cameroncrazies02
The time is here.  The Bucks have really transformed their roster.  They have "lost" Jabari Parker, Shabazz Muhammed, and Jason Terry, replacing them with Brook Lopez, Ersan Ilyasova, Donte Divincenzo, Pat Connaughton with one roster spot to go.  As mentioned many times, Tyler Zeller is on a non-guaranteed deal.  The battle for that spot comes down to Zeller, Christian Wood and Tim Frazier.  There are a few ways this can go.  Zeller can keep his spot, Wood or Frazier could surplant Zeller for that spot and Zeller's released or, in a twist of fate, the Bucks trade/release DJ Wilson, keep Zeller and sign Wood/Frazier.

Christian Wood has been really good all summer and pre-season.  He just looks like he fits in this sytem.  On the other hand, I don't think Wilson has played at all in pre-season due to a hamstring injury.  Wood can grab rebounds, defend the rim, hit the 3 and do a few other things, whereas Wilson does very few of those things. My order of preference is-1-cut/trade Wilson, sign Wood, keep Zeller, 2-cut Zeller, sign Wood, 3-cut Zeller, sign Frazier, 4-keep Zeller and Wilson.  

The Bucks have been absolutely launching 3's this pre-season.  They shot 45 3's against CHI a few nights ago, then 48 3's tonight against MIN.  Both would've been franchise records if they were regular season games.  The offense looks fluid, there's a ton of passing, it makes sense, it plays to everybody's strength's and Giannis is going to absolutely ball with him handling the ball and 4 guys around the 3P line.  

The one concern I have thus far is Brogdon is going to start alongside Bledsoe, Middleton, Giannis and Lopez.  That leaves Ersan, Snell, Connaughton/Divincenzo, Thon/Wood/Henson, then Brown/Dellavedova/Wilson as the rotation.  That doesn't leave a ton of scoring off the bench.  But we haven't seen how Bud will truly handle a 13 man roster rotation.  Clearly, he's going to stagger lineups so two of Bledsoe, Middleton, Giannis, Brogdon are always in the game.  So I'm far less concerned about it than some, but it certainly is going to have to be seen to know exactly how it'll play out.

50 wins is clearly the goal, with 55 wins being attainable.  There are very few weaknesses on this roster.  Team rebounding is going to be crucial as they don't have any monster rebounders outside of Giannis.  But they look to be crashing with 3 guys at minimum, with whoever gets the ball either immediately outleting or taking off instead of looking for their point guard which is the benefit of so many ballhandlers.  It's going to be a really fun season and the skies the limit.

One last note: Jabari Parker has been absolutely horrendous for CHI thus far.  He looks completely out of shape, his iso game is more prevalent than ever and his defense is as matador as it's ever been.  CHI fans are already calling for a tank and are out on Jabari.  It's sad to watch, Jabari is physically talented, but he has the complete wrong mindset.  He was even benched in their last pre-season game that led him to refuse to talk to the media after the game.  My prediction of CHI winning something like 35-38 games is going down to around 30.  That team is a train wreck.
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oldballcoach1
Great stuff as usual Cameron.  I agree that Wilson needs to go.  A wasted pick and he offers nothing for this team.  Hopefully they find a way to keep Wood on the roster and really, Zeller also.  He can offer some strength and banging off the bench against those big low post guys.  I have been impressed with Lopez and think he will make a difference for this team.  Just his size alone makes things tougher in the paint.  

Questions I do have - who will we see coming off the bench - Divincenzo or Connaughton??  I don't see them playing together.  And, is Delly still going to back up Bledsoe and see consistent minutes or what is the plan for a backup point?  

I would love to see this team get to 55 wins and maybe a #3 seed and avoid the Celtics until the conference finals.  I am excited for the season to get going and watch this team.  
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db11
Wood makes the team; Zeller waived.

https://clutchpoints.com/bucks-news-milwaukee-gives-christian-wood-final-roster-spot-cuts-tyler-zeller-days-before-season-opener/

Glad to see it, though I would have had no issue moving on from D.J. Wilson. Not sure what the salary ramifications of it would be however.
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cameroncrazies02
As far as what OBC said....

