Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Next Man Up

First, what needs to be said:

It's no fun to see young man suffer a career-threatening event.  It's even less fun when it's televised.  Jabari Parker seems like a pleasant young man from a good family.  I feel for him and those close to him.  

Now, the impolitic part (which, admittedly, is the part I tend to enjoy most):

This will probably not have a negative impact on the 2015 Bucks.  It probably won't have a negative impact next season or the season after that.  It may not be a very nice thing to say right now, but the Bucks can survive -- and possibly even thrive after -- this injury.

Jabari Parker has shown some flashes and made some improvements, but he wasn't quite there.  He can hit shots, he has some nice interior moves and his rebounding has improved.  But he's not essential to the team's success.  He is a young player and young players tend to have limits.  Jabari was no exception.

Check out the Bucks' current rotation:

Guards: Good Brandon (starter), Bayless

Wings: Juice Mayo (starter), Dudley (likely starter), Khris Band Shot (formerly Khris Swish)

Bigs: The Colonel (starter), Greek (starter), Zaza

(K-Marsh, Nasty Nate and possibly My Main Man Johnny-O could see minutes, depending on foul and matchup situations.)

That's not bad.  That's eight guys who play like pros.  They should be able to defend and score.  Play disciplined and run.  Matchup with big and small lineups.  If they defend like they've been defending (and, against this may be impolitic at the moment, Jabari was not exactly the anchor of the defense), then they'll be a playoff team.

Big Ers and Henson are out for the remainder of this road trip, which continues in Portland tonight.  Those guys will likely help when they return, especially against teams without burly front lines.

***

Tonight's matchup is a tough one.  Portland has a great record and a great coach.  They move the ball on offense and they cover an amazing amount of space on defense.  It is tough to get open jump shots on Portland, so the keys will probably be interior defense and shotmaking.  If Knight, Mayo and Middleton can hit shots under duress, that will help. If Larry, Zaza and Greek can keep the rebounding numbers close, that will help.  If both those things happen, the Bucks might pull the upset.