Jake's Take: 8/16/10
Most Likely To...
Jake Leroy (far left) was voted most likely to blog for the Milwaukee Bucks.
I'm at the age now where high school class reunions will start becoming a regular part of my future decades on this planet, starting with my 10-year reunion in a few months. As of now, I'm still undecided on whether or not I'll be in attendance. I remain close with a select group of friends from my teenage years, and that's enough for me. I have no burning desire to repeatedly have the same generic conversation about jobs, houses and kids. I just don't know if I have it in me.
But in a recent lunch conversation with my dad, he informed me that he enjoyed his surprisingly entertaining 40-year class reunion. Combine this revelation with my wife's request that I "show her off" and there's a good chance I'll succumb to the peer pressure, not unlike my high school years. Regardless of whether I attend or not, the mere thought of the reunion has conjured up numerous blasts from the pasts.
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The contemplations over the reunion were joined this week by the studying of the 2010-11 schedule for the Milwaukee Bucks. Since these topics constituted a majority of my free-time thinking, I thought it perfectly natural to unite them in one glorious blog entry. High school reunion & Bucks basketball schedule. It's a match made in heaven, just like PB&J, Sonny and Cher and Mitchell & Ness.
One of those aforementioned blasts from the past was the multitude of senior-year declarations determining "who had the best this" and "who was most likely to do that." With that in mind, I'm going to attempt to break down the upcoming schedule yearbook-style.
Game Most Likely to Make Turning 29 Seem Not So Bad
The season opener, Oct. 27, in New Orleans. I can't imagine a better way to celebrate my 29th year than by seeing my Bucks kick off the 2010-11 campaign with a convincing road win. Steak dinner? That's alright. Chocolate ice cream cake? Not bad. Sidney Moncrief throwback? Getting closer. A 111-98 win over the Hornets? Now that's more like it.
Month Most Likely to Derail the Bucks Season
The month of December, as well as the early portion of 2011, looks to be all kinds of challenging. The Bucks play 13 games in December, with 11 of those 13 games coming against teams that had winning records a year ago. The only two contests that can be considered even close to gimmies are a home game against Indiana and road tilt with Sacramento. Other than that, it's a murderer's row of opponents, starting with Denver and including the likes of Orlando, Miami, Dallas, San Antonio, Utah, Atlanta, Chicago and the Lakers. All told, Milwaukee's opponents in December had a combined .579 winning percentage last season, and it's all but guaranteed that Miami and Chicago will be improved. Throw in Dallas, Miami (twice) and Orlando to kick off the new calendar year, and it's looking like the holiday season might not be so cheery.
Month Most Likely to Save the Bucks Season
February might be the shortest month, but if Milwaukee's schedule is any indication, the Bucks will hope the month never ends. They play 12 games in February but only three come against teams that had winning records last season. One of those three contests comes against a Phoenix team that lost Amare Stoudemire this offseason and won't likely be nearly as good as last year's 54-28 squad. Overall, Milwaukee's opponents in February combined to win less than 42 percent of their games last season. Included in those contests are Golden State, Detroit, Washington, Indiana, Minnesota, New York and the Clippers, seven of the league's nine worst teams last year.
Game Most Likely to Result in Short Fuses
Milwaukee and Boston nearly came to blows late last season and I fully expect that tension to persist throughout the season. The March 13 game in Boston will mark the second game between the teams in a week and both squads will likely be battling for playoff position with just a handful of games remaining. The proverbial straw that breaks the Big Baby's back will probably look a little something like this.
Stretch Most Likely to Produce Five Straight Wins
March 18-26 has the potential to be an excellent ramp-up toward the postseason for the Bucks. It starts with a home contest against New Jersey and is followed by New York and Sacramento at home, New York on the road and back home against Chicago. Beating the Bulls will be no easy task, but it's the final contest in the four-game series and you know the Bucks will want to send a message on their home court. Milwaukee was a combined 11-2 against those four opponents last year.
Stretch Most Likely to Produce Five Straight Losses
I don't anticipate the Bucks losing five consecutive games this year, but if they do, it will likely be during the aforementioned month of December. The stretch starts Dec. 13 at Dallas and is followed with a road contest at San Antonio. After a brief stay in Milwaukee and a home game against Utah, the Bucks go back out on the road with contests against the Trailblazers and Lakers, concluding the difficult stretch Dec. 21. Those five squads won better than 64 percent of their games and combined to go 8-2 against Milwaukee last year.
Game with the Most Playoff Implications
I've got to go back to the fourth and final game between the Bucks and the Bulls on March 26. Both teams will be around the 70-game mark at that point and the division title could be hanging in the balance. Two of the first three meetings will be played at the United Center, making the second matchup in Milwaukee of the utmost importance. If Chicago is up 2-1 in the season series, a Bucks win evens the matchup at two games each and puts more importance on other tiebreakers. If Milwaukee is up 2-1 in the series, a Bucks win gives Milwaukee a 3-1 series win and the tiebreaker should both teams finish with the same record at the conclusion of the season. I fully expect the Bradley Center to be rocking on that Saturday night, and the suspense is already eating me up inside.
Most Frequent-Flyer Miles
The Bucks will be seeing their fair share of hotel rooms throughout January and into February. Beginning Jan. 4, the Bucks won't likely spend more than a day in Milwaukee until Feb. 5. They play 18 games over that stretch, with 12 coming on the road, and won't sleep in the same bed for more than two days at a time. Over those 32 days, the Bucks will travel 15,132 miles all over the country for an average of 473 miles per day. I know professional athletes travel in only the most comfortable of settings, but that has to take a toll on the body.
Game I'm Most Excited to Watch
Golden State in Milwaukee Nov. 13. I didn't get to see this matchup live last year, and I still can't help but shake my head in disappointment. Sure, the wonderfulness that is DVR allowed me to enjoy Brandon Jennings' coming-out party after the fact. That has to pale in comparison to seeing that epic scoring outburst in person, though. I am absolutely holding my breath that Jennings does it again this year, except he's going to do himself one better and drop 56 this time. A double-nickel plus a Lincoln penny, if you will. I like the matchup against fellow sophomore Stephen Curry just as much as the prospect of Jennings again clearing the half-century mark. I fully believe that Jennings and Curry will be the Chris Paul and Deron Williams of their draft class, battling back and forth over supremacy as the point guard of the 2009 draft. It's going to be great watching these two go to battle over the next decade.
Homecoming King: Scott Skiles; Homecoming Prince: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (naturally); the King's Court: Brandon Jennings, John Salmons, Corey Maggette, Drew Gooden, Andrew Bogut, Keyon Dooling, Carlos Delfino, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Ersan Ilyasova, Jon Brockman and Larry Sanders.
Hopefully this team of royalty makes jesters of the rest of the league from Oct. 27 through April 13 and then well into June, collecting the golden riches that are fit for a king and his men.
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.