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Game Preview: Suns vs Young Bucks

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After starting the season as a hot young team, the Bucks ran into some trouble and posted a miserable 3-11 record in December. The are trying to claw their way into the category of up-and-comers like the Thunder, Grizzlies and Kings but right now are looking more like the Clippers only with two fewer wins.

The story with the Bucks is obviously Brandon Jennings. He's the guy that Coach Gentry was asked about at practice yesterday and he's the guy getting all the national attention after dropping 55 points on the Warriors in mid November.

Since that time he's gone back to the high-top fade and seen his shooting percentages go through a similar retrograde as evidenced by this chart of his shooting percentage decline as the season's gone on:

Jennings_shot_chart_medium

Since I am already on record with my opinion about this flashy kid, I am not going to say any more about his rookie performance so far except that he benefits from being in a city where he's getting a lot of minutes and a lot of opportunities to shoot the ball. Put him on a better team with a veteran point guard and I doubt he's getting attention for anything beyond his hair style.

I am looking forward to seeing him play (again) and especially to see how he carries himself now. In Vegas he was an overly brash, cocky young kid who I voted Most Likely To Get Punched Out By A Teammate. So far though, it seems like he's managed to avoid that and from all reports is doing well in the "locker room guy" category.

Here's Jenning's stats on the year:


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2009 - Brandon Jennings 34 34.4 6.7 17.0 39.3 1.9 4.7 39.8 3.1 3.8 81.3 0.7 3.0 3.8 5.9 2.8 1.1 0.4 2.5 18.3

The Bucks started the New Year on a little bit of a roll with wins over the Thunder, Nets and Bulls before getting thrashed last night by the Lakers in a game where Kobe Bryant was pretty much a non-factor due to his busted digit and Pau Gasol was sporting some kind of pimped out suit. I don't actually know what Pau was wearing but I am very confident that he was pimped out. That's how Pau rolls.

Most depressing for the Bucks had to have been seeing Michael Redd once again leave the court with a knee injury. According to Rotoworld.com he will have an MRI today and said this:

Redd said he "felt a pop," but added that it didn't hurt as much as when he tore his ACL last season. It's tough to be optimistic about this injury, and we're assuming he'll be shelved for a while -- Charlie Bell will likely start and Carlos Delfino should pick up extra minutes in his absence

Redd has only played in 18 games this season and is shooting the ball very poorly (35% from the field and 30% from three). The team was a net -6.1 with him on the court and is almost certainly a better defensive team with him not playing. Still, you feel for the guy and the team that is paying him $17m this year. Ouch.

The good news is that next year he will likely become one of the most valuable contracts. If he continues to suffer from injury issues his salary might be both expiring and covered by insurance which makes him incredibly attractive come February 2011.

[UPDATE: by Phoenix Stan, 01/11/10 2:07 PM MST ]

Redd out for season - JSOnline
A basketball source has confirmed that Michael Redd suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee on Sunday night in Los Angeles. The injury will sideline the Bucks shooting guard for the rest of the season.

In the meantime, the Bucks will play tonight without him (baring something highly unexpected) and we will get a good look at Young Buck along with their other interesting players - Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Mbah a Moute.

The 22 year old Turkish Ilyasova is looking like a solid replacement for Charlie Villanueva. He's putting up 11 points and 7 rebounds in 25 minutes of play showing himself to be a European player that likes to mix it up but also has range.

Mbah a Moute is a solid wing defender with a ton of athleticism.

The real challenge for the Suns is going to be Bogut in the paint. The Bucks are only ranked 25th in offensive rating and will most certainly try and take advantage of Frye in the post.

Defensively is where this Scott Skiles coached team excels. They are 5th in the league in points per 100 possessions allowed (103) while the Suns are 1st in points per 100 possessions scored (114.5). The Suns are going to look to do their normal thing and expose Bogut outside of the paint. He's going to be forced to cover Amare which should lead to another big night for Stat. 

This is the Bucks team that played last night in LA and is well below .500 (15-19) so there really is no excuse for not getting the win at home before leaving on a four game road trip. After two days rest, the Suns should be sharp and a bit pissed about their recent performances. All that combines to give this game a high blowout potential.

Game Links:

  • Brew Hoop
  • Bucks vs Suns coverage
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  • Decade Of Change: 10 Ways To Usher In Another NBA Golden Era - SB Nation
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  • Channing Frye Finally Finds a Home (and Surprising Role) in Phoenix | Empty the Bench
  • Redd out for season - JSOnline
    A basketball source has confirmed that Michael Redd suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee on Sunday night in Los Angeles. The injury will sideline the Bucks shooting guard for the rest of the season.

  • Game 35: Bucks/Suns - Brew Hoop
    Nash is just absurdly effective shooting the ball from everywhere on the court right now, but one of the most striking stats of all is that he is shooting an NBA-leading 77.9 % on shots at the rim. Quite a difference from Jennings, who is converting 44.4 % at the rim. Steve doesn't attempt many shots at the rim (2.5 per game), but he has absolutely mastered when to take these shots. And there is a lot to be said for that. Because we all know everyone that makes it to the NBA doesn't have much trouble making a shot around the rim. But knowing when to take it to the rim requires a unique vision and understanding of when to attack the hoop. Which Nash obviously possesses. How else could you explain this: Better than Kendrick Perkins (77.7 %), Al Horford (74.3 %), LeBron James (73.0 %), Dwight Howard (72.2 %), Kevin Garnett (69.3 %). Better than everyone. Simply amazing; it's not like he is running around dunking...

  • Gilbert Arenas, kicked out of the star factory - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN
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  • Media Row Report: Blazers 94, Cavaliers 106 - Blazersedge
    James mechanically drained his three pointers and then paused briefly as a ballboy went to retrieve a rare miss. Sensing an opportunity, one of the group reached out to James and patted him on the butt, not unlike teammates do countless times during every NBA game. Perhaps with a little more cupping action than usual but, nevertheless, an innocent gesture. The move bordered on the bizarre because it was clear the two had no prior relationship.