The undefeated Vegas dream is over: Warriors 84 – Bucks 72

Dominique Jones, attacking the rim, as he always does.
Dominique Jones, attacking the rim, as he always does.

The perfect run is over. After fairly handily winning their first two games, the Milwaukee Bucks dropped a Tuesday evening battle with the Golden State Warriors in Las Vegas 84-72. There’s little shame in losing to a Warriors squad that’s now won 11 straight summer league games spanning multiple years and ultimately the wins and losses really mean nothing.

It’s how the teams executed while doing the winning and losing that’s important. Unfortunately for the Bucks, they didn’t do very well in that regard. After shooting 50% as a team in each of their first two games, the Bucks made just 28.6% of their shots against a swarming, athletic Warriors defense. Missed shots weren’t the only problem though, as the Bucks turned the ball over 21 times and handed out just nine assists.

What’s the opposite of an enthusiast? A hater? A detractor? We’ll go with detractor. This game was everything that summer league detractors imagine when they describe what makes them dislike summer league basketball.

It was easier to take after two solid Bucks efforts, but still frustrating to watch.

*****

John Henson made everyone swoon on Sunday and a little bit sad on Tuesday. Okay, that’s probably an overreaction, he didn’t really make everyone sad, but he didn’t turn in another totally dominant effort. He had nine rebounds in the first quarter, which was impressive, but he matched that with four turnovers. By the time the final buzzer rang he had 15 rebounds, eight turnovers and nine points.

The turnover total is probably a bit misleading. Some of those turnovers came on passes that hit his knees or some balls that were 50/50 in traffic that he quickly grabbed and lost. I spoke with Scott Williams and he noted that Henson will learn when he can and can’t put the ball on the floor. Putting the ball on the floor against the Warriors with Scott Machado, Draymond Green and Kent Bazemore is a gamble and he lost more often than not.

*****

This Dominique Jones thing might be a real deal thing pretty soon. I’m a broken record when I talk about him, because he keeps doing the same positive things over and over and the same negative things over and over. He’s a pretty clearly defined player and there very well may be a spot in the NBA for a player like him.

He finished with 11 points on 2-6 FG (7-8 FT). That’s an efficient bad shooting night accomplished due to his very forceful style of play. He’s pictured above and that picture actually was one of the rare moments in which he wasn’t creating contact with a defender. I’m starting to see a bit of Corey Maggette in him, but with some willingness to pass. Not that he’s constantly looking to create for others, but I don’t see him as a black hole either. His most determined efforts come at the right time: in transition.

You could make the case that no team has a guard situation more in flux than the Bucks right now, which obviously makes Jones an interesting player. Could he make the Bucks? I’m not going to rule it out. Luke Ridnour, O.J. Mayo and Ish Smith are the only guards officially on the roster, though Carlos Delfino could help out as well. There’s room for a combo guard behind them. The opportunity is there for Jones, he just needs to seize it.

*****

Schurna, prepping his interesting release.
Shurna, prepping his interesting release.

John Shurna! He’s such a legitimate shooter, despite his moderately goofy form. He finished with 10 points on 2-5 FG (4-5 FT). Don’t get fooled by the five free throws, it’s not like he was attacking the rim over and over. He was fouled on a three and on a fast break. Aside from the breakaway, all of his attempts came from behind the arc. In his past two games, he’s now 5-8 on threes.

Unfortunately, he’s not much of a rebounder or defender. He was beat pretty handily off the dribble by a Golden State big on one occasion and when he and John Henson were the Bucks front court Milwaukee was beat badly on the glass thanks to Henson’s attempts to block shots and Schurna getting jumped over.

He absolutely has one NBA skill in that 3-point shot, but I’m not sure if he’s got enough of everything else to get him past training camp invite guy.

*****

Nate Wolters is going to need to be a spot-up shooter. Apparently this wasn’t his thing at South Dakota State, which I didn’t really know, because I didn’t watch a ton of Jackrabbits games. He’s handled backcourt pressure pretty well an that’s something that pretty much every team has run at him. When he’s played point guard, he’s had to navigate a defender while brining the ball up the court. He isn’t blowing by guys like Ish Smith might, but he’s not getting rattled and he’s getting Milwaukee into offense.

He’s been capable of getting into the paint and getting to the rim against this competition, but I’m not sure it’ll be a thing he does regularly come late October, early November. If he can’t be that guy, he’ll need to add the spot-up shooting to his game. He was 0-4 on threes against the Warriors after not attempting one in his first two games. He finished Tuesday with 10 points on 2-7 FG (6-7 FT).

Categories: Summer League

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in…

3 Comments

  1. That’s interesting that Nate Wolters isn’t considered a spot-up shooter, since he was such a prolific scorer in college from the guard position. I wonder what kind of role the Bucks have had in mind for him.
    I’m taping the Warriors game tonight, and still have yet to watch the Pelicans game. When I watched the Nuggets game on tape last night, one of the guys who impressed me was Mr. Suggs. He looked polished, as in smooth and shining. I’m looking forward to seeing on tape how he has done in the last couple of games, and also learning his first name.

  2. I’m still a game behind, but in Game 2 against the Pelicans the best young Buck by far was the quick, nimble, graceful and generally deerlike Ish Smith. Wow!
    I loved his floater in the lane from about ten feet out that he lofted in the air maybe twenty feet before it came down through the net. He also hit a nice three at the end of the third quarter, but his best work was maneuvering to the hoop for little bank shots into the basket.
    He reminds me of a pass-first version of Brandon who seems more natural at running the floor and is almost flawless dribbling the basketball — like Spiderman with a yo-yo. It was only one game, I realize, but I’m wondering what others think. Though I’m looking forward to watching the Warriors game next on tape, I am so excited about Ish for at least a flash of time that I wanted to make a comment to “bounce” off the rest of you.
    P.S. As for Mr. Suggs (Scott, I think), he could use some hugs. It seemed like he barely got any playing time or opportunities.

  3. To continue this written conversation with myself, Game 3 against the Warriors was definitely a dud. Even watching on tape, with opportunities to fast-forward, the game seemed to take forever.
    Ish still looked outstanding handling the ball and running the show, even though he missed a seemingly endless number of shots in a row between a couple of nice makes going to the hoop. He does seem to have the form to be a good shooter inside and out, maybe needing a little more concentration with eyes focused on the rim.
    Hey, Mike Brusewitz knocked down a couple of three-pointers and had a nice tap-out after a missed shot to give the Bucks another chance on offense! He seems to have a great attitude, a nice demeanor, and good smarts on the court, plus a more graceful (though subtle) athleticism than most of the other guys on the Bucks squad — including John Shurna. It might sound crazy, but I think the Bucks should give him a good long look, along with Mr. Suggs, for possible roster spots.
    Otherwise, I’m not seeing any keepers — including, sadly, Nate Wolters — although it’s only been three games. Just my first impressions, kooky as they may be from a guy who keeps commenting on his own comments.