Cooking Up Something New for the 2010-11 Bucks Season
What do you get when you mix seven Bucks returnees with six NBA veterans that have 2,635 games of experience combined and sprinkle in three rookies?
A recipe for the 2010-11 Milwaukee Bucks roster.
This year, when fans come out to the Bradley Center for a Bucks home game, they will see a mix of old and new all working together towards the common goal of improving on last year's 46-36 record and going deeper into the playoffs than their first-round exit after a seven-game series with the Atlanta Hawks.
Training Camp doesn't officially open until September 27, but already, a number of Bucks players have been spotted at the training center working out, becoming familiar with their new teammates and getting a head start on their competition for the 2010-11 season.
Despite suffering a gruesome season-ending injury back in April, Bucks center Andrew Bogut is one of the players participating in early workouts and so far, he likes what he sees.
"I like being out here and seeing what we've got going," Bogut said. "I like the pieces, I'm excited about coming into the season. It's very exciting with the moves we've made in the off-season. This is probably the biggest step forward off the floor personnel-wise we've made since I've probably been here."
The steps that Bucks general manager John Hammond took this summer went something like this: acquire forward Corey Maggette (19.8 points per game in 2009-10) via trade on June 22, draft rookies Larry Sanders, Darington Hobson and Tiny Gallon on June 24, make another trade for guard Chris Douglas-Roberts (7.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in his two-year career) on June 25, re-sign guard John Salmons (19.9 points in 30 regular season games with the Bucks) and sign power forward Drew Gooden (averaged double-digit scoring in all eight NBA season) on the first day of free agency on July 8, sign back-up point guard Keyon Dooling (averages of 7.2 points and 2.2 assists in 10 seasons) on July 19, make one last trade for forward Jon Brockman (4.1 rebounds in 12.6 minutes as a rookie) on July 21 and sign veteran point guard Earl Boykins (11-year veteran with career averages of 9.1 points and 3.3 assists per game) on August 20.
Since Bogut was drafted by the Bucks in 2005, he has played with 54 different teammates and that's including just one (Boykins) of the nine players Milwaukee acquired during the off-season. While Bogut likes what he sees with the new players, he knows from past experiences to be cautiously optimistic.
"In my second year, we made a bunch of off-season signings and on paper we looked great but you can't put a piece of paper out there on the floor and have it play for you. The good thing is we've got a guy like Coach (Scott) Skiles and John Hammond that demand work ethic and guys being switched on every night. When you can mix talent in with that and good players, it's a scary situation (for other teams).
"We have so many lineups, we have an athletic lineup, we have a half court lineup, we have a three-point shooting lineup; so (coach) Skiles has his job cut out for him. How he's going to spread 48 minutes around, who knows, but it's a good problem to have."
After a busy summer that included trips to China, Spain, Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles, Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings is also back in Milwaukee working out with his new teammates.
"I think just being back and seeing guys show up early shows that guys are really serious about this year," Jennings said. "Sometimes when you get new players, you don't even see them until it's time for training camp. For them to be here, for us to be here, is a big thing. Now we have five-on-five, we're starting to get to know each other and I think that's a real good thing for us right now."
Even though Jennings is one of the seven players returning off last year's Bucks roster, he plans on changing things up a bit during his second year in the NBA. As a rookie, he quickly made a name for himself in just his seventh NBA game by scoring an NBA season-high 55 points in a win over Golden State. As the season went on, his scoring may have dropped but he still finished the year averaging 15.5 points and 5.7 assists per game, was the only Buck who started all 82 regular season games, finished third in Rookie of the Year voting and played a key role in the Bucks seven-game playoff series with the Hawks.
"My main thing is you can't come back as the same player," Jennings said. "Now that we have a lot of great pieces to the team, we added other players, I think it will be easier for me this year to get my assists up and still score at times but be more of a leader. I know what to expect this year. It's nothing new for me this year so now it's more just taking care of my body and taking care of my legs and just get ready to hopefully play 82 games again like last year."
Fans will have their first opportunity to see the 2010-11 Bucks roster in action during their preseason opener on October 5 against Chicago at the Bradley Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and get your tickets now by ordering online at Bucks.com.
Note: These are the views of the 6th Fan Blogger. Thoughts and opinions expressed in this articles are not necessarily the views of the Milwaukee Bucks.