On the Cavs: Fear the Sword / Cavs: The Blog / Waiting For Next Year
The Bucks play their penultimate home game of the season against the struggling Cavaliers.
Cavalier update. Cleveland is finishing its rough season on a hot streak--well, relatively speaking at least. Byron Scott's bunch is 4-5 over its last nine games and had beaten Charlotte and Toronto before losing to the Bulls at home last night, not bad for a team that is 17-62 and tied with Minnesota for the worst record in the league. In that sense you can't blame Cleveland fans for feeling a bit torn about their team's last three games--the worst team in the league has a 5% better chance of winning the lottery (25%) than the second-worst team (19.9%).
In defense of Bogut. Playing their first game without their defensive anchor, the Bucks' defense looked decidedly ragged in Detroit, surrendering 110 points for the first time since their March 15 loss in Atlanta. In fact, they hadn't surrendered more than 98 point in the 12 games since, though their record was only 6-6 in that span.
FanPosts: The future of Jennings
Plenty of people have seen it already, but check out the Jennings conversation over in the FanPosts if you haven't already. While there are plenty of questions about Bogut's ability to return to the offensive form of 09/10, I'd argue the biggest question facing the Bucks is what they really have in Jennings.
Jam Sessions. Ramon Sessions was the Bucks' point guard of the present and future before Jennings came along, and though he's been coming off the bench behind Baron Davis, Sessions has still managed to score in double figures in eight straight games, including 16.4 ppg on .528/.897 shooting in 20.8 mpg in five April games.
As someone who was sad to see Ramon leave town, I'll also note that Sessions' per minute scoring, passing, rebounding, shooting (55.7% TS) and PER (18.68) are all better than Jennings' numbers, though it's also difficult to ignore the fact that Sessions has never been associated with a team that won more than 34 games. That's certainly not all his fault--not many PGs could have made the Bucks, Wolves, and Cavs winners over the past few years, but I'd also be curious to see how he'd do with real talent surrounding him.
Brockman out (again). Jon Brockman started in Detroit, but last just eleven minutes before reaggravating the left shoulder injury he sustained against Toronto on March 30. What, you thought the Bucks were going to stay healthy in the last week of the season? Why start now?
With Bogut and Brockman on the shelf, Scott Skiles will presumably choose between Drew Gooden and Larry Sanders at the starting center position. Much to my disappointment, Sanders played just 13 minutes in Detroit, so he's my preferred choice to get some much-needed burn in the season's last week.
Hickson stars. The Cavaliers somewhat famously refused to include J.J. Hickson in a potential Amare Stoudemire deal two years ago, which makes it easy to wonder what might have been. Could a Cavs team with Amare have won it all in 2010? If they had, would LeBron have left?
Hickson's uneven form since then has made it even easier to wonder, and his overall numbers this year haven't lived up to the lofty expectations that came with his promising first two seasons. That's been especially true against the Bucks, against whom he's averaging a paltry 2.7 ppg on 22% shooting in three games this year. Still, Hickson has at least been trying to make up for it with a strong finish: 22 ppg and 12.4 rpg in five April games thus far.
JS: Gooden calls season a learning experience
I'm not going to suggest Drew Gooden was the missing piece of the 50-win (or 40-win) puzzle all season long, but since returning from his long layoff he's given at least some evidence for why John Hammond and Scott Skiles actually wanted him last summer. Though his TS% has gone in the tank compared to the last two seasons, his overall numbers still translate into fairly productive numbers and you can see why he's managed to be a useful rotation player on so many good teams. He was miscast as a long-term starter in Milwaukee, but for the time being the Bucks are stuck with him and might as well make the best of it.
"I feel a whole lot better," said Gooden, who missed 28 games in two months before returning for a game at Charlotte on March 28. "Of any time this year, this is the healthiest that I've felt. I feel light on my feet even though I've been out a long time. I'm still rusty. My teammates and my coaches say I'm playing well but I'm rusty. I feel like I'm not all the way there offensively yet. But it'll come."