I dont want to hit the panic button here, but the Bucks season is teetering near the cliff. They don’t have Brandon Jennings for six weeks, Andrew Bogut looks ready to join him on IR, Carlos Delfino can only be found on the back of milk cartons, and they just got whitewashed by an undermanned Portland team.
The loss was particularly discouraging, and not just because of the 28 point final deficit. There were signs the Bucks may have a rudderless hull. Even with Jennings the Bucks didn’t have much playmaking. Without him they have none. In last night’s game the team had 30 made field goals but only 13 assists (43%). In the first game without Jennings, and playing against a soft Portland defense, that assist rate would constitute a huge red flag. The normal assist rate is at least 56-60%. The second alarming development in last night’s game was the way the Blazers were able to find free and easy, unmolested passing lanes. Portland had 27 assists on 39 makes. That indicates a severe lack of ball pressure in the defensive backcourt. In general, the defense looked awful, but the Blazer assist rate indicates the breakdown began at the point. Was Jennings the indispensable catalyst? Will the defense fall apart? I’m afraid.
How can the Bucks salvage things? I have no clue. Who can they turn to? Their best players are all hurt or hurting. Their bit players cannot carry the load. How will they do it?
The only suggestion I can think of comes in the form of a question Bill Cosby once speculated God might have asked Noah had Noah complained about all the work it took to build and stock an ark all by himself: “How long can you tread water?”
What a disappointing season this is turning out to be for the Bucks. Coming in to it, the Bucks were creating an unusual amount of “buzz capital”. That’s long, long gone. They’re slipping toward irrelevant again.
PS — Does anyone actually know the status of Carlos Delfino? Is his career over? If his concussive symptoms have lingered this long I have to assume he has suffered permanent neurological damage. That usually doesn’t go away. He’s beginning to remind me of that Brewers third baseman (his name escapes me#) who had something similar that kept lingering and eventually cost him his career. Let’s hope that isn’t the case with Carlos.
#: The former Brewer third baseman who was forced to retire due to the lingering effects of a nasty concussion was named Corey Koskie.
UPDATE: The news isn’t good for Delfino. He told The Racine Times Gery Woelfel there is no clear timetable for his return and that he may be out for the season (or a week or a month, he said. But when someone volunteers that he may be out for the season, that tells me he isn’t optimistic). Apparently when he returns he will wear what sounds like a device similar in nature to a leather football helmet from the 1940s. I’m not kidding. I don’t think we can count on him for a long time. He’s not even able to do serious workouts because of the fear of headaches. What a shame.