Bucks.com: 2009-10 Post Season Quotes
Big thanks to the unnamed Bucks staffer who typed up an absolute ton of quotes from the post-season media day. Lots of good stuff in here worth noting, so set aside 10-15 minutes and read it all. If you need the abridged version, let's start with Andrew Bogut, who provided a mixed bag of details on his ongoing recovery and rehab.
It’s going to depend on how the finger heals now. The elbow is pretty much healed, I’m just getting the swelling down. The wrist feels good already. It feels like it’s healed. The finger is the thing that worries the doctors because of the ligaments. There’s a slight percentage chance that it can re-break very easily. It’s a slight percentage, like five percent, but they say that there’s a chance of that happening so they are kind of worried about me trying to push myself the first couple of weeks. Whether that’s into June or early July, we don’t know. I’ll definitely be back in with a solid two months of basketball training before coming to Milwaukee.
Kind of amazing to hear his elbow and wrist (which supposedly had a pair of broken bones) are nearly healed, though the possibility of lingering issues with his finger is a bit worrying. But overall it's great to hear he won't be spending all summer wearing a cast, allowing him to do some skill work (yep, he's once again going to be working on that elusive 15-foot jump shot) in addition to keeping his conditioning up.
Bogut also says he's likely to make an announcement in the next week or so about the World Championships, which presumably will just be confirmation that he's focusing on rehab and not playing any sooner than Bucks training camp. As for other vaguely interesting stuff, Bogut credited slimming down with helping him transform his game defensively.
Yeah, it was huge. I think all that’s related to losing weight. I played very, very heavy. I wasn’t overweight, but I played very strong and heavy my third year. I was at a low body fat percent but I just didn’t feel like I could move as well. But now, I’m back to what I was at out of college and it’s really helped my game. Just moving around on the floor I feel much better. My knees aren’t sore and my back is not sore anymore.
The wear and tear of extra weight doesn't seem to be a concern to Ersan Ilyasova, who apparently heard all of our requests lately for a more physical power forward to play next to Bogut.
"I’m not going to be resting for the whole two months, maybe two weeks and then my goal this summer is to put on more weight and get stronger for next season as well. Sometimes when I play in the four, I feel light going up against some of the guys in the four position, so that’s why my goal this summer is to gain more weight and get stronger playing the four position comfortably next year. Two summers ago I was 245 and now I’m 227 and it’s my goal to be back to 245. And then I’ll get a lot of time to play in the summer league this summer with the National team and I think it will really improve my skills basketball wise for next year."
You obviously hope the added bulk doesn't mess up Ersan's jumper or slow him down noticeably (he doesn't have much speed to spare even at his current weight), but fortunately Ersan has already been at 245 and knows the tradeoffs. And with Luc Mbah a Moute available to defend the more mobile PFs, a beefed up Ilyasova could be a nice complement to the Bucks' frontcourt rotation.
Unlike Ersan, Brandon Jennings is a bit more wary of sacrificing speed--can't blame him. Though hopefully there's still a bit of room left for him to get stronger without slowing down.
I like my quickness. I think my quickness is something you can’t really keep so I’d rather keep that than try to get bulked up. And working on my jumper. I’m going to have to start dunking next year again. I’m tired of getting my shots blocked all the time. On working on his jumper… Work on my mid-range a lot this summer and being consistent. My first time playing 82 games, or however many games you want to call it, 89, that’s kind of a lot for a person who didn’t play last year at all. So just trying to be consistent next year.
JS: Decision process starts for Salmons
It would seem a foregone conclusion that John Salmons will be opting out of the final year of his current contract ($5.8 million), but at least he's saying some nice things about his time (so far) in Milwaukee.
"The city has been great and the fans have been great," Salmons said. "My teammates have been great, and it's a really good coaching staff.
"When you get traded, you never really know what to expect. We made a great playoff run and had an opportunity (against Atlanta) but just didn't pull it out."
"It's probably a pretty good option, to opt out," he said.
"Moving is getting a little old," Salmons said. "It's a business and it's part of it. Quentin Richardson got traded five times last summer.
"For me the main thing is what I feel God wants me to do. I'm just going to pray on the decision."
Woelfel: Could Salmons become a Hawk?
Gery Woelfel offers an interesting possible destination for Salmons, though it doesn't seem like the Hawks will have real cap room unless Joe Johnson leaves and the cap is in the mid-50s. That said, it's not just the starting salary of Salmons' next deal that's important. The length of the deal is arguably even more important, especially given his age and the Bucks' hope of having significant cap space in 2011. Salmons could certainly be willing to take a slight paycut next year if he gets a guaranteed 3-4 years.
The Hawks may lose star shooting guard Joe Johnson in free agency and, if that occurs, the Hawks could target Salmons as a possible replacement.
Salmons has a player-option clause in his contract, meaning he has the choice to stick with the Bucks for another season at $5.8 million or become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and sign with the team of his choice.
The Bucks have had some conversations with Salmons' agent, Joel Bell, about signing an extension, but that isn't likely to happen.
NBA.com: Bogut and Mbah a Moute left off All-Defensive Team
Bogut and Luc both scored eight points in all-defensive team voting (Luc also had one first team vote), but alas that wasn't good enough to make it on either the coach's first or second team. Tough to argue too much with the guys that did make it, though you could make a good case Bogut was better than second team picks Tim Duncan or Anderson Varejao. Interestingly, Ersan also picked up a long second team vote. OK...
Sporting News: We All Survived Brandon Jennings
Some good perspective on the Brandon Jennings Experience, Chapter I.
But as we look ahead to the rest of the career, let's also remember what Jennings has accomplished this season. One year ago, many scouts and general managers didn't trust his work ethic and attitude. Those concerns turned out to be silly, because while Jennings certainly has a strong personality, he also loves basketball and doesn't seem to indulge in many of the off-court distractions that have submarined the careers of many youngsters.
In other words, Jennings proved very early in his career that he's a player worth building around. That's no small task, especially playing for a tough and demanding coach like Scott Skiles. He's by no means complete, or even entirely dependable. But he started every game, was the biggest threat for the Bucks during a seven-game playoff series, and has helped turn the Bucks into a marketable team despite the fact that the franchise barely has any identifiable characteristics.
Ridiculous Upside: The Curious Case of Xavier Henry
RU has a bit more on Kansas swingman Xavier Henry, whom we discussed the other day as a possible draft target. Apparently Kansas fans weren't too blown away by his up-and-down freshman season.
I don't think Henry will be a bust, but I am very bearish on his NBA prospects. He is a very good jumpshooter, but doesn't get a ton of lift with his shot, and he doesn't have very good hops around the basket either. Not that he'll get to the basket very often because he doesn't have a quick first step, nor does he have the ability to use his right hand as anything other than a "show me" move.
I will say that, in college, he had a pretty cerebral game considering he was only 18 while showing a knack for finding the open man when his rare drives to the basket were stalled.
Still, unless Henry is fairly wide open I doubt his ability to get off many three pointers - nor do I think he has the athleticism to drive to the basket or to guard any offensive players of consequence in the NBA. He'll go in the first round, but I don't think he should be a lottery pick.