NBA / Sep 12, 2008 / 10:00 am

Highs and Lows: Milwaukee Bucks

Michael ReddMichael Redd, Dime #16

NBA training camps start up in a few weeks. In the meantime, we’re going team-by-team, from 1 to 30, exploring what each team’s ceiling is for the upcoming season and where their basement is. In other words, what are the realistic best-case and worst-case scenarios for each squad?

Additions: SF Richard Jefferson, SF Joe Alexander, PG Luke Ridnour, PG Tyronn Lue, PG Damon Jones, C Francisco Elson.

Losses: PG Mo Williams, SF/PF Yi Jianlian, SF Desmond Mason, SF Bobby Simmons.

Ceiling: Inconspicuous Lottery team
How good is Richard Jefferson? When he had Jason Kidd and Vince Carter running 1-2 to his 3, the Nets seemed to peak at a second-round playoff exit. In RJ’s new home, the Ramon Sessions/Michael Redd backcourt doesn’t quite measure up to Kidd/Carter. Is Jefferson good enough to vault the Bucks into the playoffs on his own? Not really. Andrew Bogut is one of the better young centers in the League, as evidenced by the 14.3-point, 9.8-rebound line he put up last year and the $72 million extension Milwaukee put up for him over the summer. Neither Sessions, Ridnour or Lue is as talented as the departed Mo Williams, but they’re all pass-first PG’s who may be better in the long run for what the Bucks need. Charlie Villanueva‘s progress was curtailed for a year while Milwaukee had to carve out minutes for Yi, but he should see more PT this year between the three and four spots.

Basement: Worst team in the League
If Redd looks worried in the photo above, he should be. There are so many questions here and not a lot of definitive answers: Is Redd really a franchise player? Is RJ a legit second option after being a career-long third option? Is Sessions ready to be a full-time starter when his ’08 “breakout” only really covered a 10-game stretch of totally meaningless games in which the Bucks went 2-8? Is Bogut worth that much money, and will he be less motivated now that he’s unfathomably rich? Was Joe Alexander‘s poor summer league performance an ominous sign? How long before new coach Scott Skiles goes from “motivating” to “irritating”? And is there a mathematical formula that directly correlates the number of games you’ll lose to how much PT Damon Jones gets?

’08-09 NBA preview archives
9/11 — L.A. Clippers
9/10 — Orlando Magic

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  • Sam I Am

    LOL the Bucks hittin the basement straight to the gutter…lol no ceilings there baby

  • Sam I Am

    They gonna end up like in Semi-Pro…

    Flint Tropics / Bucks are no longer in the NBA / ABA / CBA

  • Prof. TX

    This one could be used for teams like Memphis or OKC too, just change some of the player names.
    “Ceiling: Last place and a good lottery pick.
    Basement: Last place and a bad lottery pick.”

  • RENO

    MILWAUKEE HAS A TEAM!?! HA!

  • fallinup

    How and if Skiles gets these guys to play defense is the biggest question with the Bucks. The bench is still very very thin. It’s great that they have pass first PGs now…but still, no one in Milwaukee’s back court is going to be shutting down the opposing team’s best scorer anytime soon.

    In the east, I say they finish in the bottom 3.

  • shake&bake

    Skiles did a decent turnaround job in Chicago but then the team stopped responding to him. It seems to happen with Skiles cause the same thing happened in Phoenix.

    I was hoping Villanueva would turn in to a star in the league but it seems like he that would be hard for him to do as the 4th option in Milwaukee. Also I wouldn’t be surprised if him and Skiles clash.

    Bad team, bad season.

  • Dagomar

    I dunno, you could do worse than having a slasher like Jefferson, a shooter like Redd and an inside guy like Bogut as your top three. Okay, you can do a whole lot better, but that’s not a brutal one-two-three punch. The big hole is at the point, but Villanueva ain’t half bad. I think they might be able to squeeze into 8th place if everything goes right, especially with Skiles coaching.

  • Kobeef

    Nobody on this team has or ever will be a star but I like the make-up of this team better than last year’s bucks squad which had too many guys trying to be a star (Mo, Yi, Redd) and not enough worrying about winning a game.

    Charlie is a talented player with great size and skill for the PFand for the first time in his carrer will get enough PT to prove us right or wrong.

    Sessions is going to share the ball with his team-mates which is a good idea when you have RJ and Redd on the wings and an upgrade over Me-First Williams who struggled with tunnel vision.

    The Bucks are fighting for the last playoff spot but unless Rj and Redd show us something we haven’t seen they don’t havemuch more hope than that.

  • Chaos

    unless ramon sessions does averages 9ppg and 8 apg, they aint doing anything because they dont seem like a team that can defend anyone. sessions, redd, jefferson, charile V and bigut doesnt seem like that ba of a starting lineup but they wont stop anyone…they will be missing the playoffs

  • Scott

    Sessions is definitely one of the keys. When Villanueva got minutes he did produce for the most part last year. And don’t forget the numbers he put up in Toronto in his debut campaign. This squad could turn into a very solid team, contrary to popular belief. If these guys man up, and decide to become an actual team rather than individuals like the old Bucks, then they could be really solid. Cuz all of their starters have a good fundamental skill set. And Sessions came out of nowhere and it looks like he’s the real deal, if he comes even close to the numbers he threw up at the end of last season, they could surprise alot of people.

  • Jay26th

    I think they will be fine offensively. Mo’s departure will give everybody else more of an opportunity. The big question is how well Skiles can implement defense in the Bucks. They haven’t played D in years.

  • Meica

    I think you guys are underestimating this team. They play pretty competitively (except for last year) in one of the toughest divisions in basketball and now they finally have a coach that might actually teach some D. I though when they got rid of Porter two years ago it was a mistake, and I believe that really shown through last season.

    Honestly, they got rid of their shlubs: Yi and Simmons (I have never seen a bigger duo of wasted money in my life—sorry Jersey, he sucks BIG TIME) and they’re a young group that is starting to gel with one another. Now, I’m not saying they’re going to make waves in the playoffs, but you know how every year basketball ‘experts’ think that the Indiana Pacers have a shot at the playoffs? Well, the new Indiana Pacers are the Milwaukee Bucks. I think those two teams are going to flip-flop in their division, the Bucks might make the playoffs if they’re lucky and the Pacers, well, the Pacers are just going to suck.

  • D.H.

    I like Skiles coaching Sessions. That kid can dime with the best of them. While we can all agree that this team is going to struggle, if they can get some chemistry going could they perhaps be he 76ers of last year?

  • Jay26th

    I agree with D.H.

    I hope Skiles does something to revitalize Ridnour’s career. He did a great job in Seattle when he was throwing dimes to Ray and Rashard.

  • Meica

    I agree as well.

  • solomon

    they’ll make the playoffs… 8th seed…

    they may look bad on paper, but the have role players who actually know their role… and they have skiles to make sure they stay on script…

  • ScoGo

    With HUGE upgrades to the bottom of the roster and starters who fit together better AND a coach who teaches defense. Look for the Bucks to surprise a lot of people. They’re 7th in the East but won’t make it to the second round of the playoffs.

  • Ernesto

    Fifth seed in the East is their ceiling. They’re probably not bettering the Pistons, Celtics, 76ers, Magic or (possibly) the Raptors. I suspect I’ll be back to gloat later about this prediction.

  • Jon

    RJ coming to town, choke you haters down. Playoffs!