After another disappointing season in Milwaukee and a below .500 record, the Bucks made some significant changes in the offseason. However, I’m not so sure it makes them better in the here-and-now. Even though, they are getting Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut back from injury, the Bucks look to once again have an uphill battle when it comes to the Eastern Conference. While other teams got significantly better in the offseason, the Bucks lost more than they gained. Despite adding Brandon Jennings and some younger players through the draft in the off-season, the Bucks traded away Richard Jefferson and lost two young pieces that kept Milwaukee competitive last year, Ramon Sessions and Charlie Villanueva.
The Bucks finished dead-last in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference a year ago in their first season under Scott Skiles and Skiles has his hands full again this year with a very young and not too talented Bucks team.
Scott Skiles joined WSSP in Milwaukee to talk about first round pick Brandon Jennings, his two start players returning from injury and replacing Richard Jefferson.
On what they are teaching Brandon Jennings:
“I don’t know that it’s that difficult, but teaching the pro game. The NBA game, by nature of the rules, the skill sets and athleticism of the players is very difficult. You want your point guard to be a person that can relax, play, show all his talents, and at the same time think and know all the situations and direct the team. There’s a lot to learn. He’s making great progress. He pretty much dominated practice today and he’s starting to come on. I feel like Chicago was his best game. He and I looked at a lot of tape this morning of that game and I really feel like he’s making a lot of progress.”
On last year’s first round pick Joe Alexander:
“Unfortunately a lot of it has been due to injury. He missed a significant part of camp last year and so he got behind. Then (Luc Richard) Mbah a Moute emerged played so well and it was hard to find Joe minutes. Then until later on in the season, we were kind of still in a playoff hunt and we still managed to get him 700 plus minutes. Now this year he’s hurt again. He hasn’t participated in anything. Nothing in camp. Unfortunately he’s just not ready to do anything. We have to take everything into account. We still think Joe can be a really good player, but unfortunately the injuries have hit him and he’s falling behind.”
On the injuries of Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut:
“I leave that kind of stuff up to the medical staff. If guys are 100 percent cleared, ready to go, we’re going to play that given night to win the game. I think that’s the only way you can go about it. If I get word during the day that somebody, somehow has to have limited minutes because they’re sore or something, then we take that into account. Michael’s been great, he’s moved very well, had another good day today, looks 100 percent, his knee is testing out even stronger than it was before. And Bogs (Andrew Bogut) we’re being a little bit more cautious with because he’s seven feet tall and he’s 24 years old. He’s cleared to go, but I held him out of a game, a couple of practices I’ve held him out because you want to be smart during exhibition. We want to try and have him for 82 regular season games.”
On replacing Richard Jefferson:
“We know for a fact, its been proven already, that Luc (Richard) Mbah a Moute could start at the three, be a really nice defensive presence for us, rebound the ball and his offense game is growing and coming around. We also know though because he can guard four different positions that he’s valuable coming off the bench. Carlos (Delfino) has played very well so far in exhibition, we like him as well there as a starter. Anytime Charlie Bell can play a little bit there, Michael Redd could play a little bit there, we could go small and we feel like we have some pretty good options and pretty good depth there.”
(This post was written by Chris Fedor of WKNR in Cleveland)