1. NBA.com previews the Milwaukee Bucks season.
Here’s a sample:
“Scouting ReportIt’s encouraging to hear that at least this particular scout is a Bogut believer.
Yi should help them. Charlie Villanueva is coming off of surgery. Bobby Simmons is coming off surgery. Andrew Bogut, look for him. He has had two good first years, but everyone will agree that he could have done better. I think this is the year that you will see the better Andrew Bogut.
Maurice Williams and Michael Redd, both those guys can go for 25 any night. Then you have Bogut, Villanueva and Yi on the front line. All three can pass, all three can face up and shoot it and all three can put on the floor and take it to the hole. That will be their strength. They will be tough to match up with.
Weaknesses, last two years they were very poor defensively. The focus of Krystkowiak this year is team defense. I am sure teams looked at the Bucks as of last year and said we have got to do these things, we can score easy. We got to really attack them. So hopefully they can change that.
-- Eastern Conference Scout”
The preview contains the basics, like a rundown of the frontcourt, backcourt, coach, and starting lineup. However, the only predictions come from an NBA Live 2008 simulation. The simulation has the Bucks going 40-42, and slipping into the playoffs as an eight seed. Yi Jianlian also makes the All-Rookie First Team.
That all sounds pretty realistic. Until it shows the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors winning 39 and 36 games respectively, at which point you remember that it’s probably not wise to take video game predictions too seriously.
2. Tom Ziller of Ballhype took his NBA Festivus to the Central Division and didn’t have many good things to say about the Bucks.
Here’s a taste:
“All that risk, all that helter skelter negotiating -- and for what? Williams and Bell are the same two point guards Michael Redd went to war with last year. Ruben Patterson is gone, Brian Skinner is gone, Earl Boykins is gone. Yi is the only addition... and he comes with guaranteed playing time (25 minutes a game). If he's good, great. If he sucks? Adam Morrison Part 2. Last year, this team won a grand total of... 28 games. And you could argue they got worse. It would take unprecedented health from Redd, Bobby Simmons and Charlie Villanueva, combined with an electric debut for Yi, for this team to even think about the playoffs.”He picks the Bucks to finish 31-51. Although the article is a highly entertaining read overall, it’s hard to understand how he thinks someone could make an argument that the Bucks got worse. For one thing, Yi was not the only addition. If Skinner and Boykins are going to be considered losses, then Desmond Mason is most certainly an addition. And as discussed repeatedly here, the entire team is young and improving. Sure, we’ve seen Dan Gadzuric stagnate, but who really thinks Bogut, Williams, and Villanueva won’t get at least a little bit better this year?
Making the playoffs will be a tough task to say the least, but I would like to hear the argument stating how the Bucks won’t match 28 wins.