Last Friday I felt like things were lining up for a terrific run for the Bucks. The schedule was softening, Redd was rounding into form and Bogut was due back any day. Yes, the clouds were parting and sunshine was visible. There would be something to look forward to here during this glum Milwaukee winter. Now . . . I'm not sure what is a more pressing feeling right now, the bad feeling I'm getting from the Bucks losing 6 of 9 and being without Redd the rest of the year, or the Bogut back injury possibly destroying the rest of the season. Honestly Bucks fans, the Bucks can survive the Redd injury, but tonight it was never more clear how much Andrew Bogut means to the Bucks.
TJ FORD HAD 34 POINTS!!
The same TJ Ford who left Milwaukee 3 years ago sans a jump shot still does not have one folks. Everything he was getting was the result of the gaping hole Andrew Bogut has left in the lane for the Bucks. Charlie V. is doing his best to keep the Bucks offense afloat, but when he is the crunch time center, it will almost always result in a loss. The question for seven games now has been the same; When will Andrew Bogut return? Well I'm not getting my hopes up for soon.
“Who knows how long it’ll be?” said Bogut after Tuesday’s practice. “It’s day to day. Hopefully it’ll feel better tomorrow and maybe I can play Friday ... The problem is that I still have a problem changing direction…sliding and that type of stuff. I don’t have a problem running. I can run in a straight line all day, I just can’t change direction too well. It starts tightening up when I do that.”
I'm not a professional player, but at every level of basketball I ever played, changing directions was instrumental to defense. In his absence the Netherlands have provided fans with some unsightly replacements in Dan Gadzuric and Francisco Elson. Gadzuric lacks the size to hold up to much and is often left hacking away at the man he is guarding in an effort to show that he does play defense. While Elson falls down like his shoes are permanently tied together. With no Bogut or Redd on offense the Bucks have been forced to rely on Richard Jefferson to "step his game up" and pick up the slack.
This has not happened.
Not even a little bit.
In the two games that have been played since Redd's injury Jefferson has scored 29 points. Total. If my math is correct that averages out to 14.5 points per game. Which is almost 3 points lower than his season average. 13.2 million just doesn't go as far as it used to. I hate to pick on RJ because he seems like a class act, but the comedy of errors that has left the Bucks in the position at which they are currently in has been frustrating to experience as a fan. How many times are we going to get this kind of performance out of Richard Jeffersons, or Anthony Masons, or Tim Thomases or Gary Paytons? How many pretend stars can one team go through?
It's almost as if karma has descended upon this team to punish them for never taking the proper steps to rebuilding. Making foolish signings and overvaluing their own players perhaps seemed like shortcuts to the NBA gods. I don't know, I'm just baffled that a franchise can appear this snake bit. If Bogut is unable to consistently be in the lineup the rest of the year that may just be a bit too much to take. I'd be just fine with a rebuilding project, but the trigger has never been completely pulled. I know that the team will think that injuries just got the best of them again this year and basically come back with the same squad next year. The big difference would likely be that it would be sans Charlie V. and/or Ramon Sessions due to the salary cap and luxury tax. Those are two of the three young assets the Bucks have. This is like reverse rebuilding.
Something needs to change between now and the trade deadline. I can already see those clouds circling back up, it's looking like it's going to get a little rough.