The annual tradition unlike any other, because it is only in its second year and if people don’t like it, won’t continue past this moment: The Bucksketball Over/Unders. We made up some numbers that seemed reasonable and we’re trying to figure out whether players on the Milwaukee Bucks will fall over or under these pretend milestones.
|Writer||Correct out of 10|
For my thoughts, tune into tomorrow’s Bucksketball Podcast, where Nick, Preston and I will shout about overs and unders. I have not listened back to the Bucksketball Podcast with predictions from Jeramey and I, but I do recall ardently favoring the over on wins, taking the over on Larry Sanders blocked shots and assuming OJ Mayo would be under on scoring average. So at the very least, I’m 1-2. If some loyal listener knows the results, feel free to share in the comments, but until then, we’ll assume I’m totally right on everything else.
Enjoy – JS
Larry Sanders: Over/Under 162 blocks
NW: Over. Let’s assume Sanders plays 70 games (injuries, suspensions, etc.) this season. In that case, 162 blocks puts him at 2.3 per night, which seems reasonable enough. The key, of course, will be staying healthy enough to reach that 70-ish game plateau.
KL: Under. If he is available, he will play and get to 162, but my guess is that some combination of technical fouls, injuries, and off-the-court donnybrooks will limit his availability.
MV: Over. At this point, what you see is what you get with Sanders. Through three preseason games he’s been active… and already drawn a technical to go along with fouling out. It’ll be good and bad, but as long as Sanders stays on the court he’ll collect his stats.
PS: Over. Sanders blocked 201 shots in his breakout season two years ago; in his other three seasons combined, he blocked 188. It comes down to availability for Sanders. If he stays healthy, out of foul trouble and in the NBA’s good graces, he should easily eclipse 162 blocked shots.
IS: Over. This is all about Sanders staying on the court. By any measure, Sanders’ elite defense two years ago carried over last year. Opponents shot only 41.5% at the rim against Sanders. He averaged a respectable 2.5 blocks per 36 minutes too. The problem is that he only played in 23 games last year. Two years ago, he reached 201 blocks in only 71 games. This year I think he reaches that mark again.
John Henson: Over/Under 9 rebounds per game
NW: Under. As much as I love Henson, I think he’ll find himself in a similar position to last season when he didn’t really have a defined role. The addition of Jabari Parker further complicates the frontcourt rotation, and I simply don’t see Henson playing enough to average nine boards.
KL: Way, way under. I think Henson has the potential to be one of the best offensive rebounders in the game, but he’s not enough of a defender or defensive rebounder yet to stay on the floor for the 40 minutes per game it would take him to get 9 per game.
MV: Under. This stat hinges a bit on the Sanders prediction earlier; if Larry plays enough to reach his 162 blocks, Henson likely won’t be seeing the floor enough. He’s averaged 10.7 rebounds per 36 minutes in his two seasons, but it’ll be tough for Henson to crack 30 if all of the Bucks’ forwards remain healthy and active.
PS: Under. Henson has grabbed nine or more rebounds in just 29 of his 133 games played. That’s not due to a lack of talent – his career average is 10.7 rebounds per 36 minutes. It’s a minutes question, and with Milwaukee’s perpetual logjam up front, Henson’s minutes aren’t prime for an uptick.
IS: Under. He comes close, but probably finishes just under. Assuming Sanders plays a lot more, there will be less rebounds for Henson to grab. I think it’s also safe to assume that Antetokounmpo plays a lot more than last year and Parker will get plenty of playing time. There’s simply too much size and athleticism and not enough rebounds to go around.
Brandon Knight: Over/Under 6 assists per game
NW: Under. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask from a guy who’s going to see plenty of minutes, but the additions of Bayless and Marshall mean Knight will be playing off the ball more this season. Couple that with his sub-par passing abilities, and six assists is a little too optimistic.
KL: Under. He probably wouldn’t get 6 assists per game in the best of circumstances, but he’ll have an even tougher time sharing minutes with Marshall, Wolters, or Giannis.
MV: Over. He averaged 5 with a miserable shooting lineup last season; with more solid shooters around him and the ever-growing likelihood of Giannis alley-oops, we should see Knight take another step forward in his quest to be a “true” point guard.
PS: Under. Although there wasn’t anywhere to go but up, Knight improved as a distributor last season – posting career bests in assists, assist percentage and turnover percentage. But he still only averaged 5.3 assists per 36 minutes, and he won’t be surrounded by significantly better slashers and spot-up shooters this season.
IS: Under. Way under. Even with the addition of Parker, there still aren’t enough shooters or scoring talent on this team to get that many assists. The bigger problem is that Knight often takes a second too long to make his decisions. Until he gets his mind up to NBA speed, the assists average is going to stay low.
Ersan Ilyasova: Over/Under 50 games with the Milwaukee Bucks
NW: Over. I’ll say over, with the assumption that Ilyasova has a mediocre fist half of the season, further diminishing his trade value. If that’s not the case, and he gets off to an unforeseen hot start, the chances he’s dealt obviously increase dramatically.
KL: Over. He will play just well enough to stay in the rotation, and he will also play just badly enough to kill the buzz of potential suitors. His career with the Bucks is destined to span 15 to 20 years.
MV: Over. I’ve written too many trade rumor posts about him for anything to happen now. Ersan will probably retire as a Buck.
PS: Over, assuming he stays healthy. I mean, why would the Bucks even consider trading a player with star potential?
IS: Over. He has a few years left on his contract. He’ll be more valuable in 2016 just as his contract becomes unguaranteed. I just don’t see the urgency/need to trade him until then.