|2013-14 Team Rating|
|30thth Overall||24thth Overall|
Stats Through Jan. 20
Larry Sanders, a positive in 2012-13, has had a lost season. Ersan Ilyasova must need a salary drive to thrive. The team's greatest promise lies up front (John Henson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton).
Brandon Knight, 41.2 percent FG shooting. O.J. Mayo, 39.7 percent. Luke Ridnour, 40.5 percent. Nate Wolters 40.2 percent. Milwaukee ranks 23rd in assists and 20th in turnovers. Enough said?
The Bucks rank bottom-third defensively but not dead last, so that's a mild success. Henson, Sanders and Antetokounmpo all block or alter shots so the last line of defense is OK. The first and second lines, less so.
Who's on the bench? Who's starting? The Bucks have used 18 different starting lineups. Worse, no group of five players has been on the floor together more than 137 minutes (just 6.8 percent of the team's total). It's driving veterans such as Mayo, Caron Butler and Gary Neal to grumbling.
Larry Drew is an easygoing guy and a class act, but it hasn't helped him avoid playing-time issues and role-uncertainty rancor (he used 29 lineups with Atlanta last year). Having 11 new faces frequently has meant 11 new agendas -- and four old ones.
Milwaukee got off the tankers-of-interest list at the start when owner Herb Kohl flatly stated it would not happen, not with tickets to sell and new arena funding to seek. But look where the Bucks are at halftime of 2013-14, a disjointed group in best position to grab that top spot (25 percent chance at No. 1 pick) among the lottery crowd.
Sanders, Butler, Zaza Pachulia and Carlos Delfino all have missed double-digit games via injuries. Only Philadelphia has given players age 26 or younger a greater share of its minutes than the Bucks (78 percent). Playing the young guys might be the way to go, though the jumbled approach might lose more frequently. The offense is a mess (Milwaukee has failed to break 80 points eight times) and the midseason record is 14 games south of a year ago (22-19).
-- Steve Aschburner
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||A-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||D|
|New Orleans Pelicans||C-|
|New York Knicks||D|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||A|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|