Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Believe It or Not, the Bucks Need Marcus Landry

The Bucks signed Milwaukeean Marcus Landry yesterday, and it's a great story.  Landry grew up rooting for the Bucks, starred at Milwaukee Vincent in high school and played as a Badgirl ("Badger", for those non-UW haters out there) in the late double-ohs.  He's a local guy, through and through.

Unfortunately, Landry's contract is non-guaranteed and the Bucks already have fifteen players (the NBA maximum for a regular season roster) under guaranteed contracts.  Ordinarily, signing a local guy to a non-guaranteed deal when the roster is already full would be a non-news item, even during the summer months.

In Landry's case, however, there is a solid chance that the Bucks actually need him.

The Bucks' current roster is guard-heavy and thin up front.  While Vazquez, Carter-Williams (why?!), Bayless, Mayo, Gutierrez (why?!???) and Middleton are all trusted by Coach Kidd to play notable minutes at the Point or Wing positions (and that's not even counting rookie Rashad Vaughn, who may or may not end up being trusted, but will definitely not be cut), the rotation of Bigs is, ahem, lacking. Monroe and Greek will start and Henson will get solid minutes, but beyond that it's spare.

Consider the Bucks' options up front beyond Monroe, Greek and Henson: Jabari is out until mid-season (and, in my opinion, should be relegated to spot duty until he proves that he's capable of playing the pro game).  Copeland is an NBA benchwarmer who should only be playing in the event of an injury.  Plumlee would likely be out of the NBA were it not for Phoenix having picked up his contract option last summer.  O'Bryant appears to be a guy who simply doesn't have the quickness or coordination to contribute at this level (which pains me to say, because I loved O'Bryant in college and thought he'd translate to the pro game).  And Inglis... (how do I say this without sounding reactionary?)  It appears that Inglis stinks.  His summer league was so woeful that it had to have the Bucks wondering if their evil plan to lock in Inglis to a Rockets/Sixers-style second-round contract (three years at sub-$1 million salaries, with the third year being a team option) has backfired.

Until Jabari comes back (and even after he comes back, if he continues to drag down the quality of the team's overall play, as he did last season), there is an open spot for a Big in the Bucks' rotation.  They have four or five Guards/Wings ready to go, but only three reliable Bigs.  The Cavs made the Finals (and should have won, were it not for YET ANOTHER mental meltdown by LeBron once the Dubs suctioned Igoudala to him) with three Bigs, but it'd be nice to have four.  The Big man rotation of Zaza, Big Ers, Henson and the Greek worked great last season.  There were games where other Bigs got minutes and times where one of the four rotation Bigs sat, but overall it worked well.

Marcus Landry could be the fourth Big that the Bucks need.  He'll likely compete with Copeland (who fell out of the Pacers' rotation last season due to ineptitude) and O'Bryant for that spot.  Landry is a smallish Big man, but if he can hit some jump shots and show better toughness and rebounding than he has in the past, he could fill a need in the Bucks' rotation.

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