It is again time for another NBA team preview here at the Sports Script, the number 25 team to be specific. Again, this has been a running series so make sure you go back and read the rest of them, and today’s entry about the Charlotte Bobcats right here. Now it’s time to continue down the list of teams with number 25. They’ve treading water for years now, which is the worst thing you can do in the NBA, but they might have done just enough to be positively terrible this year and get a good lottery pick. They traded away their best player, and let the other walk, that’s right it’s the Milwaukee Bucks!
Key Additions: OJ Mayo (Signed via Mavericks) Zaza Pachulia (Signed via Hawks) Brandon Knight (Trade via Pistons) Carlos Delfino (Signed via Rockets) Gary Neal (Signed via Spurs) Luke Ridnour (Signed via Timberwolves) Caron Butler (Trade via Clippers) Giannis Antetokounmpo (Draft)
Key Departures: Brandon Jennings (Pistons) Monta Ellis (Mavericks) Mike Dunleavey (Bulls) JJ Redick (Clippers) Samuel Dalembert (Mavericks) Drew Gooden (Amnesty Clause) Gustavo Ayon (Hawks) Luc Richard Mbah Moute (Kings)
Projected Starters: PG Luke Ridnour, SG OJ Mayo, SF Caron Butler, PF Ersan Ilyasova, C Larry Sanders
Wow. That’s a lot of moves, and not one of them will make much of a difference for this Bucks team. First off, good job on selling high on Brandon Jennings and getting Brandon Knight in return. Jennings was actually getting worse every year since his rookie year, and you don’t have to pay him big money. And letting go of the worst chucker in the NBA in Ellis was good too, have fun with that Mavs. The rest is yuck. Zaza Pachulia is making $5 million a year, which is about $3-4 million more than his skill level, Gary Neal is another chucker and is inefficient, Caron “Tuff Juice” Butler hasn’t been able to add much for a few years now, but he will have good stats at first glance this year. You gave up Tobias Harris, my love for his was pretty obvious in the Magic preview, for 28 games of Redick who got traded to the Clippers in the offseason, so well done on that. You did let Dalembert walk, and amnestied Gooden, which were about as obvious moves as you’ll ever come across. You signed OJ Mayo to fill the void of inefficient scorer for both Jennings and Ellis, lets hope he’s up to the task of below 40% shooting! Finally you drafted that Greek dude with the ridiculous name. I’ve spent a lot of time this football season spelling “Hoomanawanui” but that has nothing on Antetokounmpo, who happens to be the youngest player in the league right now.
Now that that’s over with, lets look at the starting lineup, and it is gross. Ridnour is projected to start, but I would hope to see a lot of Brandon Knight who still has potential to be a franchise caliber point guard, he may never be an all-star but a very good player nonetheless. OJ Mayo is going to probably go for the magical, more shots than points season, that such legends as Michael Beasley have accomplished. He might lead them in scoring every night, but don’t let if fool you, it will be some of the least efficient scoring in the league. Caron Butler like I said above will probably have good numbers, but that’s nothing special. He’s getting older and his best seasons are far behind him. Ersan Ilyasova had an off year after getting his big money contract, but he’s still an intriguing player being able to play from anywhere on the floor, and should hopefully bounce back and play more like he did in the 2011-12 season. Finally we have Larry SANDERS!!!! Sorry, it’s just necessary to say his name like that, because he’s that exciting. SANDERS! is among the best young big men in the league, and is definitely on his way to becoming a franchise center, and hopefully he will continue to develop an offensive game to go along with his all-star shot blocking and defense.
The Bucks are going to be bad, but should win a few games here and there because of miraculous performances by Mayo, because he tends to do that often enough to make you think he’s worth the money they spent on him, but he won’t. Larry Sanders will be an NBA Defensive 1st or 2nd team center this year, so that’s something to look forward to, but that’s about it, other than seeing how badly Jennings flounders in Detroit.
Final Prediction: 32-49, 13th Eastern Conference