The Milwaukee Bucks were one of the NBA’s more improved teams in the 2009-10 season, finishing in second place in the NBA Central with a record of 46-36. The Bucks reached the NBA playoffs , losing to the Atlanta Hawks in seven games. The Bucks added several talented players in the off season and will be one of the favorites to win the Central. Here’s a look at the 2010-11 Milwaukee Bucks.
Bucks 2010-11 Season Preview: Guards
Point guard Brandon Jennings exceeded expectations as a rookie last season, averaging 15.5 points and 5.7 assists per game. With a year of NBA experience and a playoff series behind him, Jennings figures to improve even more. Joining Jennings in the backcourt is shooting guard John Salmons. Salmons was picked up in February and averaged 19.9 points per game in 30 games for the Bucks. The Bucks were 22-8 in those 30 games. Signing Salmons to a new contract was a priority for general manager John Hammonds.
The Bucks added depth at the guard positions by signing veteran free agents Keyon Dooling and Earl Boykins, and by trading a draft choice to the New Jersey Nets for Chris Douglas-Roberts. The future of veteran shooting guard Michael Redd is up in the air. Though Redd is eager to return to the Bucks, he is coming off two seasons of serious knee injuries and it is uncertain when he will be back.
Bucks 2010-11 Season Preview: Forwards
John Hammond’s first offseason move was the acquisition of small forward Corey Maggette in a trade with the Golden State Warriors. Maggette averaged 19.8 points per game last season. Carlos Delfino returns from last year’s team and will backup Maggette. Chris Douglas-Roberts may spend some time at backup forward. Hammonds also upgraded the power forward position by signing free agent Drew Gooden. The Bucks added depth at power forward by trading Darnell Jackson and a draft choice to Sacramento in exchange for Jon Brockman. He joins holdovers Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. The Bucks also drafted 6-11 Larry Sanders from Virginia Commonwealth.
Bucks 2010-11 Season Preview: Center
Andrew Bogut missed the Buck’s playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks after injuring his arm, hand, and elbow in a game on April 3rd. Although he is still dealing with lingering effects of the injuries, Bogut saw action in the exhibition season and is ready to go. He averaged 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game last season.
The Bucks continue to sort out who will back up Bogut at center. Drew Gooden and Jon Brockman are likely to see time at the position, and possibly Larry Sanders. The Bucks are also looking at veteran Brian Skinner, who was signed to a non guaranteed contract. For now, it looks like it will be backup center by committee utilizing the team’s depth at power forward.
The Bottom Line
The Milwaukee Bucks took last year’s good team and made it better. General manager John Hammond did not enter into the bidding for high profile free agents, opting to spend money on retaining key players and bringing in proven performers to build on last year’s success. Potential roadblocks include the health of Andrew Bogut; also the new additions will need to buy into coach Scott Skiles emphasis on defense. But with LeBron James gone from the Cleveland Cavaliers, and improvements by the Bucks and Chicago Bulls, the race in the NBA Central is up for grabs. The Milwaukee Bucks have placed themselves in a good position to win that race.
Backup center is still big question for Bucks Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online Oct.13, 2010.
Changing of the Guard, Forward, and Center NBA.com
Changing of the Guard, Forward, and Center Part II NBA.com
Jennings’ continued development could be huge for Bucks NBA.com
Redd anxious to rejoin Bucks Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online Oct. 21, 2010
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Trades, Free Agent Signings Strengthen the Milwaukee Bucks