humphries makes as much per year as Horford does.

    Quick tangent: I understand why players gravitate toward grabbing guaranteed money over just rolling things over and betting on themselves in the open market. I do. Just understand that it’s the best possible way for a team to pay discount prices for an All-Star … as long as you’re betting on the right guy (Rondo, Horford, Noah, Ibaka, Holiday or Curry) and not the wrong guy (like $50 million for Andrea Bargnani).

    Flipping that around: You might remember Roy Hibbert, Nic Batum and Eric Gordon passing up extensions and betting on themselves as restricted free agents. What happened last summer? Hibbert and Gordon landed max deals; Batum landed $46.5 million over four years. Expect the same good fortune for Brandon Jennings this summer — back in October, he only wanted the same numbers that Holiday and Curry were getting, Milwaukee balked, and now he’s headed into the open market as a possible max guy during a piss-poor summer for marquee free agents. Should Jennings make more than Ibaka or Lawson?

    (Hold on, I have to find my cap locks key. Give me one second here.)

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You can’t give the max or even anything close to the max to a shoot-first point guard who makes 40 percent of his shots, especially if it’s someone who undeniably hurts his teams in crunch time. Of the 25 players who took the most “clutch” shots so far this season (close games, three minutes or less), Jennings has the second-worst field goal percentage (27.3 percent) and is tied for the fourth-most turnovers (nine). During the 2011-12 season, he took the fifth-most clutch shots (63) and made the lowest percentage of anyone in the top 25 (20.6 percent). During the 2010-11 season, he had the lowest “clutch” field goal percentage (25 percent) of anyone in the top 20 not named “DeMarcus Cousins” (a rookie that year). Really, he should be making Mike Conley/Goran Dragic/Jeremy Lin money (something like $8 million a year), but as they say in auctions, it only takes two dummies to drive up someone’s price. No offense to Brandon Jennings, but I can’t wait to make fun of the team that gives him $58 million over four years. And it WILL happen. (End tangent.)

    • Patti says:

      Nice read. Thanks.

      We thought the recent trade deadline was intriguing. It’s going to be a crazier summer with all the expiring contracts on this team.

    • Sfisch says:

      Very interesting stuff on “clutch-stats.”

      Another aspect of Brandon Jennings that I wonder about:
      He doesn’t seem to be all that great of a ballhandler,
      especially for a point guard. For one thing, he seems
      to dribble the ball too high; another thing is that he
      seems to fumble the ball from time-to-time. These things,
      if my perception is right, would be magnified during
      crunch time when the defenses get tighter. I wonder
      if more knowledgeable fans see the same thing, because
      I’m not sure about this.

      • Sillybilly says:

        Yea I wouldn’t rate him as a great ball handler compared to his peers though he deserves credit for having a low turnover rate throughout his career.

        But he doesn’t do something related to ball handling that is important to being a good passing point guard – something that Chris Paul and Steve Nash do a phenomenal job of and you can watch Rajon Rondo, Jeremy Lin, Goran Dragic, and Ty Lawson do well also – the thing which I am referring to is calmly dribbling into traffic while maintaining good court vision and being in position to quickly pass, shoot, or retreat based on the reaction of the defense. Chris Paul and Steve Nash will meander in and out of defended areas with regularity all the while maintaining their dribble and keeping an eye out for opportunities to shoot or pass. It isn’t an easy skill to acquire and thus it is much more common to see in the nba than any other level. By doing this a pg effectively forces the issue for the defense and as a result creates opportunities which can be converted on if he and his teammates can react quickly enough and are on the same page.

        On the occassion that Brandon does probe into defended areas it is usually for a drive. He usually moves very quickly (I would say nervously) with what seems to be pre-determined intent/tunnel vision. Not all options are on the table for him in these instances. Recently I think Monta Ellis showed good capability to probe the defense and I think it was a big reason why he was so successful despite the fact that he was still shooting poorly.

        • Sfisch says:

          This is really very interesting stuff, and it
          reinforces my concerns that Brandon just might
          not have the makeup to be a premier point guard
          in the NBA. That doesn’t mean he can’t have a
          good career, maybe even very good, but it’s
          important to put him in a position to succeed.
          As has been discussed here in the past, that
          might be somewhere in the vast territory of
          2-quard/hybrid/6th-man.

          It will be interesting to see how (and where)
          Brandon develops as a player from here-on-out.
          He’s still really young, and I hope he’s coached
          well. I wish him all the best.

  5. Sillybilly says:

    Also I thought it was interesting that giving Brandon fewer minutes and Monta more minutes in this three guard rotation directly benefits upcoming roster management decisions. Less minutes and playing impact for Brandon will deflate his FA value making it easier for the Bucks to match offers for him. More playing time and playing impact for Monta will increase his FA value and make him want to opt out (which the Bucks likely want at this point). Its far-fetched that the new rotation is being implemented for the sake of management because playing time for the last 30 games will probably have minimal effect on the percieved value of these players, but I just thought it was an interesting correlation.

    • Sfisch says:

      In connection to my posts above, it would be more than
      a little sad to me if Brandon and Monta really want out of the Bucks — unless, perhaps, they get inflated contracts. Difficult for me too get too “invested” in them!