- Don Walker reports Yi Jianlian has taped a PSA urging fans to donate money for earthquake relief efforts in China. The NBA is encouraging fans to help the Red Cross with disaster relief efforts in both China and Myanmar. Brew Hoop has a made a $50 donation and we encourage everyone to help out if they can.
- Bob Wolfley relays some cool stories featured in Keith Glass' new book about being an agent in the NBA. Glass has been Scott Skiles' agent since he was drafted by the Bucks 22 years ago.
Glass mentions that the first time he met Don Nelson, then the coach and general manager of the Bucks, was to discuss Skiles' contract. " 'Keith, I'm going to show you an offer, and if you don't think it's a fair one, just get up and leave,' " Nelson said. "It was a three-year deal, and to be honest, it was very fair as a starting offer. I left."
- With the draft lottery set for Tuesday, Tom Enlund talks to John Hammond about his very first lottery experience.
"I think it's a good draft," said Hammond. "It's funny that in certain years they'll say this is a strong draft class or this isn't a strong draft class. I've always come to the judgment myself of saying that the true test is a year or two or three after that draft class when you kind of see where these players are at in their career, "You could probably look back at any draft and it might have been projected as a lesser draft but certain players have progressed and turned out to be better than you thought and you look back five years later and say, 'That was a good draft.' But probably going into that season, they weren't saying that sort of thing about it.
- Bucks Diary chimes in on the all-defensive team selections, and makes an interesting point about the hidden defensive value of perimeter big men.
Interior players who can force their counterparts to account for them on the perimeter of their defensive end -- players like Bill Laimbeer, Yi Jianlian, and Dirk Nowitzki -- have a hidden "defensive" value I never considered before I started calculating this statistic. By keeping the opposition's big men away from the defensive glass they simultaneously prevent one of the opposition's best "possession enders" from ending possessions. That can be considered a form of defense -- it extends their teams' offense.One thing that was largely lost in the shuffle of Yi's poor finish to the season is that he flashed more than just offensive potential as a rookie. While he could use added strength and his rebounding must improve, Yi's length, agility and willingness to work should give him the opportunity to be a better-than-average defender. Of course he'll also have to read defenses more effectively, as Yi was also responsible for too many missed assignments as a rookie. Still, the Bucks' defense gave up three fewer points per 100 possessions with Yi on the court, ranking behind only Dan Gadzuric and Michael Ruffin in terms of differential (never mind that the Bucks were worse offensively with Yi on the floor).
That's why if you look at the numbers, Yi and Nowitzki both have excellent Defensive Win Scores, even though neither would be considered a "glove-like" defender by any standard. Both hold opposition power forwards well below their "per 48" rebounding averages. And once Yi becomes a better defensive rebounder himself, his advantage will multiply -- he will be on the defensive boards while simultaneously keeping his counterpart off the Milwaukee offensive glass. Maybe the idea of keeping Yi at power forward deserves a second look.
I'm not sure if 82games' opponent stats (used to calculate defensive win scores) are based on actual matchups in each possession or simply by matching the stats of players nominally playing the same position on the court, but either way they might be a bit deceptive in Yi's case. Bogut generally took the responsibility of guarding opponents' best post scorers, so statistically he might be shielding Yi from more difficult matchups (first case) OR the credit for Bogut's post defense could be reflected in Yi's opponent stats (second case). For instance, against a team like Utah, Yi would guard the less prolific Memo Okur (a center) while Bogut would handle Carlos Boozer (a power forward). Regardless of how the stats are calculated, it would probably tend to overstate Yi's contributions while understating Bogut's. That could also explain why Bogut's opponent PER was worse than Yi's and why Bogut's opponent PER got worse this year compared to 06/07--remember that Brian Skinner frequently defended post scorers to keep Bogut out of foul trouble two years ago.
- The AP reports Larry Krystkowiak would like to work as an NBA assistant this coming season. An Australian poster over at RealGM reports that Krystkowiak discussed the possibility of coaching the Perth Wildcats of the Australian NBL. Instead, Krystkowiak's friend (and former Rocket and Celtic) Conner Henry has taken the job but is planning to "a trip to Milwaukee and a brainstorming session" with Larry K.
- Meanwhile, former Bucks assistant Brian James is expected to join Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins' staff.
Mo Williams and Charlie Villanueva are in Korea helping at a camp for 40 of Korea's top young ballers. No word yet if they are going to hang with their former teammate Ha Seung-Jin.
- We missed this a couple months back, but SPORTSbyBROOKS checks out Andrew Bogut's Miami Vice look.
- Pete Barth of the Sheboygan Press has nothing but good things to say about new Bucks assistant Joe Wolf:
I first met Wolf almost a decade ago, when he was a member of the Denver Nuggets. He had brought about a dozen teammates to his family's Dairy Queen in Sheboygan Falls. What struck me right away was this: The fact that several millionaire athletes would spend their travel day riding a bus for an hour to hang out and eat burgers with one of the team's reserves in his home town spoke volumes about his leadership ability.