2014 Bucksketball Over/Unders: Part 1

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.

Our champion from last season is Mitch Vomhof, who we’re glad to have still around to defend his crown. To refresh yourself on last season, here’s part one and here’s part two.

Writer Correct out of 10
KL 6
Jon 6
Ian 4
Mitch 7
Preston 4

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

Will Larry Sanders see the court enough to block over 162 shots? (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Will Larry Sanders see the court enough to block over 162 shots? (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

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.

Very, VERY Ersan photo. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Very, VERY Ersan photo. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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.

Categories: Hypothetically Gambling Related

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  1. . 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.

    Thanks KL, you had to do that

  2. Here’s my vote in favor of the new tradition of Over/Under as a fun and worthwhile endeavor.

    I saw recently that not one player on the San Antonio Spurs during this past championship season averaged more than 30 minutes per game. While I don’t think the Bucks necessarily need to replicate that practice precisely, I would like to see a lot of players getting 20-30 minutes per game on average, with an individual’s time varying within that range, or outside of that range, according to performance.

    I think this might be a new trend increasing in the NBA, that is playing more guys more minutes, as a way of keeping them fresher during each game and for the entire season.

    • P.S. To clarify, the connection of my comments to Over/Under is that the numbers for such things as blocks and rebounds might need to be modified downward in the future if players get less minutes.

      I like this seemingly new way of looking at statistics “per 36 minutes” — if this means what I think it does of projecting the stats mathematically to what they would be if a player did indeed play 36 minutes per game (in other words, three quarters). So if a player actually averaged 18 minutes per game and 5 rebounds, then proportionately he would be said to have a hypothetical average of 10 rebounds per 36 minutes. Is that right?

      • That’s right, Swisch. Basketball-Reference.com now formulates stats “per 100 possessions,” too.

    • I think Kidd has kind of alluded to that already, saying that we’re a deep team so no one will play a ton of minutes