Category: Power Rankings
Louis CK came to the Pabst Theatre last October. It was a hilarious show rife with social comedy and jokes about old people falling down. He did a solid 50 minutes or so on stage and everyone in the audience would have left very satisfied if he stopped there. But he didn’t. He came back for a finale and it was far grander than any I’ve seen at a firework show in my entire life.
Today is my finale. It won’t be as funny as Louis CK’s. It won’t be as colorful as one you may see on the 4th of July. But I can assure you I won’t write anything for a while again after it because I’m a grouch and I hate preseason predictiony type things.
And one more note: A friend of mine is raising money for tomorrow’s JDRF Walk at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Please click through and donate a few bucks if you can spare it. Kids don’t deserve to be inflicted with things they can’t control. Let’s toss some money into more research and see if science can take care of this thing. Thanks.
3. Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo
For a career role player forced into a big role, this may be a little high. If we’re factoring in future, it seems like Brandon Knight or even Giannis Antetokounmpo should be ranked higher. But I’m a bit fascinated by O.J. Mayo on the Bucks next season.
He spent most of his basketball playing life expected to be the leading scorer and centerpiece of his team’s offense. All that changed when he got into the NBA though. He was immediately the number two option behind Rudy Gay in Memphis. Then he was the third guy after Zach Randolph came to town. Then Marc Gasol took a bigger role. Eventually, Mayo was a sixth man for the Grizzlies. This was probably the first time in Mayo’s life he had to come off the bench.
He thrived early last season as the lead threat on Dallas, but struggled after Dirk Nowitzki returned.
Mayo isn’t really good enough to be a number one scorer on a really good team in the NBA. But maybe he could be on an okay team. It’s possible he’ll really thrive in the role as the Bucks top option this coming season. Role is so important in the NBA and maybe Mayo will finally fall into the role he’s been most comfortable in for the majority of his life.
At the very least, I expect Mayo will be an improvement on Monta Ellis from a sanity standpoint. He’ll make more shots and probably take fewer bad ones. But he won’t be as explosive or get to the rim or make as many nice passes. It’s probably a net even from a production standpoint, but again, sanity, whew.
2. John Henson
What can John Henson be? The possibilities seem so limitless. He can use his left hand incredibly well, but he’s right handed. He’s all arms and legs, but he’s very coordinated too. He came into the NBA already renowned for his defense and flashed some offensive potential as well. He had games of 28 points and 16 rebounds and 18 points and 17 rebounds. He dominated summer league and earned tons of praise this past July. Everyone is excited about John Henson.
Realistically, he seems like he’s Milwaukee’s best bet as a self creator of offense in the forward/center positions, which is what has me most intrigued about him this season. I respect that post-ups are probably a less efficient scoring system, but Henson seems like he could even catch, face-up and make a quick move to get past many centers or forwards in the league. At the very least, he should be able to jab and get an open short shot thanks to his length.
Defensively, I’m ready for Henson to explode this year and be a Sanders level impactor, which makes the idea of those two on the court together very cool. But one of them has to be more than just a finisher offensively for that to really work.
Be that guy, John Henson.
1. Larry Sanders
Larry’s conquering of the hearts and minds of Bucks fans really began in training camp last year. At least that’s when we all started to notice it. After a rough summer, Bucks coaches were effusively praising his play early in camp. Then he started playing very well in pre-season games. Suddenly it was the regular season and he was tossing up double-doubles while dominating on the defensive end.
Then he spent the summer championing the cause of Milwaukee as a great city. Pictures of him on the lake, at his apartment downtown, signing a contract to stay in the city for a bunch more years, tweeting about heading out on the town. He was all about it. And Milwaukee falls easily for that sort of thing.
Now Sanders enters the season with enormous expectations. He’s going to be someone’s defensive player of the year pick, probably. He’s likely to grace the cover of the media guide. He’ll be the target of teams during a game and reporters after. Can he hold up to that pressure? Can he do more offensively? Can he sustain those great levels he produced at defensively last year with more minutes?
Pressure is on Larry and the Bucks know it. They’re trying to put him in a position to be successful and they committed to him long term so he wouldn’t have to worry about his future this year. Will this be the beginning of something beautiful or another sad reminder that contract extensions for non-stars are a dicey proposition? Larry’s going to spend the season answering that question, which makes him the most interesting Buck to me.
About the Author (Author Profile)Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in January of 2009 because he hated his job. It’s like basketball, but with Bucks instead of basket. I know ... I’m sorry. He might come off as a bit negative, but I'm really not so bad. He just wants the Bucks to succeed, so he points out areas where they are coming up short. Someone has got to do it and he's ornery and opinionated enough to take on that task. He isn't sure if this should be in third person or not. Contact him at Jeremy@Bucksketball.com if you must use e-mail.
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