I think Divincenzo bumps Connaughton.  Connaughton has a more pure shot, but Divincenzo is more physically talented.  DD has been poor shooting the ball this pre-season, but he's going to have the yips coming into the league.  He's another ballhandler who has shown the ability to run some pick and roll, he's a more aggressive rebounder and at least tries hard on defense.  Connaughton is a roam-the-perimeter player with little other skill to offer.  Now, if DD starts turning the ball over, has defensive lapses (which he has had in preseason) and his shot doesn't come around, he'll probably get his minutes pulled.  But don't discount Sterling Brown from some 2-guard minutes.  He's in the conversation as well.

I don't see Delly getting a lot of burn.  Bud is going to start Brogdon and Bledsoe, but will stagger them.  We are going to see two of Bledsoe, Brogdon, Middleton, Giannis on the floor at any given time and I'd venture to guess it's going to be Bledsoe-Giannis duo and Brogdon-Middleton duo, but that could change.  If it came down to somebody needing to get PG minutes to rest the others, I'd guess Divincenzo slots as the "PG" with Giannis on the floor so DD doesn't have to run the offense per-say.  But it's hard to say because Delly hasn't played at all in the pre-season due to injury so that could change.

I love that Wood made the team over Zeller.  Quite frankly, it's not going to matter.  One of Wood or Wilson won't be active each night.  And even so, Giannis and Ilyasova are going to gobble up the PF minutes, so barring injury, neither will play.  But Wood is actually on a TWO YEAR contract with a team option for next season, which is phenomenal value for him at the minimum.  As much as Zeller was better than Wilson, it probably came down to contract and need.  We have Lopez, Henson and Thon at center, there is no need for four centers.  And Zeller was cut without cap ramification whereas DJ Wilson at least has a guaranteed contract for this season.  

PG-Bledsoe, Dellavedova
SG-Brogdon, Divincenzo, Connaughton
SF-Middleton, Snell, Brown
PF-Giannis, Ilyasova, Wood, Wilson
C-Lopez, Henson, Thon

That's 15.  You can dress 12 any given night.  I'd guess Wilson, Connaughton won't dress most nights, while the third being a wildcard between Wood, Henson/Thon or Brown.  
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gstacy
saw part of the bucks bulls game, they looked pretty decent. hard to compare preseason against regular season. wins against minn and Chicago nothing to measure yourself against. but wins are wins. I like the play of Wood and Ersan the little things they do to help the team. wish we have 4-5 more guys on the roster who played like that. "roll players" insatead of guys who want to bomb away from behind the arc.
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cameroncrazies02
Bucks trade a Traded Player Exception to WAS for Jodie Meeks, future 2nd rd pick and cash-

The Bucks had a TPE from the Greg Monroe trade in the value of about $3.5M from the Greg Monroe trade that was set to expire in two weeks.  WAS is in luxury tax hell and Jodie Meeks is suspended for 20 games, I believe for some sort of failed drug tests.  So they took on Meeks into their payroll, which they had left over from this off-season and will waive Meeks.  In exchange for their good will in saving WAS like $6.1M in luxury tax, WAS is going to send cash (likely in the amount of Meeks salary) and receive a 2nd round pick for it.  Now, the details of the pick aren't known yet, but in 2015, the Bucks traded Jared Dudley to WAS for a 2020 2nd round pick that was protected from picks 31-55.  This language usually means the pick would never convey.  My guess is in this deal, WAS would remove all protections from that pick and the Bucks will receive the 2020 2nd rd pick.

THIS IS WHAT GOOD TEAMS DO.  I've been begging for the Bucks to take advantage of other teams for years, but they always have just used their cap space.  They haven't had substantial cap space since the summer of Snell/Delly/Telly signings/extensions.  They don't have cap space now, but they're under the luxury tax line and have the TPE which allows them to make this kind of deal.  Recouping 2nd round picks is always huge and they have gained in value over the years.
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cameroncrazies02
After two games, here's my overreactions to this point-

Offense-what a breath of fresh air it has been.  The amount of 3's not just being shot, but being wide open is astounding.  It has been in the forefront of our brains for a year or two now, 'what if we put four shooters around Giannis?'  Well, we have our answer.  Giannis has a ton of room to operate, everything looks easier for him and the shooters are open.  Neither game has really been close.  It took a Herculean effort from Kemba Walker to get CHA back in the game and they almost stole it.  But alas, an open 3 was missed at the buzzer to give them the win.  Against Indiana, it just wasn't close.  The highest margin was something like 25 points and they were in control the entire game.  What's scary is that nobody even played all that great.  Giannis had 22 points at the half, but ended with only 25 points, a bunch of missed 3's, a bunch of turnovers and fouls and he sat the final 8 minutes.  

