Jake's Take 11/9/10: Busting Through the Slump
Jake LeRoy [@JakesTake34]
Bucks vs. Knicks
Plagues are ugly phenomenons that show no mercy. They start off small, but then they spread like wildfire through the village, taking out everyone in its path. Before anyone even knows what happened, all of the townsfolk are coughing, wheezing and limping from hut to hut looking for a cure to what ails them.
In NBA terms, plagues are replaced by slumps, villages by locker rooms, townsfolk by players and coughing, wheezing and limping by clanging jumpers, turning the ball over and not moving the ball. Right now, the Bucks are caught in the midst of a pretty wicked plague that is sucking the life out of the offense. But, like the medicine that eradicated plagues, an anecdote for Milwaukee's offensively slump will eventually be found, and order shall be restored to the village, errr locker room.
Almost every player on Milwaukee's roster is playing below his career norms. The likelihood of this continuing throughout the season are slim to none. In due time, a majority, if not all, of the slumping players will find their groove and see their per-game averages return to their typical levels. Let's take a look at who's currently slumping and how a return to their career averages will alter the team's offensive output.
- Andrew Bogut is currently shooting 1.7 percent below is career shooting percentage of 53.1 percent. If he increases his shooting percentage to his career level and maintains his current average of 11.7 shot attempts per game, he'll elevate his scoring from 14.8 points per game to 15.2.
- Keyon Dooling is currently shooting 3.9 percent below is career shooting percentage of 41.8 percent. If he increases his shooting percentage to his career level and maintains his current average of 4.1 shot attempts per game, he'll elevate his scoring from 4.0 points per game to 4.3.
- Drew Gooden is currently shooting 7.8 percent below is career shooting percentage of 47.1 percent. If he increases his shooting percentage to his career level and maintains his current average of 8.0 shot attempts per game, he'll elevate his scoring from 8.1 points per game to 9.4.
- Ersan Ilyasova is currently shooting 8.7 percent below is career shooting percentage of 42 percent. If he increases his shooting percentage to his career level and maintains his current average of 4.7 shot attempts per game, he'll elevate his scoring from 4.7 points per game to 5.5.
- Corey Maggette is currently shooting 9.6 percent below is career shooting percentage of 45.7 percent. If he increases his shooting percentage to his career level and maintains his current average of 10.3 shot attempts per game, he'll elevate his scoring from 13.3 points per game to 15.3.
- The Prince is currently shooting 7.3 percent below is career shooting percentage of 46.7 percent. If he increases his shooting percentage to his career level and maintains his current average of 5.5 shot attempts per game, he'll elevate his scoring from 5.7 points per game to 6.5.
- John Salmons is currently shooting 12.1 percent below is career shooting percentage of 44.5 percent. If he increases his shooting percentage to his career level and maintains his current average of 10.6 shot attempts per game, he'll elevate his scoring from 10.9 points per game to 13.5.
Neither of the aforementioned players will experience a huge boost in their respective point-per-game averages. Combined together, though, and the Bucks offense as a whole sees a considerable 8.2 point-per-game bump, which increases their team average to 97.8 points per game. That's still not a huge number, but it puts them in much better position to contend, assuming their defense stays at its current 93.0 point-per-game average. As a matter of fact, the resulting 4.8 point-per-game differential would place the Bucks in the top eight in the league in scoring margin.
There's no reason to believe they each player won't return to the shooting percentages they've typically put up. There are years and years of evidence to support the theory that each of these players is better than what they are currently showing. None of them is old enough that a precipitous drop in production should be expected, either. They should all be in their primes, or on the verge of entering them.
How the Bucks break out of this slump remains to be seen. I think most of us are aware of the various slump-busting techniques that have been used over the years; I don't need to go into the intimate details. Rest assured, though, that when this team-wide epidemic is finally cured, the wins will come and they'll come in bunches.
- Drew Gooden must've been watching tape of Tracy McGrady and Moses Malone before the game because he merged the two in the early going. With his dribble picked up and an open lane to the hope, he channeled his inner McGrady and threw it off the backboard to himself. The pass was McGrady-like, but the finish was more Moses. Instead of a dunk, Gooden simply laid it off the glass with a little sidespin for an easy two. The Moses comparison comes from Malone's unintentional, yet intentional misses that allowed him to pad his rebounding stats while not sacrificing his scoring.
- Every time I see Timofey Mozgov's name in print or hear it out loud, I can't help but assume that the author is writing and the announcer is speaking with a lisp. And then I remember that Mozgov is Russian, and his first name is not Timothy, but it is, in fact, Timofey.
- I think New York's Anthony Randolph is afraid to come out on Ersan Ilyasova. Turkish Thunder got Randolph a good two feet off the ground with a first-quarter pump fake, and I think it left Randolph with some emotional scarring. The embarrassment was so severe that Randolph is afraid to go within four feet of Ilyasova for fear of an even greater humiliation.
- Jon Brockman may not be a tall frontcourt player, but he sure is a wily one. At 6-foot-7, Brockman isn't going to block many shots, but he takes an obscene amount of charges. According to hoopdata.com, Brockman had taken three charges coming into tonight's game. He added two more in the second quarter, putting him first in the league with five. At barely 60 minutes played this year, his average of one charge taken every 12 minutes leads the league by far.
- I love seeing a big man get rewarded for getting it done on the defensive end. Bogut and Amaré Stoudemire were battling back and forth throughout the third quarter with neither player gaining a significant advantage. But then Stoudemire tried to get one by Bogut at the rim, and the Aussie was having none of it. A few seconds later, Brandon Jennings dropped a no-look, between-the-legs feed to Bogut for a monster dunk that ignited the Bradley Center crown instantaneously. Bogut would probably never say so, but there was most definitely some retribution. Stoudemire ended Bogut's season last year with a light, but devastating, foul. Based on his post-dunk reaction, I doubt Bogut forgot.
Closing It Out
Who knew that the magic elixir that the Bucks needed was waiting for them in the visitor's locker room? Milwaukee got off to a great start with a 41-point first quarter and, while it couldn't maintain that pace, still played its best offensive game of the season. Of the players mentioned in the opening, Bogut, Ilyasova, Maggette, The Prince and Salmons all increased their shooting percentages tonight, including a perfect 5-for-5 from Bogut. Gooden fell off after the first quarter, but it was his hot start that got the Bucks going.
Tonight marked both the first time the Bucks eclipsed the century mark in regulation and finished the game above 50 percent from the field. All told, eight players finished in double figures, led by 19 from Jennings and followed by Gooden with 17, Maggette 14, Ilyasova 12, Salmons with 11 and The Prince, Bogut and Boykins with 10 each. Jennings added six assists and five boards while Salmons chipped in with six boards and five assists. So, when do we play the Knicks next?
It seems like every time the Bucks have taken a step forward this year it has been followed by two steps back. Hopefully Milwaukee can carry the momentum from tonight's game over into Wednesday's road contest with the Hawks. I'm sure Milwaukee will be anxious to show what should've occurred last year had Bogut been healthy in the playoffs.
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.