ESPN.com's Chris Broussard is all over Michael Redd's transformation from big scorer to Team USA savior, physically fit multi-dimensional player, and vocal team leader.
"I found out last year you can average 27 points a game and not make the All-Star team," Redd says, with a laugh.
"You're probably the first to do that," Pastor Bernhard replies.
Last season, Redd, whose lone All-Star gig was in 2004, was the highest scorer in 20 years to miss out on the midseason festivities. He's hoping his improved conditioning and focus on all-around play will keep him from being overlooked again.
- Beating the Mavericks is always going to require a battle. So naturally the Bucks didn't come out completely unscathed, but thankfully the injuries to Mo Williams and Desmond Mason aren't terribly severe. JS Online's Charles Gardner writes that both are listed as day-to-day with ankle sprains.
Mason said he came to the Cousins Center on the Bucks' off day on Sunday to receive some treatment on the ankle, and he planned to get more treatment tonight.
"I think so," he said of being able to play against the 76ers. "If the swelling goes down like I think it will.
- I'm sure he'd love to be in Milwaukee with Redd, Bogut and company, enjoying early season winning in the NBA, but Tulsa is treating Ramon Sessions just fine. He's the first NBDL player to win Performer of the Week in 2007-08. It's just the D-League, and it's just two games. But there are precedents of second round draft pick success in Milwaukee's backcourt already, right Mike and Mo?
- The Bucks made the third highest jump of the week in NBA.com's Power Rankings, landing seventh.
- Stan McNeal of The Sporting News isn't exactly convinced the Bucks are as good as their 7-4 record indicates. Correct, the Bucks can't realistically continue to pull out every close game. But it's not like the Bucks are overachieving at .500, they are overachieving in first place in a very competitive division. So even when things even out they should be in solid position for a playoff run. And keep in mind, most Bucks aren't playing above expectations.
- Following last year, it's easy to see why people are just trying to make sense of the Bucks' early winning ways. Tony Mejia of CBS Sportsline sees improvement from last year not only in Michael Redd, but the roster from top-to-bottom.
That's why re-signing Bell, re-acquiring Desmond Mason and inking Royal Ivey was so pivotal this offseason. The Bucks don't want to be caught in the dilemma they fell into last year, playing guys out of position and relying on the likes of Ersan Ilyasova and David Noel for heavy minutes. Noel hasn't gotten into a game this season and is likely headed for the D-league, while Ilyasova is getting his seasoning at Spain's FC Barcelona. That should tell you something about how rough last season was from a depth standpoint.
- Although hot-shooting Jason Terry kept finding himself open on Saturday, Coaching Better Bball discusses how the Bucks used a matchup zone to frustrate the Mavericks, complete with video and diagram evidence.
- Hopefully the day will soon come when the Mavericks can lose to the Bucks without getting Basketbawfulized. Unfortunately, that day is not yet here. However, the Mavericks really didn't play all that badly, and I object to the claim that something must be wrong with either Avery Johnson or Dirk Nowitzki simply because Terry carried the load down the stretch. He remained oddly open despite his success, so why force the ball to someone else, even if it is your superstar? It's not like the crunchtime dependence on Terry (6-10 from downtown in the game) was their downfall anyway.
So the reigning league MVP gets one shot in crunch time, but the team's sixth man gets five? Seriously? That either says something about Avery Johnson as a coach or Dirk Nowitzki as a player, and neither is a good thing.
- Jesse Motif of Bango's Bunch objects to Yi Jianlian's All-Star ballot snub, calling into question David Stern's rationale. This situation really isn't problematic because he'll be on the ballot next year, when he might make a legitimate case as one of the East's best forwards, which he hasn't done this year. And I have yet to hear any fuss about Kelenna Azubuike's exclusion from the ballot, and he's hitting game-winners and putting up better numbers. Motif's idea for an All-Star format change is more interesting, though maybe it's better to save all of that for the meaningful international competitions.
David Stern has been pushing the international scene since 1992 and the original Dream Team. It is now a global sport that the rest of the world is on par with against the United States. I would love to see the All-Star format changed and have an international squad play a US team to change things up.
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