No talking politics: Bucks vs. Wizards Preview

What to Watch For: Bucks

O.J. Mayo went ahead and decided to carry over his hot preseason action into the regular season as well. After burning several Midwestern gyms to the ground in exhibition play, Mayo has averaged 21 point in his first two games on a totally sustainable 61% field goal percentage. If he keeps up this kind of pace coming off of the bench, don’t be terribly surprised to see him supplant Khris Middleton or Jared Dudley in the starting lineup in the near future.

Speaking of lineups, it’ll also be worth watching to see how Jason Kidd continues to feel out rotations for his young team. While I still wouldn’t put too much stock in the minutes distribution of any one game, the ebb and flow of playing time in the stacked point guard (Brandon Knight, Kendall Marshall, Jarryd Bayless, Nate Wolters) and power forward (Jabari Parker, John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova) positions should start to reveal some more concrete rotations and give us a sense of the coach’s preferences going forward.

On defense, interior and rim protection will be key. After giving up 46 points in the paint to Philadelphia, the Bucks face a dangerous point guard in John Wall who has the ability to get to the rim early and often. If Sanders and Henson can hang out and clean up some inside shots off of Wall’s dribble penetration they may be able to swing key possessions and some momentum back toward the Bucks’ transition offense.

What to Watch For: Wizards

I’ve heard people say that John Wall might be the fastest player in the NBA, which I can’t really verify but also don’t doubt at all. My love for ridiculously athletic players (whether it’s in the ability to jump high or run really fast) means I’m also a big fan. Last night he eviscerated the Orlando Magic to the tune of 30 points and 12 assists and dragged the Wizards to a 105-98 win. It’ll be interesting specifically to see him line up against Knight, which will not only be a battle of former Kentucky Wildcat point guards but also a matchup of great athletes who came into the league and faced questions as to whether they could pull it together and become complete basketball players. For Wall, it was the ability to develop a respectable jumper to complement his already-effective passing and to improve on his decision-making while keeping a level head.

But he appears to be figuring it out. A key to the Bucks’ success tonight will be keeping Wall out of the paint and forcing him to rely on that better-than-it-used-to-be-but-hopefully-still-questionable jumper. If he’s allowed to drive and kick to Washington’s young shooters or have success in the pick and roll with Nene or Marcin Gortat, Wall could have another huge game and make the Bucks miserable on defense all night long.

Logistics:

Time – 6:30 p.m. CST TV – FS-Wisconsin Radio – 620 WTMJ

Injury Report

Bucks: Damien Inglis (foot, still out); Johnny O’Bryant (knee, remains inactive)

Wizards: Bradley Beal (fractured wrist, gonna be on the bench for a while)

Projected Lineups

Bucks: Brandon Knight – Jared Dudley – Khris Middleton – Jabari Parker – Larry Sanders

Wizards: John Wall – Garrett Temple – Paul Pierce – Nene – Marcin Gortat

Choose the Form of the Destructor: Marcin Gortat

He looks like a supervillian’s right-hand strong man. He shows up to basketball camps in Humvees. He may or may not stroll around malls with his pet pig. And because he wasn’t fearsome enough before, Marcin Gortat decided that he would sport a Mohawk haircut this year.

When he came over to Washington in a trade from Phoenix (who, fun fact, also involved moving one Kendall Marshall to Washington in exchange for Emeka Okafor and the Wizards’ 2014 first-round draft pick), Gortat impressed the team, averaging a near double-double of 13.2 points and 9.5 rebounds in his first full season with the team. He was also rewarded with a 5-year, $60 million deal to stick around as the team’s starting center going forward. He’s also coming off of a tidy 20-point, 12-assist game in Washington’s last game and figures to pose a menacing (and bruising) post threat against the Bucks’ long-and-lean frontcourt.

Prediction: Lots of running up and down the court very quickly; Wizards 102, Bucks 95

Categories: Game Previews

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2 Comments

  1. If the Bucks continue to refuse to pass the ball down to the block in the half court offense …. it’s going to be a long season. But perhaps that’s the plan.

    Do you enjoy John Henson playing 10-20 minutes with no looks in the post? No left handed hooks that he mad e at a 53% mark last year? How about Jabari basically flinging up long 2’s and 3’s instead of getting any post up looks?

    I love the Bucks open court strategy. But the NBA is 80% half court 20% open court.

    Why is Jared Dudley playing much less starting? He can hit a 3 once in a while. So what? Giannis is boiling to play.

    I smell the tank already in process.

  2. If the tank was in place wouldn’t they want to let guys like Giannis take their lumps instead of playing vets?

    I really think Dudley would be better for winning games today. So far (it’s meaningless but-) they’ve been significantly better when guys like Bayless, Mayo and Dudley are on the floor than Giannis, Parker, Marshall and Middleton.

    If anything, it’s like they’re setting things up to tank hard later and just let the young guys figure it out as much as they can. Oops Dudley’s out for 3 months with a headache, oops Bayless missed the team flight, oops we traded Ilyasova for an expiring and two 2nd rounder type things.
    Until then it’s probably prudent to experiment and see what groups of guys fit together best.

    If everyone’s healthy I’d fully expect the minutes breakdown in march and April to look like
    Pg- Knight 30mpg, Marshall 14mpg, mayo 4mog
    SG- mayo 20mpg, Giannis 20mpg, knight 8mpg
    SF- Middleton 20mpg, Giannis 14mpg, Parker 14 mpg
    PF – Henson 20mpg, Parker 18pg, Middleton 10mpg
    C- sanders 34mpg, Henson 14mpg

    Or something. Got some nice vet role players and the youngsters should probably learn to play with them but if you want to tank and feel like the season wasn’t wasted, that’s probably the way to go.

    Bucks probably coulda got the 3rd pick in the 13 draft for Henson. Underwhelming draft class to be sure, but hope they actually play the guy going forwards