The Bucks Great Leap Sideways

When I played baseball, I was a decent centerfielder, but a hot/cold hitter. Whenever I would go into a slump, I would change my batting stance. I tried every crazy stance in the book. Remember the Rod Carew? Tried it. The George Brett? Tried it. I tried Paul Molitor’s no stride hitting style too. Basically I got the same results from every stance, but I just kept constantly changing. Why? I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing.

Do you get the same feeling with the Milwaukee Bucks? They seem to have no pattern or structure or philosophy behind any of their annual draft day makeovers. Its kind of like “How can we convince fans we are trying to get better? Hey, lets dump the middling veterans we picked up last season at draft time and replace them with different middling veterans! That will look like we are trying to improve. The fans will know we aren’t standing pat!”

The problem is, no one is buying it anymore.  If the Bucks latest moves constitute an improvement, its very slight. The main veterans the Bucks acquired — Stephen Jackson and Beno Udrih — produced more combined Value than the veterans the Bucks dumped — Salmons and Maggette.  Or, let me restate that. UDRIH produced more value, Jackson was his usual loss producing self.

So we might expect the moves to produce a few more wins. The problem is, Salmons had an unusually bad season. Unless his skills totally left him, I would have expected him to move back toward his normal next season. If you assume that would have happened, then the Bucks really have not improved at all. They will simply look different, just as I looked different when I adopted a new, slightly different batting stance.  And they will get the same results.

But what about their draft picks? Did they move the team closer to a championship? (Insert 1970s Happy Days Laugh Track here) Tobias Harris may turn out to be a superstar, but you wouldn’t know it from his past production. His college numbers suggest the opposite, especially if he plays a lot of minutes at power forward. He doesn’t shoot well, and as a power forward, he is a mediocre rebounder.  If he’s the new Marques Johnson, he’s wearing a pretty clever disguise.

What about Jon Leuer?  Well, he would be a helluva shooting guard prospect. Problem is, the only position he would have a prayer of guarding is the 4.  And he is a way below average 4. In fact, if I were betting, I doubt he makes the team.

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3 Responses to “The Bucks Great Leap Sideways”

  1. Max Says:

    In the Bucks’ defense, Salmons and Maggette are owed way more money over more years than Jackson/Udrih.

  2. J.D. Mo Says:

    My assumption was similar to yours – that Salmons was going to bounce back and have a good season. I think Skiles was sorry to let him go: “When you lose a man like Salmons, that’s not good,” Skiles said.
    I’m surprised how many in the blogosphere think Jackson is an upgrade. It doesn’t seem that folks have watched him play very much these last couple of years. Captain Jack has some glaring inefficiencies in his offensive game and has never been as good as Salmons was during his runs in Chicago and in 2010. The defense? Jack’s pretty good there but Salmons had some superlative games against Kobe and D-Wade last season. Just a very solid player, and Skiles was loathe to take him out of games.

    The success/failure of what went down on Thursday is in Udrih’s hands, no doubt about that.

  3. Pete Sorice Says:

    Interesting, the rookies seem like Skiles guys. Hopefully rotation players with some instant offense. This is a win for the 2011 draft.

    They just need to stay healthy and focused. We praised their defense in a recent analysis… http://foullineextended.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/fear-the-deer/

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