Linkage: 3 Shades of Blue / Straight Outta Vancouver
Andrew Bogut is expected to see his first minutes of game action in Memphis, while Chris Douglas-Roberts will be looking to impress on his return to his collegiate stomping grounds.
JS: Bogut finally back
Bogut was expected to make his return over a week ago when the preseason started, but the Bucks opted to play it safe after a blow to his surgically-repaired hand caused some swelling and discomfort. No arguing with that...safety first, y'all. And while we'd all love to see Bogut looking sharp and ready for the regular season, let's start with the baby steps of Bogut a) playing in an actual game and b) not getting hurt. So not surprisingly don't expect to see Bogut playing big minutes tonight or tomorrow.
"We'll start him and play him for a little while, and we may or may not bring him back," Skiles said after the Bucks' shootaround at the FedEx Forum. "More than likely I'll just play him one stint and see how it goes."
Despite returning to practice, Corey Maggette will not play tonight, while John Salmons continues to miss out with a sprained knee and Jon Brockman was in a boot earlier this week after spraining his ankle. On the positive side, Carlos Delfino (toe) came off the bench in Washington and is expected to start tonight. So aside from CDR starting in Salmons' place at off guard, the Bucks should have four of their five starters in the lineup for the first time.
It's tough to draw any real conclusions from just four preseason games, especially when your team is missing half its rotation and only two of the games have been televised. But it's still basketball, and for guys battling for rotation time it's never too early to make a good impression. On the positive side, it's been nice to see Keyon Dooling looking healthy and confident shooting the ball (59% overall, 6/12 threes), especially after hip problems limited him last year in New Jersey. Earl Boykins hopefully won't have to play too much once the games count, but the little guy has been excellent in 19 mpg, dropping a .500/.800/.944 shooting line that includes 20 fta in four games. With Skiles limiting Brandon Jennings' minutes, the Bucks other PGs have also played together a fair bit, so don't be surprised to see Dooling get minutes this season at SG like Luke Ridnour did a year ago.
Chris Douglas-Roberts has had some nice scoring games, but he's more of a broken play/one-on-one type guy. That's all fine and dandy, especially for a guy coming off the bench. But he has yet to shoot a three this preseason and the fact that he's not a spot-up guy means he may never be an ideal choice to play alongside other guys who need the ball to be effective. In that sense he's the anti-Delfino, which is exactly why I still like the Argentine as the Bucks' starting SF. As we saw against the Wiz, Delfino's the only Buck wing who seems comfortable playing off the ball--spotting up in the corner, catch-and-shoots off screens, etc. It's always good to have some guys on the court who don't need to pound the ball into the ground to score.
Up front, Drew Gooden has played about as well as you could hope, scoring 16.5 ppg on 53% shooting. He's never going to be a go-to scorer, but he can make open shots out to 20 feet and has frequently shown his craftiness in the paint. He's not a classic post scorer, but he has shown a good ability to finish broken plays and find soft spots in the defense.
Hopefully some of that will rub off on Larry Sanders, who has some undeniable tools--quickness, length, soft touch--but doesn't look like someone who really knows how to play basketball yet. From what I've seen in Vegas and preseason, three main concerns stand out: at this point it's not clear he has the instincts and core strength to be more than an average rebounder, his finishing has been relatively poor, and he's still learning where he's supposed to be. He may not offer much more than Dan Gadzuric-level production in the short term, but at 21 he has lots of room to grow and get stronger. Hopefully he's a quick study.