Jake's Take: Offseason To-Do List Part 2, 4/12/11
Jake LeRoy [@JakesTake34]
Bucks vs. Raptors
Offseason To-Do List (Part 2)
When last I wrote, I offered up an offseason to-do list for Andrew Bogut, Earl Boykins, Jon Brockman, Carlos Delfino and Keyon Dooling. Don’t think for a second the rest of the team is getting off the hook as no one is exempt. Today, I give CDR, Drew Gooden, Ersan Ilyasova, Brandon Jennings and Corey Maggette their offseason homework.
Be consistently aggressive: If Bogut’s to-do was the easiest to define, CDR’s might be the most difficult for two reasons: 1) He simply didn’t play that much; and 2) I generally liked what I saw. I finally settled on being consistently aggressively. When CDR was getting regular minutes, his aggressiveness, and in turn production, vacillated from game to game. One game he’d go for 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting in 36 minutes. The next he’d go scoreless on two shots in 23 minutes. He needs to bring the same level of aggressiveness and intensity every night.
Stay within yourself: This suggestion is probably coming at the wrong time considering Gooden just dropped a rather robust triple-double. It has often seemed that Gooden tried to do too much at times this year, though, trying to make the highlight-reel play when a much simpler one is available. Between throwing passes to himself off the backboard, making one-handed passes and taking looooong jumpers, he too often went away from makes him the most efficient he can be. Focusing on high-percentage shots, rebounding and defending will make him a much more valuable member of the Bucks.
Regain confidence in jumper: A big reason Ilyasova wasn’t able to build on last season’s breakout year was a significant downturn in his shooting percentages. His shooting percentage fell in four of the five shot locations, with only the 16-23 foot range improving. Ilyasova’s jumper is all or nothing most of the time, either falling beautifully through the net or barely even drawing iron. A more consistent stroke should smooth out the wrinkles.
Master the pick-and-roll: My favorite basketball play is the pick-and-roll. The Milwaukee offense could improve substantially with an improved P-n-R game. The Bucks often run high screens for Jennings at the top, but it rarely results in the screener getting the ball. A big part of Derrick Rose’s improvement came from a better understanding of how to run the P-n-R. Jennings needs to follow Rose’s lead and slow down when coming off the screen, probe the defense a little more. If mastered, it will result in better shots for everyone, including Jennings.
Do what you do best: Prior to this year, Maggette was considered one of the best foul-drawers in the NBA. His penchant for doing so tailed off this year, though, despite what this preseason game implied was going to happen. Maggette attempted just 8.3 free throws per 36 minutes this year, his lowest total since the 2002-03 season. This was despite averaging 14.4 shots per game, well above his career average. His number of free throw attempts fell precipitously as the season wore on, partly because Maggette fell in love with his jumper. His percentage of shots at the rim (27%) was the lowest it’s been in years, while his percentage of shots on the perimeter (61%) was the highest it’s been in years.
On Wednesday, I’ll finish off the to-dos with The Prince, Michael Redd, John Salmons, Larry Sanders and Scott Skiles.
- I’m not typically one to brag, but this is too good of an opportunity to pass up. I don’t know how anyone else faired, but I absolutely nailed my WNBA mock draft. I’m pretty much the Mel Kiper, Jr. of the WNBA Draft, albeit without the follicular flawlessness. Maya Moore was the easy one, but every pick after that required a level of preparation never before seen in a WNBA mock draft. That is, assuming such a thing has ever been done before. Either way, I’m pretty sure I’ve set a precedent that will never be matched.
- Could it be that Toronto looked at its roster and thought, “We need another Reggie Evans”? That’s the only explanation for having Joey Dorsey on that roster. If Evans was ever cloned, it would be Dorsey. But really, how many no offense, all rebounding undersized power forwards can one team really have? Is there any doubt Toronto will try to persuade Dennis Rodman to come out of retirement?
- Could it be that Toronto looked at its roster and thought, “We need another Andrea Bargnani”? That’s the only explanation for having Alexis Ajinca on the roster. With Bargnani sidelined, Ajinca has assumed the role of the soft 7-footer that launches long jumper after long jumper. This is a weirdly constructed roster. It’s the Noah’s Ark of NBA rosters; they’re pairing off and going two-by-two into the locker room. Dorsey-Evans. (Almost former Packer great Dorsey Levens.) Bargnani-Ajinca. DeRozan-Weems. Barbosa-Bayless. Johnson-Davis. There’s just a ton of duplication.
- James Johnson may have flunked out of Chicago, and he may never live up to being the No. 16 in the 2009 NBA Draft. But one thing’s for certain: As long as he continues to wear the gray Jordan XI’s, he’s going to be all right. The rest of his Raptor teammates are wearing black and red sneakers to match the uniform Not Johnson, though. And that’s OK, because the grey Jordan XI’s go with everything.
- Never has Andrew Bogut shown his value to the Bucks more so than now … when he’s some 1,200 miles away in Florida. Through two-and-a-half quarters, Milwaukee is being outrebounded 33-21 by the Raptors, led by Dorsey and his eight offensive rebounds and 16 total boards. The Raptors also have enjoyed a seemingly endless parade to the free throw line as they continue to attack the paint with success. Bogut’s dual ability to rebound and block shots without fouling has never been more apparent.
Closing It Out
It’s amazing what can happen in 44 seconds. Much of tonight’s game looked as though it would follow the blueprint that so many games have followed this season. But then Toronto got sloppy and the Bradley Center crowd was treated to a double dose of déjà vu. The Bucks trailed 77-71 with nine minutes remaining, but unleashed a 15-0 run over the next six minutes highlighted by three breakaway lay-ups from Jennings in quick succession, one a little more wide open than the previous. The first could’ve been an And-1, the second whetted the crowd’s appetite for a dunk and the third filled that hunger with goodness. It was those 44 seconds that turned the game in Milwaukee’s favor.
Salmons continued his strong play down the stretch, finishing with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Those numbers improved his average to 17.3 points on 55.8 percent shooting in April. Jennings’ quick six points in the fourth gave him 21 for the game, followed by Gooden, who posted his second consecutive solid all-around outing with 19 points, 11 boards and five assists.
The Bucks were able to close the gap in many statistical categories as the game progressed. Toronto owned an 11-rebound advantage over Milwaukee going into the fourth quarter, but the Bucks cut it to five by the final horn. The Raptors also held a decided advantage from the charity stripe throughout, but Milwaukee finished the game with 30 free throws, just one behind Toronto. Finally, the Bucks had seven turnovers to Toronto’s three after one quarter, but ended up forcing 16 turnovers in the final three quarters while turning the ball over just eight more times themselves.
It wasn’t always pretty, but it was nice to end the home schedule on a winning note. It was a night filled with events and contests for the fans, and as much as those in attendance probably enjoyed the giveaways, I’m sure they liked getting the ‘W’ even more.
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.