- Maybe the Bucks should have stayed in China. In their first game back stateside, the Bucks were blown out 95-76 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. If you're scoring at home, the Bucks have now lost by 38, 14, 26, 12 and 19 in the five games they've played in the good ol' U.S. of A. this preseason. The positives? The scoreline overshadowed what was actually a reasonably solid first half for the Bucks, who led by as many as 13 in the second quarter before allowing the Wolves back in it. Secondly, Dan Gadzuric actually played...well. With Bogut sitting out the final two games to rest his gimpy ankle, the (original) Dunking Dutchman put up 13/11 (5/10 fg, 3/3 ft) in 27 minutes, providing Scott Skiles something to think about as he contemplates his big man rotation.
Otherwise, the Redd/Jefferson tandem was once again MIA, combining for a paltry 17 points, three rebounds, and five assists in 62 minutes. Charlie Villanueva was coming off a very nice performance in China, but responded to Skiles' questions about the starting PF spot by doing absolutely nothing--13 minutes, 2 points, and one rebound. Joe Alexander's shot didn't make the flight back to North America evidently, as the rook made just 1/8 from the field; he's now 1/15 in the three preseason games he's played outside China. On a positive note, he did manage to haul down seven boards in 20 minutes--after grabbing just six rebounds in his first 70 minutes of the preseason. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had better luck, scoring 12 (5/9 fg) along with five boards in 20 minutes. And not to be overlooked was the first preseason action for Charlie Bell, who played 13 minutes. For more, check out Tom Enlund's JS recap.
- The Bucks are back at it tonight in Chicago for their final preseason game, taking on Vinny Del Negro's crew at 7:30. The teams will then have three days off before they do it again on Tuesday for real.
- As alluded to above, Gery Woelfel writes that Villanueva isn't guaranteed to be the starting power forward on opening night.
"At the four spot ... we’re not getting any defense in that spot and that’s hurting us in the games,’’ Skiles said. "Everybody knows Charlie is a quality scorer. There’s no question about that.Villanueva's defense is always something to be worried about, and Skiles might also consider CV's offensive spark to be something of greater use off the bench--nevermind that Villanueva never seemed comfortable in that role last year. Still, if rebounding is the Bucks' primary concern then Villanueva should be a lock to start. Last season he was above average among PFs in rebound rate (15.0% of all available rebounds) while Allen has been a miserable rebounder for years (11.8% last year, 10.8% career). Given what we saw from Villanueva last year, I'll be hoping he gets a chance to start on opening night--not only because he's clearly the most talented 4 on the Bucks roster, but I also don't know if playing the motivational card with him will be all that effective.
"But we also need defense there. We need defense at every spot on the floor. Our defensive numbers are horrible.
"I’m not singling him out, but he needs to pick it up on that end and the rebounding aspect of it, too.
- The annual GM survey is out and league executives seem to think the Bucks are on the right track. The Bucks finished tied for third in voting for best overall offseason moves (7.4%) as well as in team that will be most improved (14.8%). In other voting, Joe Alexander was third in the most athletic rookie category (18.5%)
- Herb Kohl knows the Bucks need a new arena, but Jay Sorgi writes that as a politician Kohl says now isn't the time to ask for taxpayers to pay for it.
"I think we deserve some consideration, in a timely manner, in the right way."
Senator Kohl states, though, the right way is not to ask now for taxpayers to assist in building under current economic times.
"No one is saying we need to start talking about it today," states the Senator.
"I'm not saying that. This is a tough economy, and people are hurting, so nobody is talking about public funds, or even private funds because companies are hurting."
- Don't count Jon Nichols at Basketball-Statistics.com among those expecting big things from the Bucks in 08/09.
Friday Notes: Bucks lose in Minnesota, Bulls tonight, Kohl talks arena
By Frank Madden