Milwaukee Bucks Concerns That Need Addressing for 2012-13 Season
The Milwaukee Bucks have been a classic case of an almost-relevant team for the last couple years.
Faltering down the stretch, the Bucks missed out on the eighth seed for the NBA playoffs to a Philadelphia 76ers team that upset the Chicago Bulls in the first round and took the Boston Celtics to a Game 7. Sigh...what could've been...
Moving forward, the Bucks should be concentrating on shoring up issues to put them back in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference.
Re-Signing Ersan Ilyasova
The Turkish Thunder has become an integral part of the Bucks' success.
A candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year in 2011-12, Ersan is entering unrestricted free agency and is a top prospect in a mediocre free-agency class.
Averaging 13 points and almost nine boards largely off the bench, he supplied a big body that stretched the floor, hitting 45 percent of his three-pointers.
A high-energy guy and fan favorite that is sure to be coveted by a large amount of teams, the Bucks need to re-sign him—and quickly.
Find a Big Man
In a trade that brought Monta Ellis from the Golden State Warriors to the newly named HMO Harris Bradley Center, the Bucks shipped center Andrew Bogut to Cali.
The move gave Milwaukee one of the fastest and lethal backcourts in the Eastern Conference and rid Milwaukee of a center that was being held together by hopes, dreams and little else.
However, this left the Bucks with an end-of-the-year roster of only two centers on the roster in Kwame Brown and Larry Sanders.
While Sanders is a nice story, being an every-night center probably isn't in the cards, and Brown has shown numerous teams he isn't the answer to anything.
There are serviceable big men around the league in free agency, but the draft could hold the most promise.
Most likely, the Bucks will have a middle-of-the-road pick, and they should eye Tyler Zeller from North Carolina to help shore up the problems in the middle. A seven-footer who can get out and run could fit into the Bucks' system quite well.
On-Court Chemistry with Ellis and Jennings
Alright, I'm not sure if this is classified as a "concern," but it is definitely something of interest.
Monta Ellis was brought in at the trade deadline to help the Bucks push for a playoff spot—obviously an effort that fell short.
But only appearing in 21 games last season wasn't enough time for Ellis to gel with backcourt mate Brandon Jennings.
The two guards have both flown under the NBA radar for the most part, but both can straight up put the ball in the basket.
Paired together in Scott Skiles' up-and-down system, the two will undoubtedly put on a show in speed and scoring—if they can make it work.
Milwaukee can score.
That can't be debated, as they were fifth in the league last year, averaging 99 points a game.
That was even tops in the Eastern Conference despite being 17th in field-goal percentage.
The problem is they have trouble defending—well...everybody.
The Bucks were 22nd in points-against, giving up 98.7 ppg and more than 100 at home.
Milwaukee likes to get up and down, especially in the Skiles system. Don't look for them to slow down, but the defense is going to have to tighten.
What moves they make to address defense in the draft or free agency could make a world of difference in a playoff race.
Keep Sharing the Ball
The Bucks did a tremendous job last season of sharing the ball.
They had more assists this season in the shortened schedule than they did in last year's full-length season.
They jumped from 30th in assists per game in 2010-11 to third in 2011-12.
However, with the addition of Ellis, the Bucks' two main ball-handlers become score-first guards. Ellis and Jennings last season both were in the top-20 in apg, but it's worth keeping an eye on.
As shown in Golden State, two high-octane guards doesn't automatically equal wins.