Indy Cornrows / Indy Star / 8 points, 9 seconds
The Bucks look to bounce back from their loss to Miami on Monday when they host the much-improved Pacers at the Bradley Center.
This looks familiar. Isn't there something about the upstart Pacers that looks kind of familiar? No expectations, blossoming young big man, speedy young point guard, drastically improved defense...yep, there's something very 09/10 Bucks about Jim O'Brien's squad. While Danny Granger puts up the points, the real story has been the emergence of Roy Hibbert (15.5 ppg/8.6 rpg/1.9 bpg, 20.8 PER, .508/.783 shooting).
Andrew Bogut owned Hibbert and the Pacer bigs a year ago (21.0 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 61% shooting), but the big Aussie missed the Bucks' 94-90 win at Conseco on November 5 and has struggled to find consistency on the offensive end so far this year. Case in point: 31 points on Saturday followed by a fairly anonymous 11 points on 4/12 shooting Monday against the Heat. The Bucks could have done a better job getting him the ball in the second half, but keeping Bogut involved requires more than just chucking him the rock in the post, where he's still looking to recapture the lethal form he so regularly flashed a year ago.
Much ado about...? In contrast to the warm fuzzies currently being felt in Indianapolis, the rumors are that all is not well in the House of Skiles.Gee, why can't anonymous sources ever bring good news? Bottom line is that I can't say I'm going to lose sleep over these latest reports, mainly because it's not entirely surprising if there's some anxiety in the locker room of a losing team. And all it takes is one disgruntled guy to start painting a picture of an entire locker room disenchanted with this, that, and the other thing. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not, but what I see on the court is a team that's struggling to put it all together, not a team that's giving up on the season.
So while the Bucks' window for turning things around won't stay open forever, it's certainly still wide open for now. For all their struggles putting the ball in the hoop, the Bucks are still defending and sit just a half game out of the 8th spot in the East.
Delfino's injury. The frustration continues for Carlos Delfino, who continues his slow recovery from concussion-like symptoms. From Charles Gardner:
Delfino said he has seen specialists in Milwaukee and Chicago and they have told him he does not have a career-ending injury.
"But I need to take care of that and there's no timetable," Delfino said. "It can be a week, it can be a month, it can be a year.
"You have to be honest with yourself, continue to work and if you feel bad, just stop. If you try to overdo it will make it worse."
Feel better, Carlitos.
McBobs. Josh McRoberts may have the most underrated nickname in the league, but his play is slowly catching up after years of NBA false starts. The former Duke PF has posted 14/8/4.5 in the last two games and seems to have formed a nice starting partnership with Hibbert. He'll be looking to make a much bigger impact tonight than in the first meeting against the Bucks, when foul trouble limited him to a scoreless, season low 12 minutes of action.
Speed merchants. Darren Collison was one of the league's big surprises last season, excelling in Chris Paul's absence and outplaying Brandon Jennings in their two rookie matchups. So I was among the many expecting big things when Collison became Indy's point guard of the future over the summer, but so far...well, it's a process. I wouldn't call Collison a disappointment, but he hasn't broken out the way some might have hoped--his PER is basically flat, scoring is up, assists down. He's good, but not quite taking it to the next level. Yet.
Jennings can of course relate to the growing pains of being an NBA point guard. He hasn't had a ton of help offensively this year, though some blame always has to go to the point guard when a team isn't scoring. Jennings himself is scoring more and more efficiently (.503 vs.475 TS% last year), but his assist rate is slightly down and he's still not putting the ball in the hole at a particularly good clip.