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Friday Notes: "I wouldn't mind watching the Bucks again tonight."

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A few notes for the day before the playoffs Saturday:

  • The Bucks won a lottery tiebreaker today with New Jersey, meaning they're 10th in the current lottery order and have 10 combinations out of the 1000 in the upcoming draft lottery.  Both teams finished the season at 34-48, so the tiebreaker determined two things. First, both teams are guaranteed nine combos out the 1000 in the lottery hopper, with the Bucks getting a tenth chance by virtue of the tiebreaker.  More importantly, the tiebreaker determines the order if the teams don't jump into the top three.  The Bucks get the 10th pick while the Nets get the 11th pick, assuming no one jumps ahead of them and they don't move up either.

    The Bucks have a 1.0% chance of winning the draft lottery and the right to draft Blake Griffin, and a little under 4% chance of getting one of the top three picks.  There's about a 9% chance they pick 11th because a team behind them jumps into the top three, but there's almost no chance they end up 12th or 13th.  In other words, they're likely picking 10th--which is where the Nets nabbed Brook Lopez a year ago.
  • Gery Woelfel talked to the WSSP crew about the 2010 Bucks.  And I think you could say he's optimistic: 
    "I really believe the Bucks are going to make a quantum leap next season...I think they're going to be one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference."
    It certainly seemed like a healthy Bucks team was headed in the right direction this year, but any further improvement will rely on the Bucks' ability to stay healthy, retain at least Ramon Sessions (Charlie V's probably a goner), and get continued improvement from Andrew Bogut, Sessions, Luc Mbah a Moute and (especially) Joe Alexander.  While I think a 6th-8th spot in the conference is realistic next year, I'm not sure I'd go much further than that at this point. 

    Perhaps more importantly, Woelfel states that an executive in the league office he spoke with believes the luxury tax will likely be around $71 million--which would be a big help for the Bucks given their current cap situation.  As of now, the Bucks have $64.4 committed to 10 players. That includes the player options for Elson and Allen, but excludes Sessions, Villanueva, and the Bucks' lottery pick.  Most recent projections have been for the tax to be at $68 or $69, so an extra couple million could make a huge difference as the Bucks try to keep as many assets as possible.
  • Those headline words and more, courtesy of Kelly Dwyer's fingertips.
    I'll have to ask you to fill us in down in the comments section, because today's BtB will be full of holes. Full of holes, but also full of love. I've been doing this since October, killing myself to try to keep up with 30 teams playing 82 games, and yet I'm not ready to see this regular season end. I'm right chuffed at the prospects of a looming postseason, but I'm also a little bummed that the first 82 is ov-uh. I wouldn't mind watching the Bucks again tonight. And the Pacers the night after that. I'm not ready to say "goodbye" to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • Charles Gardner writes that Andrew Bogut's back has not yet completely healed, but the Aussie is still targeting a mid-May return to basketball activities.  Fortunately Bogut won't have to deal with international commitments this offseason, freeing him to work on his game in the gym:

    "I just want to work on everything," he said. "I want to have more confidence in my outside shot. I just want to get in the gym and shoot 1,000 shots a day, once I start working out. I definitely want to improve my free throws. My stroke is great; it's just all mental for me.

    "My defense definitely has gotten better this year. With coach's system, I think I've become much more confident."

  • Award tour: Luc Mbah a Moute fetches All-Defensive Third Team honors as concluded by John Hollinger.
  • The Principal also makes David Thorpe's All-Rookie Third Team and All-Rookie Defensive First Team.
  • And he's the sixth man on USA Today's inaugural All-Rambis Team.
  • First round misfire? Joe Alexander is SI.com's lottery flop.
  • Charlie Villanueva is slotted an even 100th in the Sports Guy's annual MVP countdown.
  • The '08-'09 Bucks were the 719th best team in NBA history according to Kyle Wright.
  • Bucksketball's offseason outlook: parts one and two of three.
  • The Bucks rank 24th in Marc Stein's latest power rankings.
  • Same old last place finish in the Central, but Jim Paschke sees change.
  • John Hammond reflects on Year 1 as Bucks GM.
  • Gery Woelfel reports from Portsmouth.
  • The Bucks will select Craig Brackins according to NBADraft.net's most recent mock.
  • Draft Express tabs Earl Clark 10th overall in their latest mock draft.