Lacking craftsmanship: Mavericks 125 – Bucks 102

Milwaukee Bucks 102 Recap | Box Score 125 Dallas Mavericks
Jabari Parker, SF 37 MIN | 7-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 15 PTS | -23

Offensively, he’s starting to look fully comfortable as an NBA scorer. It’s time to work on everything else. Kidd summed it up best.

“He’s a rookie, and he’s working hard. He’s gonna be a rookie, until the end of the season into next season, but he definitely has a lot of talent. Again, I thought offensively he did some good things, defensively he’s still trying to adjust to that. But, he’s one of the top rookies in this league.”

Larry Sanders, C 28 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -20

In November, the Bucks had a defensive rating of 100.6 when Sanders was on the court, and 102.5 when he was off it. In December it’s been 114.9 when he’s on and 103.3 when he’s off, though he has been asked to patch up a lot of rookie mistakes by Jabari Parker on that end. Still, whether it’s because of illness or something else, Sanders hasn’t contributed as much in the one area that makes him a useful player.

Brandon Knight, PG 29 MIN | 4-9 FG | 7-7 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -18

Knight is one of the best Bucks on a nightly basis. He needs more help from his fellow starters.

O.J. Mayo, SG 25 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -11

Mayo hasn’t possessed the hot hand in what seems like a month now, and his normally crisp and creative passes were often off the mark by a hair or two in this game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 30 MIN | 8-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | -10

18 points on 11 shots is a slick improvement efficiency-wise, but Giannis has to do more on defense and he has to do it without getting stuck in foul trouble.

Khris Middleton, PF 18 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 2 PTS | -6

The turnovers were miscues of a soul-crushing, back-breaking variety — the types that led to uncontested layups for the Mavericks on the fast break. His disappearing play is the greatest mystery of the Jason Kidd Era.

Zaza Pachulia, C 21 MIN | 5-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -3

If he could jump. If only he could jump.

Kendall Marshall, PG 14 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -1

J.J. Barea was blitzing past Marshall with dribble drives, and yet no one thought to try to counter by setting up Marshall in the low post? Couldn’t Marshall have worked some magic on his newly beloved right block posting up the tiny Mav?

Nate Wolters, PG 6 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-1 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -4

Operated exclusively in garbage time.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 20 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -12

Has Bayless been the most consistent Buck this season? He doesn’t seem to have the highs and lows that others have had.

Jared Dudley, SG 15 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -7

He took some turns guarding Dirk and I would prefer that this not be a thing that happens.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Jason Kidd ripped his team’s effort. “Turnovers, second shots, we didn’t play hard,” Kidd noted after the game. “One thing we lay our hat on is that we come out and play hard, the first 21 games tonight was a factor of us not playing hard. Dallas took full advantage of that. This is the first time we didn’t play hard. When you look around the league or you hear people talk about the Bucks, the first thing they say is we play hard. And tonight we didn’t do that.”  Kidd probably didn’t care much for coming back to a former home city — the city where he won his only title — and coaching a team that played such crappy basketball.
  2. When Larry Drew went after his team’s effort and vowed never to have a relapse, the Bucks went in the tank last season. Kidd didn’t promise anything when criticizing his team, but it will be interesting to see how they react in these upcoming games against top-tier competition.

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  1. I agree that Khris had a bad game, insofar as he was given a decent opportunity to play, but describing his turnovers as “soul-crushing” and “back-breaking” seems like going way too far.

    The Bucks starters had already botched things up rather badly at the beginning of each half before coach Kidd got around to putting Khris in the game. He might be a little discouraged that his coach has so heavily preferred so-so veterans O.J. and Jared and Jerryd all before he gets around to employing Khris. He and Kendall have definitely been subordinated to that trio of vets, which is a source of major frustration to me, and perhaps more than a little demoralizing to them.

    Has anyone noticed that the starters have been really lousy of late, really and truly lousy? Last night, with Khris and Kendall barely playing the first three quarters, the Bucks had already given up 90 points in that span. In a 23-point embarrassment of a blowout, Khris was -6 for the game, and Kendall -1. Both of them are still apprentices in learning the NBA, but they are both very talented, supremely unselfish, and generally highly effective in elevating the play of the team.

    As far as O.J., Jerryd, and Jared, each has done some nice things this season with the Bucks, but I’d keep only one or two of them — probably Jared Dudley, as he seems to be the most selfless and team-oriented. As I’ve written, our vets can be valuable seasoning for the Bucks, but the main ingredients should be our young guys.

