Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Week Ahead (March 8th-15th)

I was successful in one prediction last week: I still suck at predictions. My hope for a 3-1 week to jumpstart a playoff run quickly spun into a 1-3 drop out of the current playoff picture. If the Bucks are going to claim to be a good home team don’t they have to beat teams like the Nets at home? Tuesday's loss was very sad for a team attempting to pose as a good home team.

But there are more pressing issues at hand than my inability to see the future.

In recent memory has their been a Buck more clumsy with the ball than Keith Bogans? Here I thought the Bucks were getting a guy who could play some defense and shoot the three and they got a guy who does little of either of those things and has the ball mysteriously slip away from him fairly often.

Charlie Bell and Keith Bogans, thanks for your hard work and all this year, but can we see heavy doses of Joe Alexander for the rest of the year now? The Not-So Killer B’s tandem of Bell and Bogans equates into a fairly significant weakness any time either of them are on the court. Bell is more of a liability defensively than he ever gets credit for. How can he not be with a four-year-old hanging off of his right knee?

Bell and Bogans have PER’s of 9.82 and 8.59 respectively. To put that in perspective, another guy whose job is to come in and shoot, Kyle Korver, has a PER of 11.11 – in a down year. Bogans is a much better defender than Korver but I don’t believe there is significant evidence that Bell is. Who has lived off a reputation as a good defender longer than Charlie Bell? If he was good before he hasn’t been since he lost his right knee.

(Bell does offer some veteran leadership and is the Bucks player representative, which counts for something, but not enough to offset the poor play.)

Bogans has done most of his damage (he hasn’t really done any damage, I guess I should say most of the damage has been done to Bogans) as a member of the Magic so I’m less concerned about him. I think going forward the Bucks will realize as quickly as I have that he isn’t very good. When I thought he would be part of the Bucks playoff charge I was envisioning a Bruce Bowen type instead of a Bruce Banner (non Hulked up version) type.

Oddly enough this Saturday Bell and Bogans had their best games since Washington last Saturday. Bogans still stumbled around a bit though and Bell still missed enough open shots that I was bothered. It just seems to me that it would be more productive for the future of the Bucks if Joe Alexander was getting some of the time these two were getting. I know that may be admitting defeat and dropping out of the playoff race essentially, but at this point if you’re the Bucks why kid yourself? Onto the week ahead...

March 10th vs. New York (25-36)
The Knicks continue to chuck with reckless abandon. They’re averaging 28 three point attempts per game. That must be why they acquired Larry Hughes, to slow things down. Their defense continues to be for lack of a better term defenseless. In the month of February they were able to hold an opponent under 100 points just one time. Fortunately the Bucks thrive in these types of games recently, so this should be a win.

March 13th vs. New Orleans (39-22)
Remember when New Orleans was disappointing this year? What happened to that team? Suddenly they are third in the West and surging. Tyson Chandler has looked very feisty since returning from injury and his trade untrade fiasco. The Bucks certainly wish he had been gone in their last game in New Orleans. Chandler’s tip with time running down bailed out the Hornets after the Bucks fought back into the game during garbage time. Chris Paul continues to play point guard better than anyone anywhere and now that Chandler is healthy and springy again they are certainly looking dangerous.

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