Jake's Take: Offseason To-Do List, 4/9/11
Jake LeRoy [@JakesTake34]
Bucks vs. Cavaliers
Offseason To-do List
With the playoffs officially out of the picture, most fans - including myself - will turn their attention to the offseason in hopes the team can dramatically improve itself from now until late October. With a majority of the team currently under contract for the 2011-12 season, it’s hard to envision the team changing too dramatically over the next six months.
With that in mind, Milwaukee’s improvement as a team will likely come through personal advancement among the team’s individual players. Earlier this year, I wrote about taking it to the next level and how, by doing so, the Bulls have established themselves as a legit contender for years to come. For the Bucks to join Chicago in that elite status, it’s going to take supreme efforts over the summer months from everybody on the team.
Over the final three games, I’ll provide what I think each player needs to work on the most in order to improve their own games and the talent of the Bucks as a whole. I’ll go alphabetically starting with Andrew Bogut and going through Keyon Dooling.
Get healthy: This will probably be the easiest to-do to assign on the entire team. It might not necessarily be the easiest to accomplish, though. His defensive acumen didn’t seem to suffer much with his bum elbow, but it was blatantly obvious his offense suffered. A fully functional elbow will not only allow Bogut to be more effective on the block, it’ll also give him the confidence to be more aggressive with the ball.
Keep the offensive running: Boykins certainly had his moments this year, highlighted by a 22-point effort in Milwaukee’s upset of the Lakers in Los Angeles. The offensive too often bogged down under his control, though, which was often due to an overabundance of dribbling by Boykins that led to bad shots late in the shot clock. The Bucks went a respectable 5-4 when Boykins tallied five or more assists, outscoring their opponents by an average of 8.2 points per game in those contests. That goes to show that Milwaukee can be an effective offensive unit if Boykins can keep the second-string offense running smoothly.
Up the scrappiness: Brockman was brought to Milwaukee to do two things: hustle and rebound. His rebounding took a significant hit from last year, though. An offensive rebound rate of 18.2 placed Brockman first in the NBA last year. This year he fell to 12.1 and 14th. While his defensive rebound rate stayed the same, it was still only good for 35th in the league. I think Brockman will be the first to admit that he’ll never be an offensive juggernaut. Being a rebounding juggernaut will do just fine.
Dial in more: I’d like to see Delfino show a little more diversity in his offense than he’s shown over the last month, but I’m not going to argue that every team needs a designated three-point bomber. If Delfino is going to be that guy, though, he needs to connect at a greater rate. Delfino’s six three-point attempts per game rank him sixth in the NBA, yet he’s just 65th in the league in three-point percentage. The Bucks are 7-3 in games that Delfino has hit four three-pointers this year. That goes to show how important his shooting is to the team’s success.
Penetrate the defense: Dooling had the most active season of his career, posting career-bests in games and minutes played. While his minutes went up, his attempts in the paint went down dramatically. Dooling too often relied on deep jumpers with more than 72 percent of his shot attempts coming from 16 feet and out. A point guard is often at his most effective when he’s penetrating and either getting a shot in the lane or finding open teammates off that penetration.
On Monday, I’ll offer my offseason to-dos for CDR, Drew Gooden, Turkish Thunder, Brandon Jennings and Corey Maggette.
- You know how I know the Cavaliers offense is depleted of viable options? Alonzo Gee, Ryan Hollins and Semih Erden all received early post-up opportunities. I actually like Erden, though. I’ve actually grown quite fond of all of the NBA’s Turkish imports. Turkey’s a team to look out for in future world basketball competitions. There’s a lot of quality size coming out of Turkey. The squad’s lacking a little in the backcourt, but talented bigs are hard to come by.
- I actually feel a little bit bad that Luke Harangody isn’t a few inches taller. Don’t get me wrong. I despised him as a member of the Notre Dame basketball team. He was the J.J. Redick of Big East basketball. He seemed to always torch Marquette and it seemed like he’d never graduate. The guy’s got some skills, though, and if he was two inches taller I don’t see any reason he couldn’t have a career at least as good as Tyler Hansbrough’s. He’s got a decent shot. He rebounds well. His quasi-flattop isn’t bad. I just don’t know if that’s going to be enough to overcome his 6-foot-7, 250-pound relatively unathletic frame.
- Words could never fully express my excitement for the return of My Favorite Turk. His absence was far too long. I missed the way he bounds up and down for balls at the rim. I missed his halftime interviews. I really missed his pump fakes. I even missed his long two-pointers with one toe on the three-point line. Based on his play, it’s almost as if he was never gone. He was probably Milwaukee’s best player in the loss to Detroit and he’s posted a solid first half with nine points and four rebounds.
- John Salmons is looking silky smooth tonight, Zohan-style. Salmons hit his first eight attempts from the floor, connecting on a variety of fade-aways, pull-ups, three-pointers, lay-ups and any other hyphenated shot attempts. I think Cleveland coach Byron Scott would be the first to admit that most shots were very poorly contested by his charges.
- I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a triple-double accomplished as quickly as Gooden’s tonight. Its midway through the third quarter and Gooden’s got 10 points, 10 boards and 11 assists. He’s doing some serious work tonight. Typically a triple-double becomes official late in the game. Gooden’s not about building suspense, though. He’s making the careers of Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd look like child’s play.
- I think some kind of league-wide bill needs to be passed requiring all public address announcers to refer to Daniel Gibson only as “Boobie.” If they can use Memo for Mehmet Okur and Peja for Predrag Stojakovic, why can’t they use Boobie. It just makes sense.
Closing It Out
The final score will imply that tonight’s win over Cleveland was a close contest. In reality, the Bucks controlled this game pretty much throughout. Milwaukee jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back, leading by no less than three points for the game’s final 47 minutes and 12 seconds. Excellent shooting and ball movement provided the Bucks with one of their most efficient offensive outings of the year.
Nobody was more efficient than Salmons, who finished with 32 points on 14-for-18 shooting, coming up just one point shy of his season high. The ball movement was as good as it’s been all season as the Bucks finished with 31 assists, which matched their previous season high set Feb. 3 against Golden State. Gooden, to pretty much everyone’s amazement, was the catalyst, finishing with a career-best 13 dimes.
Gooden’s 13 assists was part of a career night for him. He also chipped in with 15 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out after collecting three fouls in extremely quick succession down the stretch. Gooden certainly had some help. Along with Salmons’ 32 points, Jennings finished with 14 points and nine assists, The Prince chimed in with 12 points and six boards, Ilyasova dropped 11 and Michael Redd reached double-digits for the first time this season with 10 points.
This was most definitely a game the Bucks should’ve won and while it means very little in the grand scheme of things, it was still nice not to lose at home to the lowly Cavaliers. Explaining away a loss to a team that features Alonzo Gee would be a difficult task. While many will insist the Bucks should tank the rest of the season in order to improve their draft position, I’m plenty fine with the team finishing it out with a few wins.
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.