What to Watch For: Bucks
Bucks coach Larry Drew said he will stay with Khris Middleton in starting lineup and again bring Luke Ridnour off bench.
— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) January 13, 2014
Bold strategy by Larry Drew, sticking with a starting lineup that scored two points in the first six minutes against the Thunder (and those two points came off a completely broken play). Unless someone starts out hot, the Bucks offense isn’t going to start strong. Between Middleton, Brandon Knight, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ersan Ilyasova, and Larry Sanders, there’s not enough shot creation or playmaking to start the game off well on offense.
I’m not on the Sanders hate bandwagon yet. It’s not like Sanders is ruining a good time. We weren’t all having a raucous, grand ol’ time and then Larry took a dump in the punch bowl. No, the party sucked to start and then Larry took a dump in the punch bowl. Now everyone’s upset because there’s nothing to drink and we’re stuck here because we’d feel bad for the host if we left.
When Sanders does get on the court, he’s not significantly worse than he was last year. Defensively, Sanders is still holding opponents to 39.3 FG% at the rim. He’s rebounding 60% of all his rebounding chances which matches other top rebounders – his rebounding opportunities are significantly lower compared to other top rebounders. Offensively, his low point total is really the difference between Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, and Knight. Sanders will never thrive with a point guard that can’t get him the ball in the pick and roll. Seriously, just watch Knight’s indecisiveness off screens – if he doesn’t have an open path to drive, the play is dead in the water.
Yes, this is a terrible season for Sanders, but the base for what makes him a worthwhile player is still there. Like I wrote in the Thunder-Bucks recap, his issues are something that’s going to take time which is a resource the Bucks have plenty of.
What to watch for: Raptors
Watch out for Amir Johnson! Very unappreciated! Said every Raptors fan ever. I’m not even kidding. If you talk to a Raptors fan long enough, you’ll be convinced that Johnson has been one of the ten best players in the league for the past ten years. He does a lot of things people don’t pay attention too!
If I recall correctly, Jeremy went to Bucks-Raptors game about two years ago pretty excited to see Amir Johnson. His assessment: “He’s the most regular player I’ve ever seen.” He then bit into a substandard burrito because he has horrible taste in mexican-chain restaurants.
Your move Raps fans!
Time – 6:00 p.m. CST
TV – None
Radio – 620 WTMJ
PG Brandon Knight
SG Khris Middleton
SF Giannis Antetokounmpo
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C Larry Sanders
PG Kyle Lowry
SG DeMar DeRozan
SF Terrance Ross
PF Amir Johnson
C Jonas Valanciunas
Choose the form of the Destructor: Kyle Lowry
I’ve always liked Kyle Lowry since his days at Villanova.. Wildly-underused! Randy Foye always hogging the ball. In eight years, I hope the Bucks sign him as a wily veteran that brings together a young core trying to make the playoffs. He can be the next Jerry Stackhouse! Zach Randolph can be that team’s Kurt Thomas. Yeah, Z-Bo is still in the league then. It’s my fantasy.