    By slighting Khris, Kendall, and John Henson, our coach is not only endangering our future, but the present is starting to look kind of sloppy, as well. Even if Giannis and Jabari, and maybe Brandon, become stars, we’re going to need a lot more to be a successful team. To think that we can just fill in the rest of the roster with anyone who comes along would be sadly misguided. To continue to neglect and waste young talent is a formula for future mediocrity at best, and more likely the kind of continuing and seemingly unending futility that has been our lot for a decade and more, and will be increasingly painful to watch.

    • Captain Gladys Stoat Pamphlet

      Agreed on Middleton. People just invent ways to put down a second round guy who’s contributing 6x his pay grade.

    • ” To continue to neglect and waste young talent is a formula for future mediocrity at best”-Swisch, We start two 19 yr olds, a 23 yr old, a 26 yr old and a 27 yr old. Listen, Middleton, Marshall and Henson are all nice young role players. That is all they will be though. They all have serious issues that are not going to go away. Middleton’s inconsistency this season is a result of expecting too much from a second round pick from the jump. He is a streaky spot-up shooter that demands 10-20 min a night. That’s what he gets. John Henson has a tendency to just lose focus, on top of the fact that he does not have the size to defend the top 15 centers in the A. Dropped passes, missed rotations, and getting bullied on the block are all far to common for him. He has played better of late, but we have a 2 season sample size to know what we have. Kendall is above average at anything to do with basketball. It is unfortunate that he is simply too slow to guard 20 of the A’s 29 other starting point guards. That is a problem that will never be solved. These guys, while all nice pieces, will never average more than 25 min a game on a good team. Why would we pretend like they will? How about we let our actual CORE of young guys, (all of whom start) keep winning instead of turning future journeymen and veterans (and I mean that to be complimentary to their character and skill set) into major players on a young and impressionable group, and sacrifice the opportunity for immediate success in the process?

      • Captain Gladys Stoat Pamphlet

        Just because Middleton was a second rounder doesn’t mean the guy will only ever be a role player. Did you forget about the ol’ Ohio State gunslinger who spearheaded the Franchise for about 8 years? That guy was a second rounder too. The only difference in Middleton this year from the last is the lack of minutes and involvement in the offense, neither of which are his fault. Yes, he should take a backseat to Jabari and Giannis when it comes to touches, but he could perhaps average 15ppg if he continues to develop his game. No one is a lost cause like you say they are.

        • Good discussion.

          First off, I’d like to see these three consistently get meaningful minutes this season before we even start to relegate them to being role players. Is 24 minutes a game or so really too much to ask?

          John has actually never gotten that opportunity thus far in his young career after being a lottery pick, never had a consistent role with consistent minutes. There seems to be so much focus on what he supposedly can’t do instead of what he can do. Let’s find out.

          He does need to develop a 15-foot jumper and free-throw, but that can come. Let’s see if other teams have headaches matching up with him. Let’s not try to change him so much, try to bulk him up, for example, but see what a 6-11 guy with great bounce and agility can do with some real minutes and perhaps even a real boost of support from coaches and fans.

          What I see in Khris is a sharpshooter from last season who is now also developing a nice all-around game. He’s a little loose with the ball as far as fumbles and interceptions, but he’s also showing impressive gains handling the ball for shots going to the hoop or nice passes to teammates. He’s rebounding, too.

          With Kendall, we’re seeing the development of a master craftsman on the court as floor director and distributor-in-chief. He’s already shown that he can hit a variety shots from near and far; and what’s more, his shooting form looks good for further improvement. As far as defense, he seems to be learning to play angles well on and off the ball, and he has quick hands for steals.

          All three of these guys are really young and inexperienced, and seem to have great attitudes to go with untapped talent for the potential of lots of improvement. Look at the guys on the Spurs who were so instrumental in helping them to a championship last season, like Leonard, Green and Mills. If one or two of our vets wants to be like Boris Diaw, then let’s bring them along for the ride. Even if so, to neglect these three promising young guys (such as we did with a recent first-rounder whose name I dare not mention) would indeed be a horrible mistake and a huge waste — and the Bucks, by the way, can never afford to waste even a little.

  2. Henson has had opportunities, he has done exactly jack squat with them to earn more PT. He spent all off season doing what exactly? Certainly not developing a move besides his pretty lefty hook…that everybody knows is all he has. He gets manhandled in the post by anyone near his size and offers nothing on offense besides the one move. About the only thing John does well at this point is defend smaller bigs, help defense and that lefty hook. Middleton is in the perfect role already, 20 to 25 minutes a game. That is PLENTY of minutes for him to prove that he deserves to be on the court more than that, its up to him to earn the additional time. (Which is there for the taking). Turning the ball over as much as he does only makes it seem like he deserves less time than he is already getting. And unless Marshall suddenly figures out how to defend then he will never be more that a guy that can only be trusted to be on the floor when the matchups allow. He has the 3 point shooting and passing ability of a starting PG, but his defense is not even passable a backup role.