Will Glenn Robinson and Coolio be at this game?
It’s Y2K night, which feels a lot more like 90s night, but that’s okay. Whatever it takes to get everyone reminiscing about Glenn Robinson. The oft-criticized, now fondly remembered shooting forward from the very good but not quite great Bucks teams of the late 90s and early 2000s will make an appearance before the fourth quarter. He’ll be around signing autographs at some point in the evening and he’ll probably thank the crowd for showing him great love.
People will see him and think back about how fun those Bucks teams were, but they’ll also think back to conversations everyone had about Big Dog in 1998. There was talk about how he was a poor ball-handler, how all he did was shoot jumpers and hated playing defense. There was constant discussion of his socks. There were comparisons to Grant Hill and Jason Kidd, two players taken after him who went on to have superior careers that bounced them around the NBA. As reliable as Robinson was for 20 points every night, he was just as reliable to be criticized by Bucks fans.
But ultimately, Bucks fans still liked him. He was just an easy scapegoat. He wasn’t as smooth as Ray Allen and wasn’t seen as the leader Sam Cassell was. He was around the longest and seemed to have the most flaws. So when Bucks fans were sad or mad, they often cursed Robinson’s name and salivated at the thought of Tim Thomas taking his place.
Well Thomas eventually took his place and delivered about half the production at twice the price. The Bucks haven’t really found another Big Dog since that one left. Richard Jefferson, Corey Maggette, Desmond Mason, Keith Van Horn, Carlos Delfino: Plenty of forwards have come and gone since Robinson departed, but few last more than a couple of seasons in Milwaukee.
So while Robinson had his faults, kudos to him for doing one of the things most difficult in the NBA: Lasting.
What to Watch For: Bucks
O.J. Mayo will continue to round out of being round and into a more basketball conducive shape. His now infamous defensive gaffe is all anyone remembered from his first game back, but Milwaukee’s going to need all the shooting it can get to stick with the Pacers on Saturday. He’ll have to play some kind of role.
More importantly, Ramon Sessions will make his return to Milwaukee. He’ll give Milwaukee a legitimate creating and scoring guard off the bench, something the Bucks did not have in Gary Neal or Luke Ridnour. Sessions has never been and still isn’t much of a 3-point threat, which has limited his effectiveness and minutes ultimately, but he finishes well and draws a fair share of fouls. Next to Mayo or Brandon Knight, he could be interesting.
Really, the hope is that he doesn’t take too many minutes away from Nate Wolters and is modestly effective at keeping the Bucks offense running smoothly.
What to Watch For: Pacers
Evan Turner is new. His numbers this season (17.4 points, 3.7 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game) are inflated thanks to Philly’s breakneck pace, but he’s shown he’s at the very least, a slightly below average NBA player who can be effective for stretches. How he’ll mix with Lance Stephenson will be interesting. Their styles match a bit, but neither is a great 3-point shooter, with Stephenson being capable and Turner being terrible.
In general, it’s always interesting to see how anyone interacts with Stephenson, but it’ll be even more interesting to see a possible insurance policy mesh with the famously erratic guard from Brooklyn.
Everyone else on the Pacers is great and will dominate Milwaukee.
Time – 7:30 p.m. CST
TV – FS Wisconsin
Radio – 620 WTMJ
Bucks: Carlos Delfino (foot surgery; out), Larry Sanders (face surgery; out)
Pacers: None (what’s that like?)
PG Nate Wolters
SG Brandon Knight
SF Khris Middleton
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C John Henson
PG George Hill
SG Lance Stephenson
SF Paul George
PF David West
C Roy Hibbert
Choose the form of the Destroyer: Roy Hibbert
Hibbert will dominate the Bucks on Saturday night, but he’ll do so while scoring about 15 points and grabbing only around eight rebounds. The Pacers may pound it inside to him initially, thanks to a Bucks front court that lacks quality centers or much depth, but they’ll probably move away from that quickly. That’s the nature of the NBA today.
But he’ll still vie for best player on the court as he turns away Bucks players daring enough to drive into the paint towards the rim. I suspect Milwaukee will shoot less than 45% at the rim on Saturday night and that Hibbert will be the main reason why.