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Saturday Notes: Open practice today, Minnesota opener tomorrow, all about Ersan


Paschketbell: Charlie Bell and Scott Skiles

Bradley Center open practice at 1 pm
Tailgating starts at 11:30 am ($1 food items), the practice starts at 1 pm (free).  Get over there.

Sunday opener in Minnesota
The Bucks' open their preseason tomorrow night at 5 pm against the T'Wolves in Mankato, Minnesota. From Charles Gardner comes news that Scott Skiles is planning to start Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut, though it's unlikely that either sees extended minutes. I'd guess for this game we see a veteran-heavy starting lineup of Ridnour, Redd, Mbah a Moute, Warrick and Bogut, but I'll probably be wrong (and as noted previously, I prefer Ilyasova at PF).  A year ago these teams opened against each other and the Bucks rolled out Ramon Sessions, Redd, Richard Jefferson, Charlie Villanueva, and Francisco Elson.  Bogut and Ridnour didn't play as the Bucks were thrashed 117-79.

Ironically, the Bucks get to face Sessions in his first NBA action since leaving Milwaukee--three days before they face Charlie Villanueva in Detroit.  Just as I'm curious to see how quickly Brandon Jennings snags the starting spot in Milwaukee, our buds at Wolves blog Canis Hoopus are seeing if Jonny Flynn can do the same.  The big difference is that Flynn has to beat out Sessions, not Luke Ridnour.  SnP at Canis Hoopus is pretty unequivocal about the situation: "Sessions is the best guard and point on this team."  Considering Flynn was supposedly higher on the Bucks' board than Jennings, the whole situation underscores the teams' differing approaches to developing young guards.  Acquire as many good youngsters as possible (Minny) or pick one and groom him to be the guy (Milwaukee).  I still prefer David Kahn's approach.

No word yet if there will be any streams of the game, but I wouldn't bank on it.  I assume NBA.com will have at least one audio stream.

All About Ersan
Here's my rule of thumb when reading season previews: if it's more than one paragraph in length and doesn't mention Ersan Ilyasova at all, then I know the writer hasn't really done his homework. There's no guarantee Ilyasova starts at PF, but I'd be shocked if his shooting and rebounding ability didn't earn him consistent minutes in the forward rotationIt's no surprise then that both Gery Woelfel and Charles Gardner had features on Ilyasova this week.  Gardner spoke to Skiles about the challenges of managing his PF rotation:

"Within our team defense, can he guard some of the bigger power forwards?" Skiles said. "On the offensive end, he can make threes and spread them out a little bit.

"Or if he's matched up with some of those quicker power forwards, can he move his feet well enough to guard them off the dribble?

"That position now, one night it's a 7-foot guy, the next night it's a 6-7 guy, and (it changes) in the course of the same game."

The majority of teams don't have bruising power forwards anymore, which definitely helps a team hoping to feature both Ilyasova and Warrick at the 4.  But as confident as he looked offensively, I didn't think Ilyasova's lateral movement looked as good at the Eurobasket as it had previously for Barcelona.  Nothing worth a panic, just saying.

As you may remember, Ilyasova had another big reason to leave Barcelona for colder pastures: his wife is from Wisconsin.  Woelfel writes:

"She is very excited to be here again,'' Ilyasova said. "It's more easy for her here.

"(But) it wasn't why I came here. ... I see myself as an NBA player.''

Roster shrinking
The Bucks have too many guys on the roster as is, so it's no surprise to see the non-roster invites going home now that the first week of practices is over.  Via Gery Woelfel, Dominic James has left camp after signing a one-year deal with Turkish team Mercin.  Charles Gaines, Marcus Hubbard, and Mark Tyndale have also been officially cut.