|Khris Middleton, SF 35 MIN | 4-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -12 +/-
Offensively he didn’t provide much outside of his 3-point shooting, finishing just 1-9 inside the arc. If he truly gets where he’s supposed to be and understands what the team wants to do defensively, he’s going to need to be a vocal leader. He needs to be helping point his teammates in the right direction and act as a coach on the floor. That responsibility comes with a big contract and seniority in a system. He’s never been a real vocal personality on the court, but this would be a great time for him to start on the defensive end.
|Chris Copeland, SF 19 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -17 +/-
He provided the 3-point shooting that Milwaukee is counting on him to provide, but he was as much of a disaster on defense as anyone. Early in the second quarter he and Middleton both left the paint wide open, each apparently expecting the other to stay back. The communication was poor and they were out of sync. All the blame doesn’t go to Copeland, but it seems fair to assume Middleton has a better feel for where he’s supposed to be than Cope.
|Greg Monroe, C 35 MIN | 7-17 FG | 8-10 FT | 14 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 22 PTS | -15 +/-
Immediately Monroe made an impact, with seven rebounds in the first quarter. He had an offensive rebound that led to a score on three of Milwaukee first four possessions. Jason Kidd was very complimentary of him after the game, saying that the only combination that worked for the team was Monroe by himself.
Defensively the whole team needs quite a bit of work and that definitely includes Monroe. The Knicks got a layup immediately and repeatedly were able to get into the paint and finish without too much resistance. Monroe will have to be a big part of fixing that leak.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 30 MIN | 0-6 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -15 +/-
Jason Kidd said he did some good things defensively, but he played 30 minutes in a game in which the Bucks allowed 122 points, so I’m not sure how much he could have really done defensively. And even if he had a great defensive game, that wouldn’t totally cancel out his 0-6 effort from the field. Jerryd Bayless is not the shooting guard of Milwaukee’s future. Or present.
|Michael Carter-Williams, PG 34 MIN | 6-17 FG | 8-9 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 20 PTS | -11 +/-
During a particularly bad one minute stretch in the second quarter he turned the ball over three times. I thought about tweeting something about Bucks fans making a mental note to check in the garage this weekend to see if their pitchfork was adequately sharp, but Eric Nehm beat me to the joke. He was losing his handle when he dribbled. He was throwing away passes. He seemed to have no concept of how valuable having the ball was at times. His carelessness seemed at an all time high.
When he wasn’t turning it over, he was pretty aggressive in attacking the hoop. The nine free throws are a good indicator of that. But his lack of playmaking for teammates and struggles with the ball left fans, and presumably Jason Kidd, very underwhelmed.
|John Henson, PF 10 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -1 +/-
The center minutes shook out split exclusively between Monroe, Henson and Plumlee. With Monroe handling a heavy, 35-minute load, there wasn’t much left for Henson. Kidd was asked about this after the game and he said Monroe was too good to take out very often and that Henson wasn’t very god when he played. Minutes at the five are going to go to whichever player is producing.
I suspect this won’t go over well with everyone.
|Damien Inglis, SF 15 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -6 +/-
Inglis came in and hit a three early on tonight, which was a bit of a pleasant surprise for Bucks fans no doubt. His athleticism certainly doesn’t seem off the charts by any stretch of the imagination, but more than a few times he got himself in the right spots and was able influence a play positively on the defensive end. We know so little about him, so he’s automatically intriguing whenever he steps on the court.
|Johnny O’Bryant III, C 17 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -10 +/-
He was once passed the ball and he caught it, looked away and the ball slipped out of his hands after he had already secured it.
|Miles Plumlee, C 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -9 +/-
No noticeable impact.
|Greivis Vasquez, PG 29 MIN | 3-9 FG | 8-8 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -16 +/-
He looked better offensively than MCW, but that isn’t a high compliment. He was more patient with the ball than Carter-Williams, but he didn’t move slowly. He was just measured and he still picked his spots to attack. Kidd said after the game that Milwaukee’s turnover problem (18) was largely the result of too much dribbling. It seemed like both point guards definitely suffered from that problem.
|Rashad Vaughn, SG 13 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -13 +/-
He had a few opportunistic buckets and shot the three well. Given how poorly his teammates played, a case could be made that he was the third or fourth best Buck on the night. It wasn’t a memorable debut necessarily, but it was a solid debut. If he could come in and hit a few shots every night, Milwaukee would probably be thrilled.
He’s still feeling the roster out. Guys were in and out of training camp and two potential starters along with another rotation player were out tonight. He played 10 guys in the first quarter and 11 before half. The Bucks have a ways to go. He knows this. But he insisted they would remain calm as they worked to get better. He even laughed a tiny bit at the thought of panicking.
Three Things We Saw
- The game was billed as a sellout, but there were certainly a number of empty seats in the upper level for Milwaukee’s first home opener in 31 years. That was surprising, given the positive outlook for this season. Fans were leaving with plenty of time left on the clock in the fourth quarter with the Bucks down 20 points though.
- Milwaukee’s bench carried them often last season, but they sunk the Bucks on Wednesday. The Knicks bench outscored the Bucks bench 73-32. When Derrick Williams entered for the Knicks in the first quarter it was practically a game changing event. He played with incredible life and passion. He had 17 first half points. The Bucks couldn’t keep him away from the rim and were left hacking away at him as he drove past them hellbent on finishing. Kidd lamented the team’s lack of effort, something he rarely had to do last season.
- As Eric Nehm pointed out after the game, Milwaukee had plenty of issues early on last season defensively too. If you were frustrated by Wednesday night’s game, that’s fair. But surely better halves are ahead.Of course, tons of people are going to say it was just one game and that the Bucks are going to be figuring things out in the next month. I was talking with Bucks.com’s Alex Boeder during the game and he brought up a good point that I think gets overlooked – other teams are figuring things out too. We should all be patient with the team, but we can’t expect that the Bucks are going to improve and every other team isn’t going to be learning and growing as well. Maybe once the Bucks have everything figured out defensively the system will be so good again that it will counteract any improvements made elsewhere, but it’s fair to be generally more concerned about this defense today than you were yesterday.