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Stackhouse signs, basketball world shrugs

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It's now official: Jerry Stackhouse is a Buck. [cue crickets]

This of course would have been really exciting a decade ago when he was an all-star shooting guard, or even a year ago when his non-guaranteed $7 million deal was attractive trade bait. 

But what can the Bucks actually expect to get out of the until-yesterday-unemployed 35-year old?  Well, let's start by pointing out that he hasn't made a field goal since November 14, 2008, played just 10 games for Dallas in 08/09, and hasn't played more than 67 games since 02/03.  So durability and game conditioning aren't part of the package, though Scott Skiles has promised to give Stackhouse minutes immediately to work him into shape.  Stackhouse will also add to the Bucks' list of veterans on expiring deals, though it's tough to say he'll have any real value a month from now at the trade deadline.

But realistically, signing Stackhouse--and Skiles' enthusiasm to actually play him--says more about the Bucks' desperation to add scoring depth than anything else. Michael Redd was a shell of his former self while healthy, and Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut have yet to show they have the scoring chops to shoulder the burden of being a 1/2 combo in the NBA.  Leading scorers Jennings (.488 TS%) and Bogut (.508 TS%) have both been incapable of scoring with any sort of efficiency, in part because they can't draw fouls and get cheap points from the line--which kind of sums up the Bucks' offensive problems.  Overall the Bucks rank 26th in the league in offensive efficiency, and it'd be even worse if they weren't so good at taking care of the ball.

Among qualifying players, Luke Ridnour (.584 TS%) is the only Buck in the league's top 50 in true shooting percentage, an all-in efficiency stat that factors in three point shooting and free throws for a better snapshot of scoring effectiveness.  The next best Buck?  Warrick way down at #186.  And the Bucks' offensive struggles have been most pronounced at the shooting guard spot, where Redd, Carlos Delfino, Jodie Meeks, and Charlie Bell have all shot under 40% from the field and 50% in true shooting terms. It almost makes you yearn for the Todd Day era.  Well, almost.

But as much as Stackhouse was once a foul-drawing and scoring machine, his credentials from an efficiency standpoint have always been sketchy, and he's of course no longer blessed with the same athleticism he once had.  His career .524 TS% is middling at best, his three point shooting is below average (.306), and, well, he's old.  So what's the upside?

"He's always been good in the post," Skiles said. "He possibly could be our second-best post-up player if not our best post-up player." 

I guess that tells you how confident Skiles is in Bogut and Hakim Warrick, the only Bucks who ever get post touches. But even with Stackhouse's advancing age, it's nice to see he still converted 60% or better of his "at the rim" chances in 06/07 and 07/08, miles better than the Bucks' league-worst 54.4% rate.

The move also shows Skiles isn't convinced of Jodie Meeks' readiness, which isn't entirely surprising but still kind of disappointing from a long-term a development standpoint.  And while Stackhouse will presumably be getting most of his minutes at SG, the domino effect will be even less of an opportunity for Joe Alexander to show if he might be ready to be a legit rotation player at the 3/4. In return, the Bucks get yet another backup-caliber veteran that they hope can patch the holes on a sinking ship.