The Bucks were the league’s upstarts last season, a feisty and brash stew of effort, defense and confidence thrown together. It seemed precarious, yet at each turn Milwaukee adjusted, adapted and continued to be a thorn in the side of anyone who lined up against them. Teams truly feared The Deer. So what did the Bucks do in the offseason? They imported more ingredients, some of them suspect. Scott Skiles did a masterful job with this bunch a year ago, but he really has his work cut out for him now. In come proven players demanding shots, and out goes… nobody, really. The Bucks could conceivably have a legitimate 10-man rotation. For fantasy purposes, this doesn’t bode well.
There are two “sure things” on Milwaukee, yet both carry with them fantasy baggage, not to mention the dreaded quotation marks. Andrew Bogut is a legit fantasy center who averaged 15.9 PPG, 10.2 RPG and 2.5 BPG before gruesomely dismantling his elbow on a fall that will ensure I never leave my feet while playing basketball again. What a shame, because he was becoming a legitimate third-round pick if not better (despite a poor FT%). Bogut’s injury could keep him on the bench to start the season and might linger for a while. Meanwhile, we all know Brandon Jennings and his 37.1 field goal percentage will start at the point. It got ugly there for a while, as Jennings was barely startable for much of the season’s middle months. The Bucks will need him to do everything more efficiently. With maturity, he should bring that awful shooting percentage up above 40, but that’s still rotisserie kryptonite. He did average 5.7 assists, 1.8 threes and 1.3 steals, so he has some head-to-head value.
How good was John Salmons after he joined the Bucks? He poured in 19.9 points per game in 30 contests, contributing 1.5 threes, 1.1 steals and shooting 86.7 percent from the line. He won’t do it again. Why not? Two guys: Michael Redd and Corey Maggette. Milwaukee might think they solved their scoring problem, but now there are too many cats who need their shots. It wouldn’t shock me if Redd takes a very reduced role, but he does make $17 million this year. Maggette walks in as Milwaukee’s best offensive player, but will he buy in to Skiles’ defense-first system? I’m avoiding all three of the above in drafts until we see how all of this plays out. Expect around 15-17 points from Salmons; I’m not sure he does enough else well to warrant a high selection in that scenario. Of course, Redd and Maggette own second homes in the training room, so there’s still a lot of upside with Salmons.
Bogut’s injury likely means free agent signee Drew Gooden has some late-round value. Gooden should start the season at center, and he can shift to power forward easily, which is probably Luc Richard Mbah a Moute‘s spot to kick things off. I consider the Bucks frontcourt situation to be very fluid. It all depends on Bogut’s health, something to watch very closely. By the way, I haven’t even mentioned two of the team’s key cogs from last season: Carlos Delfino and Ersan Ilyasova. They are still here, and they will pick up minutes all over the court (as will newcomer Chris Douglas-Roberts, who the Bucks traded for because, um, well… I am not sure; and Jon Brockman, who will play because he’s a tough S.O.B.). Seriously, if Skiles gets it done with this group, he’s sold me. Go Deer.
PG – Brandon Jennings, Chris Douglas-Roberts
SG – John Salmons, Michael Redd
SF – Corey Maggette, Carlos Delfino
PF – Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova
C – Andrew Bogut (injured), Drew Gooden
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