Milwaukee Bucks: 30 Teams in 30 Days

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Milwaukee Bucks: 30 Teams in 30 Days
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2009-'10 Statistics

Finished 46-36, second in Central Division, sixth in Eastern Conference

Postseason

First Round: Lost to Atlanta Hawks 4-3

Additions and Re-Signings

John Salmons via re-signing, Drew Gooden via free agency, Jon Brockman via trade, Keyon Dooling via free agency, Larry Sanders via draft, Darrington Hobson via draft, Jerome Jordan via draft, Tiny Gallon via draft, and Corey Maggette via trade.

Losses

Luke Ridnour via free agency, Dan Gadzuric via trade, Kurt Thomas via free agency, and Charlie Bell via trade.

The Milwaukee Bucks weren't supposed to win more than 40 games last season. They weren't supposed to make the post season, and they sure weren't supposed to see the resurgence of Andrew Bogut and the shocking arrival of Brandon Jennings.

A lot of shouldn't have's turned into what could have been's for the Bucks.

Thanks in part to a midseason trade that brought in John Salmons, a career year from Andrew Bogut, and a stunning rookie season from Brandon Jennings, the Bucks now have more on their mind than just capturing a winning season. Contending in the Eastern Conference is now the number one objective for the up-and-coming Bucks.

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Milwaukee made their first post season since the 2005 season and captured their first over .500 record since they won 42 games back in the 2002-'03 season. Considering they had finished with less than 34 wins for the past three seasons, 46 wins exceeded expectations, and then some.

Bogut was considered to be the latest number one draft pick bust after a few mediocre seasons where he couldn't average more than 15 points. The 2008-'09 campaign featured Bogut succumbing to an injury and playing only 36 games en route to averaging only 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Last season was a completely different story for the seven foot Aussie who averaged a career high 16 points, 10 rebounds, and nearly three blocks in 69 games before once again seeing his season cut short due to an injury.

The injury greatly affected the outcome of the Bucks season, as they were forced to play an over the hill Kurt Thomas and Dan Gadzuric in his place during their seven game loss in the postseason.

The lack of production at the center spot was detrimental to the Bucks in their series against the Hawks. Even without Bogut though, Milwaukee went seven games with a tough Atlanta Hawks squad and leaves the thought open that if Bogut was playing, then the Bucks could have advanced and even done serious damage in the later rounds.

Critics were skeptical on the drafting of Brandon Jennings after deciding to forgo college in favor of playing for an Italian team. Jennings didn't produce that much in Italy, but when he dropped 55 points in his seventh game of the season in a win against Golden State, most of the talk went from Brandon being a potential bust to a potential Rookie of the Year.

Jennings simmered after the 55 point burst, but still averaged 16 points and six assists as the team's starting point guard.

He'll need to improve his field goal percentage considering it's at a miserable 37% and will need to maintain a consistent shooting touch, but Brandon has showed off the potential to become an elite point guard with a number of impressive scoring bursts and impressive range as well hitting nearly two three-pointers per game on 38% shooting.

While Bogut and Jennings impressed, it was the mid-season acquisition of John Salmons that truly propelled the Bucks to become a sixth seed. In 30 games with Milwaukee, Salmons averaged a career high 20 points on 47% shooting. The shooting guard exhibited a very consistent scoring touch, including three 20 plus point games against the Hawks.

While he did falter in the final three games of the series, John proved to be a reliable shooter that the Bucks are going to need in the long run if they want to become contender's in an even more powerful Eastern Conference.

If the trio of Jennings, Salmons, and Bogut can produce consistently and not succumb to any more devastating injuries, Milwaukee can possibly secure their first Division title in nearly a decade, now that the stranglehold the Cleveland Cavaliers have held is no more.

Oh and remember Michael Redd? The guy who averaged 27 points four seasons ago? He'll be back after another injury that cut his season short to 18 games.

Redd has only played 51 games over the past two seasons, but has exhibited one of the most dangerous three-point shots in the league over his ten year career. At nearly two three-pointers per game on 38% shooting throughout his career, Redd can secure a spot in the starting lineup again if he can hit the shot that has made his lethal.

With Redd re-joining the starting lineup, the Bucks could move Salmons to the small forward spot. Thus giving them the chance to feature one of the most well-rounded starting lineup's in the league with three shooters, and two big bodies in the post now that veteran Drew Gooden has joined the team.

The Bucks also strengthened their bench with the acquisition of veteran Corey Maggette. He could start if Redd needs more time to recover, but for now will be on the bench to contribute as a reliable scorer.

Corey has spent the past two years with Golden State and averaged 20 points and five rebounds last season as a key member. Maggette has spent eleven seasons in the NBA, and has averaged double-digit's in all but his rookie season.

Milwaukee might have also picked up a steal in this year's draft by taking 6'10" power forward Larry Sanders out of Virginia Commonwealth. Sanders exhibited an impressive ability to score, rebound, and block shots at 14, nine, and three respectively.

This could be a sign that the Bucks might have given up on Luc Richard Mbah a Moute who has disappointed in his first two years with only seven points and six rebounds per game.

It could also be a sign that they are trying to convert him into a small forward, but as for now it appears that Mbah a Moute's time as a Buck could be coming to an end if Sanders does what Luc couldn't.

The Bucks have a lot to look forward to this season as they not only can consider themselves a contender in the Eastern Conference, but can also secure a division title that has eluded them for nearly a decade. The team is hungry for a series victory after coming so close the previous season, and could see it easily happen if their dangerous starting lineup can produce.

Projected Starting Lineup

PG—Brandon Jennings

SG—Michael Redd

SF—John Salmons

PF—Drew Gooden

C—Andrew Bogut

Prediction

47-35

This is part 16 in a 30-day series of previews for each NBA team for the upcoming 2010-2011 season. My profile contains the other teams that I have already previewed.

 

 

 

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