Monday, January 14, 2008

Style of Play: Milwaukee Bucks

I spent some time Friday night watching the Bucks-Lakers game and thinking about the type of team Milwaukee is. The Bucks have missed Michael Redd and Desmond Mason for a significant amount of time due to injury. However, they are twenty-third in the NBA in points per game. Though they lack some depth at the end of the bench, they do have a nice collection of young players who can score from outside.

Often times during TNT's studio show, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith talk about "what type of team are they?". This is referring to the Suns and Warriors being up-tempo teams, the Mavericks being a tough defensive team, the Nuggets having the ability to score a lot of points in bunches, the Spurs as a versatile type of team.

So the Bucks - what type of team are they? I think this identity needs to follow the Suns and Warriors into the fast break mode. With a group of talented guards (Charlie Bell, Mo Williams, Michael Redd), versatile big men (Yi Jianlian, Charlie Villanueva), and wings that can score in transition (Bobby Simmons, Desmond Mason) they seem to have some important pieces. Unlike the Suns, they are missing that big time post player that can get out and run, but I certainly think they would have more success if they began to push the tempo. As they are currently constructed, they play Yi and Villanueva interchangibly - I would play them together. A lineup of Williams, Bell, Redd, Villanueva, and Yi would certainly be able to score. This group would probably struggle to defend, especially in the post, but I doubt the dropoff from Andrew Bogut would be great. In fact, I would look to move Bogut in the offseason since he would no longer fit with the team's plan.

Kansas State freshman, Michael Beasley, would likely be the missing piece for the Bucks to really succeed in an up-tempo offense. Since the 2002-03 season ended with the departure of George Karl, the Bucks have been stuck in a funk trying to figure out their next move. Bringing in a coach that will push the offense and adding a big man with great athleticism would give the Bucks a new look, and likely, a successful one.

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