(My apologies for the lack of updates recently. I was battling some internet problems and some NBA playoff addiction. Here is the long awaited third part of my off-season preview.)
What We Hope For
What we hope for is really a funny question. Watching the playoffs each and every year has reminded me what I’ve been hoping for ever since 2001. I can’t honestly say that I’m hoping the Bucks can ever have a series like the Bulls and Celtics are having right now, because it’s just too special. And I can’t say that I’m hoping the Bucks get blown out and embarrassed by 58 points like the Hornets. I guess what I’m looking for lies somewhere in the middle.
I’d like for the Bucks to get in the playoffs and make noise next year, but to have an eye towards the future too. I don’t want to sell off the future while looking only toward the present like the Suns have been doing these last few years.
So what will accomplish those goals?
Get Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd Healthy
If these two are healthy the Bucks are a playoff team. Bogut is one of the better centers in the East and Redd is still one of the top shooters. The Bucks were done in by their lack of rebounding, defense and shooting at the end of last season, but they have in house solutions for those matters. Their role players can play minor roles with success, but for that to happen these guys need to be healthy.
The word is that Redd is making significant progress with his knee rehab and should definitely be ready for opening night. Bogut can look to the same people who healed Tracy Mcgrady’s back to heal his…or not. On his blog he says he’ll be getting an MRI in another two weeks to make sure he’s fully healed before he begins working out. It’s a positive sign that he’ll be healed with so much time left in the off-season, but you never know what’s going to happen with back injuries like this.
Keep Ramon Sessions and Draft Tyreke Evans
That I want the Bucks to keep Ramon Sessions is a statement that explains itself. Sessions was the best player on the Bucks for large parts of the season after not even playing in the first two games. He took a strong hold on the starting point guard position and showed the ability to be a real legitimate starter for years to come. Are there some guys in this year’s draft that could be better than him? Yes. Johnny Flynn in particular looks like he could be a real dynamo, but drafting young point guards screams four or five year wait.
By the time most of these guys get to be any good they’d already be off on another team. Chauncey Billups was drafted by Boston. Steve Nash was drafted by Phoenix and blossomed for Dallas before returning. Baron Davis was drafted by the Hornets before taking over the Bay Area. I know that there are Deron Williams’ and Chris Pauls, but there is not one of those guys in this draft at the ten spot -- even if NBADraft.net says Johnny Flynn is falling to the Bucks.
Evans has as much clear potential as anyone in this draft. He looked like a stud for damn near the entire season at Memphis and even played point guard for most of the year. I’m not saying he’s a future NBA point, but that shows he has some versatility and is more willing to help a team than going to Memphis and being a supposed street tough would indicate. The way Evans played in the NCAA tournament screamed future star. He got out there and put on a show when he needed to. Sometimes we put too much stake in stepping up in big moments, but I don’t think people are putting enough into him shining in Memphis last game against Missouri.
In the crapshoot known as a weak draft the only rule is to take the most talented player available.
Charlie Villanueva really cannot return. I know the Bucks are going to be shopping Richard Jefferson, but that is not enough. They need a forceful defender at the four spot and Chuckie B. Shooting just isn’t going to cut it.
Someone please pay attention to the playoffs. Al Horford, Kendrick Perkins, Tyrus Thomas, Udonis Haslem, Kenyon Martin…notice a theme? Tough guy power forwards who are willing to play hard defense and grab big rebounds are pretty important to winning games. Martin and bench buddy Chris Anderson destroyed the Hornets. Thomas has been running around pushing people like a crazy man and making big plays. Horford plays like he’s 33.
The closest thing to any of these guys in the draft is Dejuan Blair, and I don’t think he’s going to be a better player than Ty Evans. The Bucks are better off trying to dump Villanueva and plug a random in at the four while they continue to search for the future at that spot.