Bogut honored, Jennings' shooting, explaining the Bucks' turnaround, and the Bucks' favorite play

NBA.com: Bogut named East Player of the Week
The title says it all...congrats, Drew. 

Bogut led Milwaukee to a 3-0 week, which included wins over the Celtics and Jazz. Bogut led the league in blocks (3.67) and was second in rebounding (13.7), while scoring 19.3 points per contest. With a point-rebound double-double in each game, Bogut now has 32 double-doubles on the season, placing him eighth in the NBA.

BrewHoop: The Big Picture for Our Small Town Team
Mitchell with a great post on what all this short-term success may or may not mean for the long term.  As I was reading it I couldn't help but think that it really captures not just the depressing recent history of the franchise, but also our mindset as long-suffering fans of the Bucks. 

FanPosts: The Bucks and Losing the FTA Battle
Lots of great discussion over in the FanPosts (see right sidebar).  Among them, TheJay offers an update on the Bucks' free throw line disparity, where things have improved a bit since an utterly terrible start to the season.  Check it out.

The Score: Is Jennings really that terrible at shooting?
Scott Carefoot does some digging on Brandon Jennings' shooting numbers.

Luckily, there’s a stat that does take the extra value of three-point makes into consideration: Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%). eFG% is calculated through the formula (FGM + 0.5 * 3PM) / FGA so that three-pointers get the credit they deserve. Jennings’ eFG% on the season is .423. That’s still pretty bad, but it’s actually not even the worst in the NBA among players with over 900 FGAs. That dishonour goes to Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey, who has a .412 eFG% on 980 FGAs. Stuckey’s FG% of .406 makes him appear to be a better shooter to a casual observer, but he’s only 11-for-56 (19.6 percent) from three-point range this season, so he’s actually a worse shooter overall.

Jennings' epically bad shooting might also be stabilizing a bit.  After making fewer than 37% of his shots in nine straight games, Jennings has made 43% or better in four straight. Moderation probably has a lot to do with it--after suggesting he might stop shooting altogether a couple weeks ago, Brandon's averaged only 11.3 fga over the last four, compared to 15.2 fga over the entire season.  While Jennings' shooting volume usually doesn't bother me as much as it probably should ("he's learning!" is what I usually try to tell myself), there's certainly no need for fadeaway jumpers from just inside the three point line.  Of course, Jennings is also difficult to judge because he seems to be above average at making tough shots; I don't have statistical validation for that, but I'd guess most people who've seen a lot of him would agree.  The problem is that tough shots, even if you're relatively good at them, still aren't good shots.  And taking a lot of them only compounds the issue.

Shooting less also hasn't hurt his scoring over the past week, as he's averaged 17.3 ppg thanks to red hot shooting from deep (10/18 threes) and more trips to the line (17/19 ft).  He won't shoot 56% from deep over the long haul (we knew that back in November, too) but in the big picture this is still progress: a choosier, higher-efficiency player who continues to keep the ball moving and keep teammates involved.  For a 20-year old, that's a very good thing.

Courtside Analyst: How did the Bucks get so good so fast?
Ty with some great points about the Bucks' remarkable turnaround.

Gadzuric, Elson, Meeks, Redd, Warrick, and Bell combined to provide a Win Contribution of -0.377 (and that understates their collective damage because as their percentage of playing time dwindles so does their negative win contribution). Now all of them, in one way or another, are essentially finished as Milwaukee Bucks. That has had a tremendous positive subtraction effect. Now the worst win contributor in the rotation is Kurt Thomas, and for a backup center his negative contribution isn’t all that bad.

NBA Playbook: Dissecting Bogut's late dunk against Indiana
Sebastian Pruiti breaks down the Bucks' late-game Jennings-to-Bogut dunk on the baseline.  What makes this so useful to look at is that the Bucks have been running this play to great effect all season--I'd guess they try it at least a few times every game and it seems like Bogut gets one or two cheap buckets every night this way. It seems that this play normally comes out of a timeout or early in each half, so to see it work in a late game situation was especially cool. I think the most interesting thing is what Sebastian notes here:

As Jennings fires the pass in there, Bogut actually stops his cut, and this is a pretty crafty move by the big man. Bogut doesn’t meet the basketball (like most players are taught), and he lets the ball get to him.  Bogut doesn’t meet the basketball because he is already in terrific position to make the catch (right under the basket).  If he meets the ball on the block (as he finishes his cut), he would have given the defenders a chance to catch up.

You see every team use these kinds of plays to set up deep post position for their big man as they come across the paint, but it's interesting how the Bucks also run Bogut more towards the baseline, giving Jennings the option of throwing a more classic backdoor pass.

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