It’s been 184 days since the Bucks last took the court in a meaningful basketball game (don’t kid yourself about the preseason). In that six-month span, a lot has changed. The coach has changed. The starting point guard, shooting guard, and small forward are all new. Over two-thirds of the roster is different today than it was when the Bucks lost to the Heat for the last time on April 29. The Bradley Center even has a new court design to
distract the fan base pay homage to the franchise’s rich history.
But now, the first game of the new season is upon us. The 82-game trek to the playoffs or to the lottery begins here. And by here, I mean under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, because for the 29th (and what feels like the 200th) year in a row, the Bucks open the season on the road. The first true test of this new Larry Drew-led squad will come against a familiar foe, one that they encountered less than a week ago, albeit in a slightly different venue than the Resch Center. The Bucks triumphed for their first preseason victory in Green Bay, but it remains to be seen whether they can do it again.
What to Watch For: Bucks
The regular season debut of the new-look Bucks will provide an early indication of the direction the team will take this year. Some growing pains in the preseason could be attributed to a new group of teammates becoming acclimated with each other, but now it’s time to start answering some questions. Is Brandon Knight a point guard? Can O.J. Mayo be the first option on a good team? When will the John Henson Era finally begin? Why do I keep asking myself questions I can’t answer?
What to Watch For: Knicks
Featuring: Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Metta World Peace, Mike Woodson’s beard:
Not featuring: defense, smiles, goodness.
The key to the Knicks game will be in Woodson’s use of Anthony in his lineups. Preseason experiments with Carmelo at the small forward spot next to Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler were less than ideal, and reports indicate that Woodson is prepared to start him at the power forward position he occupied for much of the last two seasons. Anthony can certainly do damage wherever he’s placed in the lineup, but the rest of the Knicks’ starters will determine how successful the team can be this year.
Bucks: Ersan Ilyasova (ankle, day-to-day), Brandon Knight (hamstring, day-to-day), Carlos Delfino (foot, out)
Knicks: J.R. Smith (knee, out)
PG Brandon Knight
SG O.J. Mayo
SF Caron Butler
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C Larry Sanders
PG Raymond Felton
SG Iman Shumpert
SF Metta World Peace
PF Carmelo Anthony
C Tyson Chandler
Choose the Form of the Destructor
Carmelo Anthony: Six-time All-Star, reigning NBA scoring champion (28.7 PPG), generally unstoppable basketball player.
Who did you think I was going to pick, J.R. Smith? He’s not even playing, don’t be silly.
The Garden ain’t the Resch Center and this ain’t the preseason anymore. The Knicks have some things to figure out, but at least they have a superstar. The Bucks have things to figure out as well, but as for that superstar… maybe not so much. Knicks 97, Bucks 90