Paschketball: Udrih and Livingston press conference
The Bucks' two newest point guards met the Milwaukee media on Monday as Beno Udrih and Shaun Livingston made their first media appearances since the three-team trade that brought Udrih from Sacramento and Livingston and Stephen Jackson from Charlotte. All the usual good vibrations were in the air, including plenty of talk from Scott Skiles about playing two or even three of his point guards together. When you have four on the roster, you might as well plan on using them, right?
Jackson will also be in town tomorrow for his presser, and already we're seeing plenty of talk about the Bucks boosting their scoring thanks to the new guys in town. However, based on the trade alone I think that might be a stretch. While Udrih was a very effective scorer the past two seasons in Sacramento, Jackson has never been an efficient scorer, even if he does usually take enough shots to get his 18-20 ppg. And let's not forget that despite his struggles, Corey Maggette was still the Bucks' highest efficiency scorer in true shooting percentage terms a year ago. In the end, I suspect that swapping Jackson for Salmons will probably end up being something of a wash, so the hope will be that Udrih can be a much more effective and consistent weapon off the bench than Maggette was, with anything that Livingston can provide as a creator and mismatch threat as gravy. That's certainly possible, but the real benefit of this deal will probably have more to do with chemistry than simply comparing the stats of the guys dealt and acquired.
Either way, the reality is that it's almost impossible for the Bucks to get any worse offensively than they were a year ago, so shuffling the deck could have value if for no other reason than to shake up a stale group. Besides, to me the essential issue remains the same: Andrew Bogut has to get healthy (hello, post option!) and Brandon Jennings has to become an above average point guard. Chemistry and fit-wise I think the new guys could work quite well, but for the Bucks to really make any noise they'll need their two young leaders to step up. Same as it ever was.
JS: Andrew Bogut update
Speaking of Bogut, Tom Enlund passes along some very reassuring news regarding his recovery from arthroscopic surgery on his elbow in April.
"If you look at a timetable of just where he was last year at this time in comparison to today, I don't think he was even capable of shooting the basketball last year at this time and how he's talking about getting up 500 shots a day and lifting," said Hammond. "He even made the point to me and said, ‘I probably over-did it a little bit', and he reached out at one point to Dr. Andrews who said, ‘Just relax for a couple days'. (Bogut) said, ‘I'm planning on going right back at it (after that)'.
"So he seems to be in a great way physically and in a great state of mind."
So far, so good...knock on wood.
ESPN: NBA Today podcast talks labor issues with Larry Coon, Chris Sheridan and Russ Granik
If you have any interest whatsoever in the lockout issue, carve out an hour to listen to Ryen Russilo's latest podcast. Larry Coon and Chris Sheridan offer terrific summaries of the key issues and predictions for how things might play out.
SBNation.com: Bucks Retool With Stephen Jackson, But Are They Any Better?
Tom Ziller takes a look at whether Jackson can really be the catalyst for a better Bucks' offense.
TwinCities.com: Sampson among candidates for Wolves' job?
We mentioned yesterday that Kelvin Sampson remains in the running for the Pistons gig, but I neglected to point out that he's also been mentioned as a possible candidate to succeed Kurt Rambis in Minnesota.
Bucksketball: Leuer's future in Milwaukee
Josh Hilgendorf ponders the evolution of Jon Leuer and his possible role with the Bucks.