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Buck/Hawks kickoff on Saturday, Hammond is SBN's top exec, in defense of Jennings

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Bucks.com: Playoffs start Saturday
The Bucks play their first playoff game in four years on Saturday at 4:30 central time in Atlanta, with TV coverage on both FSN Wisconsin as well as nationally on ESPN.  The full schedule:

Date Location Time (CT) Television Radio
Saturday, April 17  Atlanta 4:30 p.m. ESPN/FS Wisconsin 620 WTMJ
Tuesday, April 20 Atlanta 6:00 p.m. NBA TV/FS Wisconsin 620 WTMJ
Saturday, April 24 Milwaukee 6:00 p.m. ESPN/FS Wisconsin 620 WTMJ
Monday, April 26 Milwaukee TBD TBD/FS Wisconsin 620 WTMJ
Wednesday, April 28 Atlanta TBD TBD/FS Wisconsin 620 WTMJ
Friday, April 30 Milwaukee TBD TBD/FS Wisconsin 620 WTMJ
Sunday, May 2 Atlanta TBD TBD/FS Wisconsin 620 WTMJ

SBN Award Roundup: Hammond Exec of the Year
Gee, having a good team is hard work for a blogger.  Over at the SBN mothership, Alex and I made our cases for Bucks award candidates John Hammond (top exec), Scott Skiles (top coach), Brandon Jennings (top rookie) and Andrew Bogut (most improved) as part of SBN's blogger awards vote.  Hammond nipped Sam Presti for the top spot in the executive voting, Bogut and Skiles finished second in their respective categories, and Jennings finished behind Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry for the ROY.  Head over to SBN for the full write-up, here's your teaser:

Can you improve a cash-constrained perennial underachiever while letting a big chunk of your talent walk out the door? It sounds like a stupid question, but based on Hammond's last year in Milwaukee, the apparent answer is yes--if you're smart about it. Over the course of the summer, Hammond unceremoniously dumped Richard Jefferson for expiring contracts, didn't even make Charlie Villanueva a qualifying offer, and sat on his hands after Minnesota signed Ramon Sessions to a far-from-outrageous four year, $16 million offer sheet. That had more than a few torch-bearing villagers up in arms, and it wasn't just the impatient fans who were shaking their heads. Nearly every expert under the sun seemed to take glee in ripping the Bucks' free agency moves, all the while heaping praise on supposedly savvy go-getters like Joe Dumars and Bryan Colangelo.

Basketball Prospectus: Jennings, Bogut show their defensive chops
One of the ongoing internal debats I've been having is over Brandon Jennings' defense.  My eyes tell me he's average at best: surprisingly easy to drive on (even when accounting for the Bucks' tendency to shade guys to drive baseline) and too weak to offer any resistance against screens, in the open court, or in the post.  The effort's definitely there--backcourt harassment and shot challenges--but he just doesn't seem like a difficult guy to play against.  And yet lots of smart people keep telling me he definitely is a good defender.  Ty at Courtside Analyst has been saying it for a while, David Thorpe called Jennings one of the top two defensive guards in this year's rookie crop, and now the excellent Kevin Pelton has come to the same conclusion, putting Jennings on his All-Defensive second team (same as Andrew Bogut).  Pelton explains:  

Don't laugh. While the book on Jennings was that he was too slight to be anything but a liability on defense, I've been impressed when I've seen him play and his numbers are strong across the board. In particular, Jennings' dMult of .864 (meaning opposing point guards produced at 86.4 percent of their usual rate against the Bucks) is tops among the point guards I considered.

JS: Stern talks Bucks, Bradley Center
David Stern mentioned the Bucks' arena issues in a teleconference on Wednesday, again choosing his words wisely. He's obviously well aware of Herb Kohl's precarious position as owner-who-wants-public-money and senator-who-can't-really-accept-public-money.  Don Walker reports:

"I think that it certainly is up to the Bucks to fill up their arena before we spend a lot of time thinking about a new one," Stern said. "It’s also fair to say that the powers that be in Milwaukee understand that the Bradley Center is reaching sort of the end, in the declining years of its NBA life. It will soon be amongst the oldest non-renovated or replaced buildings in the NBA. But that’s not an immediate decision. That’s something people are working on and looking at there."