Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Some Good, Some Bad

The Bucks grabbed a narrow, low scoring win in Indiana last night, and that's good.  It is clear that yours truly was wrong when predicting that the Bucks would be OK with another losing season, and it is clear that Coach Kidd is going to play his best players, not just the guys who online Bucks fans want to see.

There were troubling signs.  The Bucks were badly out-rebounded again.  Coach Kidd went bigger; moving Jabari to the wing (or, "small forward", if you want to use old timey basketball terms) in the starting lineup and down the stretch.  It didn't help.  Big Ers, who started as a Big with The Colonel) finished with only three rebounds and Jabari had the same.  Even when Jabari got a huge rebound in the last minute of the game, it was a fluke.  Big Ers shot a near-airball and Jabari's man happened to misjudge it.

Scoring was also an issue.  The Pacers have a great coach who makes sure they play great defense and tends to get the game to a slow pace.  Finishing with 87 points against that type of coach is no reason to doubt.  But there are problems.  The Colonel is a non-factor on offense, but that's fine.  He can play a role for the Bucks like Andrew Bogut is playing for the Warriors.  Rim protection & rebounding on defense and getting the heck out of the way on offense.  But the rest of the frontcourt needs to help a little.

What matters is the reaction to a win like last night's.  The Bucks go to Chicago tonight to play another stout defensive team.  Can they get a few more rebounds?  Can they score enough to win?  Against a depleted Pacers team, they answered the latter question and escaped successfully.  Against a contender, they may need more.

***

It may have just been the matchup, but one thing missing in Indianapolis was a three guard lineup.  Good Brandon, Juice Mayo, Khris Swish and Jerryd Bayless have all played well this season, but we rarely have seen three of them together on the court.  Surely that is a reaction to the Bucks' rebounding woes.  But I would like to see three of those men on the court with two active Bigs.

The author's idea is to match three of those guards with The Grecian Formula and The Colonel.  A frontcourt of Giannis and Sanders would be a place that offense goes to die, but I think that it could work.  The Greek's rebounding feels like an untapped resource and he is certainly more comfortable scoring at the rim than he is taking jump shots.  Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol would certainly try to take advantage of Giannis or Larry on the block, but that's why double-teams were invented.  All four of the Bucks' rotation guards are active, and if they work together they should be able to cover the ball after a double team.  Here's hoping that Coach Kidd gives that unorthodox lineup some run.

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