Jake's Take: The Great Milwaukee Bucks Mashup of 2010
Jake LeRoy [@JakesTake34]
Bucks vs. Rockets
The Great Milwaukee Bucks Mashup of 2010
Mashups are the Hansel of pop culture. They're so hot right now. Whether it’s a mashup of musical artists like Nirvana and the legendary Rick Astley or a mashup of Internet giants like Twitter and Google Maps, you can’t go wrong. Taking the best characteristics of two great things and then channeling your inner Dr. Frankenstein is awesome. You can’t not have fun creating a mashup, which is why I’ve set out to do just that.
In the 400 some words that follow, I will take a current member of the Milwaukee Bucks and a past member of the Bucks who played the same position and morph them into one unstoppable player. I’ll begin with the starting five tonight and conclude with the bench on Monday. To the lab we go...
Andrew Bogut and Jack Sikma
Bogut has many excellent basketball qualities, but one that he lacks is a consistent shooting touch from beyond five feet. Enter Sikma, who is one of the best shooting big men of all time. Sikma was a career 85 percent free throw shooter and led the league with a 92.2 percent conversion rate in 1988. He also developed a three-point touch later in his career that allowed him to hit better than 35 percent of his attempts from deep. As long as we’re taking Sikma’s best qualities, we might as well give Bogut Sikma’s trademark curly blonde white-man afro.
Carlos Delfino and Marques Johnson
Delfino is very much a jack-of-all-trades, routinely displaying his well-rounded skill set. One area in which he could improve is more efficient scoring. Johnson was tremendously efficient for a wing player, shooting over 50 percent in eight of his 11 seasons and 51.8 percent for his career. Plus, Johnson never had issues with concussions, which is huge.
Drew Gooden and Harvey Catchings
Gooden is more than capable of doing most things you’d like your power forward to do. Blocking shots has never been one of them, though, as he has averaged less than 0.7 blocks per game for his career. There weren’t many in Milwaukee better at blocking shots than Catchings. Despite routinely playing less than half of the game, Catchings still blocked 1.7 blocks per game for his career, including a career-best 2.4 in 1981. Catchings is currently second all-time with 709 blocks as a Buck.
Brandon Jennings and Craig Hodges
Jennings is lightning quick, surprisingly durable for his size and as competitive as they come. I think most can agree that he’s a consistently deadly jump shot away from being impossible to contain. There haven’t been many guards who have had a better outside stroke than Hodges, who was crowned the 3-Point Shootout champion three consecutive seasons. Hodges shot 40 percent from beyond the arc for his career and twice led the NBA in long-range accuracy.
John Salmons and Desmond Mason
In a league full of amazing athletes, Salmons has survived and thrived on guile and craftiness. Just a touch of Mason’s supreme athleticism would likely vault Salmons into a 20-per-game scorer year after year. I doubt there’s any Buck that has ever possessed the athleticism of Mason. His jumper may have been a cringe-worthy catastrophe, but his highlight reel dunks were a sight to behold.
- I realize it has been a while since Tracy McGrady played a significant role with the Rockets, but that doesn’t make me any less excited about not having to play him. McGrady absolutely destroyed the Bucks whenever he was healthy, as he did most teams. In eight games from 2004 to 2008, McGrady averaged 29.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game against the Bucks. So yeah, not too disappointed McGrady isn’t suiting up in Rocket red tonight.
- Kevin Martin is elusive. Fact. He definitely has some of that Reggie Miller-Richard Hamilton DNA. He never stops running on the offensive end, constantly weaving his way around picks all over the half court. He takes some atypical routes as well, which caused the Bucks to lose him on a few occasions in the first quarter. Usually you’d see a shooting guard run the baseline, but Martin is cutting diagonally through the lane and wheeling around the top of the key. I think I even saw him run consecutive circles around the basket support like he was playing Duck Duck Goose. He certainly takes the road less traveled.
- I feel like Bogut and Larry Sanders should engage in a friendly competition for who can get the most blocks, if they haven’t already. There were multiple times in the first quarter when both Bogut and Sanders went up for the block and one just beat the other to the ball with each getting one. There were a few other times when no block was recorded, but there was 14 feet of arms altering any attempt near the rim. Any efforts to score at the rim were futile.
- I fully expected a good ol’ ‘fashioned pump fake off when Brad Miller and Ersan Ilyasova were both in the game in the second quarter. It hasn’t happened through two quarters, but it’s doubtful that two players use the pump fake better than those two. My extremely biased opinion is that Ilyasova’s is the superior pump fake. My primary reasoning: Miller’s may appear to be digitally remastered to be in slow motion, but that’s the speed in which he actually moves in real life. It’s the slowest-moving pump fake ever recorded, yet remains surprisingly effective.
- I’ve always been curious as to how Shane Battier shaves his head. He’s got these mini speed bumps on his head that I would think would make shaving his head a very difficult process. It can’t be easy getting a razor in those little ridges. This seems like a golden opportunity for an endorsement deal with Remington. Something along the lines of, “I use Remington shavers for all of those hard-to-reach places.”
Closing It Out
The 3-1 homestand is officially complete. It’s not often a team gets a homestand as long as four games, but it’s important to take advantage when those rare occasions do come knocking. It was a relatively close game, but it felt like Milwaukee had control throughout. The Bucks led after each quarter and held the lead for 41 of the game’s 48 minutes. It’s never easy to keep a single-digit lead throughout a majority of the game, but the Bucks were able to do so tonight.
A big reason that was possible was because of a strong offensive effort throughout the game. Milwaukee scored at least 20 points in all four quarters for one of the few times this season. It tailed off toward the end, but the Bucks were over 50 percent shooting for the most of the game, finishing at 48.1 percent.
Bogut led the way with 24 points, 22 rebounds and five blocks, giving him his fourth career 20/20 game. John Salmons also had a solid showing. He instilled a confidence in me about him similar to the feeling I had last year. He looked the Salmons of Spring 2010, hitting his midrange jumpers and shooting with conviction on his way to 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Jennings, Ilyasova and Corey Maggette joined Bogut and Salmons in double figures, finishing with 19, 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Bucks defense played at its usual high level tonight, holding Houston’s top three scorers in check throughout. Martin, Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry shot just 13-of-41 from the floor, good for a mere 31.7 percent. If those three aren’t scoring, the Rockets don’t stand much of a chance. The importance of rebounding grows with all of those available caroms and the Bucks responded with a 48-37 rebounding edge.
The cohesiveness of the Bucks is at a season-best right now. Players are looking more comfortable with each other and it shows in the results. It couldn’t have come at a better time either, with December concluding with six of eight games on the road. This was a game that Milwaukee needed to win and had no right losing. Playing a sub-.500 team at home should be a win every time. The Bucks needed to take care of business and they did just that.Until Monday...
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.