Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We're Moving! New Blog...

After spending a great summer and start of fall here I am moving on to a new project: Brew Hoop.

The new site is a boederbucks/Just Another Bucks Fan collaboration, so I'm excited to join forces with Frank, who has already written a welcome message and Wednesday notes.

Brew Hoop is also a part of SB Nation, a network which already includes some of the top basketball blogs like Blog A Bull, Blazers Edge, and Golden State Of Mind.

boederbucks will stay here as a reference. And here's an RSS Feed for the new blog... Hope to see you there.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mason, Yi To Start

The big news is that Desmond Mason and Yi Jianlian will start for the Bucks in the opener, as reported in the Journal Sentinel.
Throughout the exhibition season, Krystkowiak downplayed the importance of starting. In fact, he didn't make a big deal of informing his players as to who would be starting, merely mentioning it in an off-handed way, during a drill in which the Bucks were playing defense against some of the things Orlando does on offense.

"I remember playing," Krystkowiak said. "So I understand the starting talk. But the five starters don't mean they're our best five players. It's not a horse race to see which guy started, which guy had the most effective preseason. There's been hundreds of cases where a guy just makes sense to get out there and start.
I've been pretty consistent in my support of Villanueva starting at power forward because he's the superior player as things stand right now and Yi has enough pressure to perform as it is. However, both will see similar minutes and Coach Krystkowiak seems to be going out of his way to explain Yi and Villanueva are in this together and who starts isn't of huge importance. If Yi struggles, we'll probably see that who starts becomes a little more important but at this point I'm not terribly worried about it.

Commenting On A Preview

The Bratwurst spent some time giving a rundown of the Bucks' roster with player-by-player previews.

A sample:
"Mo Williams: I’ve never really bought into the whole “pure point guard” vs. “shoot-first point guard” thing for two reasons: first, the most important thing is for the team to score more points than the opposition and, second, there isnt really any good way to objectively measure how good a passer a player is. Assists, for example, has as much to do with the point guards’ pass as it does with the finishing ability of the recipient and the decision of the official scorer. So does Mo shoot too much? Last season he took the 5th most shots per 40 minutes of all point guards (behind Arenas, Parker, Cassell and Davis) with 16.87, but the difference between him and the #21 point guard (Stephon Marbury) was only 2.81 shots per 40! That’s less than 1 per quarter! Also, Mo had several games where he was the only starter in uniform, so his scoring was necessary. No, his shooting was fine. Mo’s new contract is reasonable given his production and age, and he still has room to improve. Point guards often take years and years to reach their peaks, so while Williams will most likely plateau as a slightly below-all-star level player, there is always the outside chance that he could have a Chanuncey Billups-like career."
Good stuff as always. I tend to agree that while there are different types of players at every position who possess different strengths and weaknesses, and point guard is no different, it is sometimes an exaggerated concept. If Williams is going to help the team score, and use his strengths to do so, he shouldn't be condemned. Not everyone can be like Jason Kidd or Steve Nash and I'd sure rather have Williams than Brevin Knight, or a number of other "pure point guards" running Milwaukee's show.

That said, hopefully he will continue to play to his strengths while developing better distribution skills. Like it was noted, point guards take time to progress, so it's certainly not out of the question, and in fact is likely that Williams will develop as a passer. That shows that players shouldn't be labeled so generically, because labels stick, but players change.

Adjusted Plus-Minus Scores's Steve Ilardi unveils adjusted plus-minus scores for the 2006-07 season.

"This is exactly what the adjusted plus-minus stat does: it reflects the impact of each player on his team's bottom line (scoring margin), after controlling statistically for the strength of every teammate and every opponent during each minute he's on the court."
That's just a very small part of the explanation, so it's worth reading some of the details. For instance, the 2005-06 season is given some weight and last year's playoffs were doubly weighted.

Michael Redd is ranked 20th among players who played at least 20 minutes per game out of 175 qualified players.

