Bucks have to be eyeballing 5th seed

Forget my 40.6 win prediction.  Forget my win/loss sketch of a post or two back.  Those are good as gone.

This looks like a new day in Milwaukee.  This Bucks team looks legitimately formidable.  Very formidable.

Therefore just making the playoffs can no longer be the goal.  The Bucks absolutely have to be aiming squarely toward the 5th or 6th seed and a potential matchup with either the weakened Boston Celtics or the beatable  Atlanta Hawks.  Either of  those matchups at least give the Bucks a shot at the second round.  That would be spectacular.

Others Stepping Up

The Bucks are now getting good win production from multiple  sources.

Moute and Bogut both turned in their second consecutive bad games each, after spectacular February months by both, and still the Bucks won.  A month ago an off night by any of the Bucks top players, particularly Bogut, would have meant a loss, no matter the opponent.  Tonight the team still managed an impressive win.

John Salmons continues to play well, and more importantly, he continues to play well at the position that was the Bucks Achilles Heel, shooting guard.

Charlie Bell, a decent fellow and a hard worker but not even a second tier NBA player, has finally been banished to the bench.  His days of providing huge “Loss Contributions” to the Bucks seem over (I’ve been bitching about his excessive minutes since I started blogging… I never meant to pick on the guy.  The criticism was aimed more toward those whose roster choices forced Bell’s minutes up).

In short, it looks as though the Bucks are suddenly a deep team at every position except center.  (But inferior backups at center are quite common).  The good news is they no longer have a glaring weakness at any of the five positions.

Hammond’s strengths showing

All credit for that, I guess, must go to John Hammond.  So far in Milwaukee he is showing the same strengths and weaknesses he and Joe Dumars showed during Detroit’s championship window.  Hammond is a very so-so “high pick” draft choice selector, preferring to gamble on what he views as “upside” rather than seeking out proven production.   In his few high Detroit picks, most notably Darko Milicic over Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, et al, he did the same.

But he’s certainly got a keen eye for productive, middle-of-the-road veteran talent.   Like most of his Detroit teams this Bucks team now has no large minute “loss contributor” now that Bell,  Gadzuric, Elson, and Meeks have been removed from the rotation.

That makes a huge difference.  If you have no negative anchors you can swim upstream without needing a superstar win producer.  The Bucks are still a ways away from being a  championship contender,  but my sense is they are a lot closer than they were last month.

Hubris?  Maybe.  My gut says no.  And if  my gut is right this should be a fun spring in BucksNation.  Stay tuned.

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One Response to “Bucks have to be eyeballing 5th seed”

  1. brgulker Says:

    Hammond > Dumars.

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