Defense-this is definitely a work in progress.  But the way the Bucks are going to play-grab the rebound and go, you're going to be susceptible to running offenses the other way.  They are also allowing teams to take every midrange shot they want.  It's simple math.  A 3 is greater than a 2.  The Pacers got out to a quick jump, like up 10 in the first few minutes, but within two minutes, the Bucks had the lead after a couple of made 3's.  What was interesting to watch is IND just ran pick and pop every time down the floor with Oladipo and Turner.  Lopez wasn't going to be able to defend Oladipo off the dribble, so he sagged way back to the rim daring him to shoot mid rangers, and he made them.  But the Bucks just countered with 3 after 3 after 3.  

Giannis-as I said, he hasn't been great yet, even though he's filling the stat sheet.  He's turning the ball over a lot, fouling a lot, missing 3's, but he's making great passes and reading the defenses and making pin point passes.  He has something like 17 rebounds a game to this point and it seems that 12 a game is entirely possible. 

Brook Lopez-it's so satisfying to watch an of-age center in today's NBA.  Lopez sets hard screens, roams the perimeter and boxes out like a mad man.  The same way Steven Adams lets Westbrook get easy rebounds is the same for Lopez and Giannis.  I was worried about his rebounding numbers, but the silver lining was when Lopez was on the court for other teams, their team rebounding was above average and now it's clear why.  Instead of just getting jammed in the middle, tipping a rebound around and hoping to get it the way Henson does, Lopez finds the biggest guy and puts his monster frame in front of them to prevent them from the rebound.

Khris Middleton-I think we're going to see some lighter stats from Middleton this year in terms of scoring, but he can absolutely shoot the rock, something he did so rarely from deep in the past considering how open he can be.  He's handling the ball far less which is a good thing considering it slows the offense, but if he has to, he can still take just about anybody 1 on 1 because he's so savvy.

Donte Divincenzo-I was a bit surprised DD is getting the first guard off the bench nod and if you only look at box score, he doesn't look great-a bunch of fouls, some turnovers, but his presence on the court is phenomenal.  He is such a good ballhandler and so active all the time.  He's like a rich man's Sterling Brown.  He's always around the ball and plays really hard.  I like it, even if he's not hitting shots Connaughton could be hitting, he's a positive in almost every other sense on the floor.

John Henson-Henson is clearly the backup center for the time being. He made two 3 pointers in the last game almost inexplicably as they were end of the shot clock 3's, but if he can keep putting them up and hitting at least a remotely respectable clip, he's worth having in there.

Thon Maker/DJ Wilson-it's not a surprise to see Wilson as a DNP the first two games, he hasn't played all preseason due to a hamstring injury and Christian Wood seems light years ahead of him, but to see Thon as a DNP I was a bit surprised.  He had an interview with the Journal Sentinel after the IND game and didn't mince words he wasn't happy about not dressing.  He said he was really hurt by it, and it took him until the 2nd half to come around.  Of course he's going to want to play, but until Henson starts to not hit shots, it's likely Thon stays on the bench.  I don't know that Henson is a vastly superior player to him though, I'd like to see Thon in this setting.  This offense is tailor made for him.

Bledsoe/Brogdon-both have been good.  Brogdon is dribbling too much though.  He still hasn't fully grasped the offense, and tends to slow everything down, but he's knocking down a ton of 3's.  Bledsoe I was worried about.  Of anyone, I thought he'd have the hardest time taking a backseat to a more free flowing offense considering Bledsoe is such a 1 on 1 type player, but he seems to be taking it in stride.

