The 2009-2010 NBA schedules were released last week, and the Milwaukee Bucks received their list of 82 opponents of the regular season. The team went over a semi-makeover this off-season, getting rid of veterans Charlie Villanueva and Richard Jefferson and bringing in the young talent of Amir Johnson, Brandon Jennings, Jodie Meeks, and Hakim Warrick. Here’s a look at the ten most intriguing matchups that the Bucks will face this season in no particular order.
1. Saturday, October 31st – Detroit Pistons vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Charlie Villanueva will return to the Bradley Center in Milwaukee just two games into the season. Villanueva signed with the Pistons this offseason after not receiving a qualifying offer from the Bucks. Along with the additions of Ben Gordon and Ben Wallace, Villanueva and co. will look to spoil the Bucks’ home opener.
2. Friday, November 6th – Milwaukee Bucks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Just a week after the season opener, the Bucks will travel north to play the new look Timberwolves. Heading into this year’s NBA Draft, the talent at point guard was the topic of conversation as five point guards were selected in the first ten picks.
Three of those point guards will match up when Brandon Jennings faces Johnny Flynn and Ricky Rubio. Jennings will have the chance to prove to the Wolves that they made a mistake in passing on him, while Rubio and Flynn will show Scott Skiles and the Bucks why the Wolves were right.
3. Saturday, December 26th – San Antonio Spurs vs. Milwaukee Bucks
The day after Christmas, the Bucks will get their second taste of a former player in a new uniform when Richard Jefferson and the Spurs come to town. Traded for Fabricio Oberto, Bruce Bowen, and Kurt Thomas, Jefferson has now made the Spurs contenders again as he joins Tim Duncan and Tony Parker this year.
Jefferson spent just one year in Milwaukee but quickly become a fan favorite and was greatly counted on when Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut went down with season-ending injuries.
4. Friday, December 18th – Milwaukee Bucks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Bucks will play the Cavs twice on the road (March 31st as well) in what should prove to be huge tests for the young Bucks team. Teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James and the front-runner Cavaliers will look to bully the Bucks when they meet at “The Q”.
The Cavs lost just two times at home last year and should be up to more of the same with O’Neal in the lineup. The Bucks will also see an old friend in Mo Williams, who averaged almost 17 points per game against his former team last year.
5. Friday, March 12th – Utah Jazz vs. Milwaukee Bucks
You’re probably confused as to why this would be an interesting game, but Wesley Matthews was extended an offer to the Jazz’s veteran camp this summer and will have a chance to make the team this season.
Matthews, a four year player at Marquette University, was loved by many and called the Bradley Center home for every game played in Milwaukee.
You can bet that if Matthews makes the team there will be a huge fan base in attendance cheering him on. Just ten minutes away from campus, loads of people would come to the Bradley Center to cheer their man on.
6. Saturday, January 30th – Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Staying with the Marquette theme, former standout guard Dwyane Wade will visit the Bradley Center twice this year in his return to Milwaukee. In 2003, Wade led the Golden Eagles to their first Final Four appearance since winning the title in 1977, and has been a big supporter of Marquette ever since.
The matchup will be a tough one for the Bucks, who lost two of three games to the Heat last season. The game will also feature a pair of U.S.A. Redeem Team members in Michael Redd and Wade. Together, they helped Team U.S.A take home the gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
7. Friday, January 8th – Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks
The Illinois-Wisconsin rivalry continues when the Bulls come to town to square off in the third of four match ups between the two teams this season. The Bulls took three of four games last season from the Bucks, but with the loss of Ben Gordon the future is up in the air. Scott Skiles will also match up against his former team, as he coached the Bulls from 2003 to 2007.
8. Wednesday, December 16th – Los Angeles Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks will get their shot at the defending champs at home when the Lakers come to town in mid-December. Last year, Kobe Bryant put up 30 points, eight rebounds, and four assists at the Bradley Center as the Lakers won 104-98.
Milwaukee will look to get their revenge and will hopefully have Michael Redd this time around. Last year, Redd missed both matchups against Los Angeles and Andrew Bogut missed one. If the Bucks are at full strength, an upset could be in the cards.
9. Wednesday, November 25th – Milwaukee Bucks vs. New Orleans Hornets
If Brandon Jennings doesn’t get his first “Welcome to the NBA” moment within the first month of the season, he sure will when he visits Chris Paul and the Hornets.
One of the best, if not the best, point guards in the game, Paul will match up on Brandon Jennings and use his elusive quickness, speed, and strength to give Jennings a lesson on how to play the point in the NBA.
10. Tuesday, January 26th – Milwaukee Bucks vs. Dallas Mavericks
Last season, the Bucks put up a commanding 133 points against the Mavs in Dallas, and will look to do so again when the two teams match up.
The other storyline in the game is the mystery of what the Bucks’ franchise would look like had they not traded away Dirk Nowitzki. Drafted ninth overall in the 1998 Draft out of Germany by the Bucks, he was then traded to the Mavericks for Tractor Traylor.
Every time the Bucks play the Mavericks, it has to sting a little bit knowing what they gave up in the All Star power forward.