Jake's Take: 10/22/10
Jake LeRoy [@JakesTake34]
What the Preseason Has Taught Us
|Bucks 118, Timberwolves 119, OT
Box Score | Game Info
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What has Milwaukee's 8-game preseason journey unveiled about this team? Not really a whole heck of a lot. For the most part, questions that surrounded the team prior to the start of the preseason remain largely unanswered. How will the two Drew's, Bogut and Gooden, mesh down low? Will Corey Maggette come off the bench? Who gets the backup minutes at center? Can John Salmons repeat his strong play of last year? Will Ersan Ilyasova pump fake a defender into a horrendous injury? If I asked the all-knowing Magic 8 ball the answers to these questions, it would most likely respond "Check back later," "Check back later," "Check back later," "Check back later," and "All signs point to yes."
While the answers to the questions above remain in limbo, the preseason hasn't been completely void of valuable takeaways. The first seven games have provided fans with some insight into what they can expect from the much-anticipated 2010-11 season.
Keyon Dooling and Earl Boykins are admirable replacements for Luke Ridnour. Milwaukee wasn't quite cold enough for Ridnour, so he decided to take his talents to the Twin Cities this offseason, which left the Bucks with a hole behind Brandon Jennings. Dooling and Boykins have big shoes to fill, at least metaphorically. Both Dooling and Boykins have shot well, combining to shooting 52 percent from deep, 84 percent from the stripe and 47 percent overall. They also bring different looks to the Milwaukee lineup. Dooling is a bigger, more physical guard who can play the two-guard if necessary. Boykins brings instant offense and energy to a team that occasionally struggled with the former.
Carlos Delfino is building on his performance at the World Championships. Delfino followed a solid first season in Milwaukee with a stellar showing at the World Championships. The Argentinian averaged 20.6 points, 4.7 boards, 2.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game in the international tournament, representing both his country and the Bucks well. That play has carried over into the preseason with Delfino averaging 12.6, 4.4, 2.6 and 1.0 in five games. Continued improvement from Delfino only solidifies what is already a deep collection of wings.
Larry Sanders is still raw. Sanders silenced critics who questioned his ability to contribute right away with an impressive showing in Summer League. Some of those questions have crept back to the forefront during the preseason. He hasn't shot particularly well, has looked lost occasionally and has been super foul-prone. His potential has shown threw all of that at times, though, highlighted by a 12-point, 9-rebound, 5-block effort against Detroit. It remains to be seen whether or not his potential is enough to get him consistent minutes.
Gooden provides another offensive weapon. I've only seen two of Milwaukee's seven preseason games, but those games were more than enough to convince me that Gooden will help this team score. He's averaged a team-best 14.0 points per contest on an efficient 51 percent from the field and 86 percent from the stripe. Gooden has showed some versatility within the flow of the offense as well. He can hit an open jumper out to 20 feet, he can face up and take the ball to the rack, and he can score in the post. That's the kind of offensive versatility that the Bucks haven't had at power forward in quite some time.
Bogut will be just fine. He may be saddled with an odd contraption on his right elbow, but that hasn't appeared to slow down Bogut. In his two games, Bogut has averaged 9.5 points, 5.5 boards and 2.0 blocks while shooting a merely satisfactory 78 percent from the field, all in less than 18 minutes per contest. He hasn't played extended minutes yet so it's hard to tell how his body will react to 35 minutes a night, but all indications are that he'll be back to his old ways.
- Jennings' form looked spot on in the first quarter. He's been rightly accused of fading too much on his jumper, but there's no fade there thus far tonight. Jennings has gone straight up and has come straight down. It's no coincidence that his first three jumpers