Moving forward I'd like to see the following-
-Less Giannis at the 3.  There's been a lot of early rotations where Giannis is at the 3, Ersan at 4 and Lopez at 5.  It works because both can shoot, but it just seems inefficient at times and on defense, it leaves a lot to be desired with Ersan and Lopez both being stuck drawn to the perimeter.
-More switching.  Bud has come out very conservative on defense, allowing for pick and roll/pick and pops to happen and giving them mid range shots.  But Lopez is big and can close out on anyone with his long frame.  He may not be able to stay in front of a guard, but it may help.  The downside is it may make them more susceptible to 3's.  Lopez switches to a guard on the perimeter and he'll be stuck in no man's land having to back off a potential shooter.  It also pulls Lopez away from the interior where he can box out.  I just hope we see more switching when we go smaller with Giannis/Ersan type lineups.
-More Sterling Brown.  I just don't have a lot of trust in Tony Snell.  He's 2-6 from 3 thus far and almost all of them were very open.  His shot has really fallen off from him starting in the second half of last season and badly in the playoffs.  I just think Brown can do a little more.  
-Giannis just needs to slow down.  He acknowledged it in postgame interviews after IND.  He knows he's fouling too much and his turnovers aren't bad passes, just charges and travels.  He get so hyped in the first game at the Forum, he came out like gangbusters dunking E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G and making plays all over the court.  In the second half, he was too giddy and just made some dumb decisions.
-Giannis needs star calls.  He is not getting them at all.  CHA played him hard, putting both hands on him and shoving him around.  Freedom of movement is a huge emphasis in the early part of this season and it has been annoying to watch.  The refs took over the 2nd half of the IND game and I was shocked nobody got T'd up from either side due to the ticky-tack calls, but Giannis wasn't getting them.  Some of that is he's on Lebron level with his strength that shoves and hacks don't phase him, but he only got 3 free throws against IND.  He should be getting 10 a game the way he plays.
-Please hit a 3 Giannis.  He's 0-9 to this point and he said he's going to keep putting them up, as he should.  He needs to prove himself this year in that category.
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gstacy
yes too early to get a good read. besides, they played 3 of the worst teams in the League. after the Toronto and Boston games we should know more. after that a nice west coast trip. I'll say 9-4 by then.
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cameroncrazies02
They played the 76ers tonight, of course the 76ers were on the back end of a back to back that went to OT, but Ben Simmons was coming back healthy and they got down early, but battled back with a 50 point (!!!) 2nd quarter.  They maintained a lead of 10-15 points the remainder of the game.  Giannis notched a triple double, Lopez hit five straight 3's to continue that 2nd quarter roll.  The crazy part is, the Bucks didn't even play well.  They shot 41% from the field, 30% from three, but still managed to have the game in control for the entire second half.  It's been said around Bucks media, but it's a math problem.  The more 3's you shoot (and make) the higher likelihood you're going to outscore the other team.  

The 76ers looked pedestrian to me.  They're really trying to shoehorn an Embiid, Simmons,Fultz power lineup and it just doesn't work.  I don't think Fultz is good at all and when you have those two non-shooters on the court with Embiid a below average shooter, you're going to shrink the floor massively.  They're really missing the 3 point shooting they had last year where they always had two of Redick, Covington, Ilyasova and Belinelli on the court at any given time.
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db11
Well, the Bucks move to 7-0 after a Giannis-less squad took it to a Kawhi-less undefeated Raptors team,124-108.

This is fun.

Also nice not wasting a 1st round pick for once.
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traviswilson
Mediocre
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gstacy
ball movement, spacing, solid defense. just watched one highlight reel. Wasn't sure about Ersan due to his age but he looks like a nice addition to the team.
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gstacy
Looking much better than last years team. Yay. Maybe a top 3 or 4 finish would be nice. Playoffs, that is another story. We ain't there yet.
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gstacy
watched the first half. not a lot of defense. shot selection seemed to be take the first available 3.
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gstacy
Is 55 too much?

https://www.celticsblog.com/2018/11/2/18055044/is-55-threes-too-many-kyrie-irving-says-never-boston-celtics-milwaukee-bucks-nba-giannis-horford
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