Others of note:

63/175. Andrew Bogut
115/175. Charlie Bell
124/175. Mo Williams
170/175. Desmond Mason

And some from the under-20 minute group:

16/167. Charlie Villanueva
66/167. Jake Voskuhl
82/167. Dan Gadzuric
163/167. David Noel

There are noted error margins which Ilardi goes into detail about and might help explain some of the more questionable ratings, such as:

17/175. Rajon Rondo
30/175. Brad Miller
41/175. Tim Thomas
80/175. Carmelo Anthony
150/175. Richard Jefferson

Like all mathematical statistical measurements, this one doesn't quite answer definitively questions about player rankings, despite what Ilardi says. Adjusted plus-minus ratings are however another valuable tool that one can use in player comparisons.

In considering the Bucks' ratings, one that jumps out right away is Mason's, who also had a low, -4.9 Roland Rating last year. Perhaps more surprising is Williams' low rating, which contrats his solid 1.4 Roland Rating.

Odds And Wins

The Painted Area recently made some over/under picks based on Sportsbook. Considering they went 6-1 in their picks last year, it’s probably worth taking a look.

Here’s a sample:

"San Antonio: Over 54.5 (58 wins last year)
Just look here. Since Tim Duncan entered the NBA in 1997, the Spurs have won at least 56 every year (if you pro-rate the lockout season) except 1999-00, when they won 53. Further, they have won at least 58 for seven straight seasons. I'm gonna keep riding this horse until I get thrown off."

The author doesn’t make a pick for the Bucks, who are listed as 36.5 in the article but are now at 35.5.

Here are a few other Bucks' mentions:

  • Michael Redd is 15-1 to win the scoring title and 75-1 to win the MVP.
  • Andrew Bogut is 35-1 to lead the league in rebounding.
  • The Bucks are 35-1 to win the Eastern Conference and 100-1 to win the NBA Championship.

My picks on the over/under:

  • Los Angeles Lakers Under 44.5
  • Is this assuming they are going to land Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, and Tyrus Thomas?

  • Milwaukee Bucks Over 35.5
  • A Bucks blog taking the over on the Bucks? (elaboration on predictions coming soon)
  • Orlando Magic Under 47.5
  • Who inspires confidence other than Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis here?
  • Seattle Supersonics Under 27.5
  • In the last five years, an average of four teams per year have finished with 27 wins or fewer. How do they not fit in that equation?
  • Toronto Raptors Over 41.5
  • Chris Bosh, T.J. Ford, Jose Calderon, and Andrea Bargnani are on the way up, not down, right?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

HoopsWorld Interviews Redd

HoopsWorld interviewed Michael Redd after the Bucksfinal preseason game.

Perhaps the most interesting part:
So, of course, what's this team's biggest weakness right now?

"Weakness? Obviously, I think our offense still needs a lot of work. We haven't put all of our sets in yet, so we're still working on our offense. Playing hard and playing defense will cover up the offense on a lot of nights."
Well, okay. There have been some offensively challenged preseason games to be sure, but that’s definitely a new take on Bucks basketball. Here’s to hoping that the offense is indeed the team’s biggest worry.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Preseason Game #8: Timberwolves Blow Out Bucks

The Minnesota Timberwolves rocked the Milwaukee Bucks 106-85 to conclude the Bucks' preseason schedule.

Michael Redd and Mo Williams returned in backup roles, and played team-leading 27 minutes each. Andrew Bogut sat out again with a sprained left wrist.

Six stats:
  1. Dan Gadzuric started and scored a team-high 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds, four off the offensive glass.
  2. Charlie Bell started and scored 10 points on 3-4 shooting in nine minutes.
  3. Charlie Villanueva scored six points on 2-7 shooting along with two rebounds in 22 minutes. He had a team-high three steals.
  4. The Bucks only had one block total, courtesy of Michael Redd. The Timberwolves only had two blocks as a team.
  5. Mo Williams scored eight points and had six assists and two steals in 27 points. He turned the ball over five times.
  6. The Timberwolves shot 32-49 (.653) from the field and 4-6 (.667) from the three-point line.