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John Hammond and Scott Skiles reflect, CBA posturing continues, '71 title team remembered

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Bucks.com: Skiles/Hammond conference call
John Hammond and Scott Skiles answered questions from season ticket-holders last week, including some more pointed queries regarding Corey Maggette/Chris Douglas-Roberts not playing (shortening the rotation!), what the Bucks are looking for in the draft (BPA...or a shooter, a backup big...any human being with some semblance of athleticism), and why Bogut hasn't been able to add a jumper (no summers to work on his game).

It is a bit interesting that Bogut's jumper has been a recurring theme over the past few weeks, namely because we've spent the last five years waiting for it to reappear (after its rumored existence at Utah). Maybe the sight of Dwight Howard suddenly banking in jumpers at regular intervals this season has something to do with it? Whatever the case, color me a skeptic until further notice, though to be honest I'm less worried about Bogut hitting jumpers than making a vaguely respectable percentage of his free throws. Adding a jump shot didn't help Howard in that regard--remarkably, he's been between 58.6% and 59.6% from the line for six straight seasons--but Bogut almost has to improve after slumping to a career-worst 44% this past season.   

FS Wisconsin: Bucks finish out of the money
This is a few weeks old, but I thought it was an interesting look into how the FS Wisconsin crew views the Bucks' needs. Tony Smith echoed Hammond's sentiments from the conference call: 

"They need a back up center and a shooter," Smith said. "They are way too small when Bogut goes out for rest of if he's out extended periods. A 6-10 power forward wouldn't hurt either, but the center position is key.  

"And a shooter is key as well -- not only because of how the offense has struggled this year. I think they need fewer players but the right role players to go with a solid starting five."

I can understand the thinking behind the last line--the Bucks have about eight guys who you'd be happy to have in the six through nine spots in your rotation, but aside from Bogut and Jennings there's no one on the roster with the look of a potential long-term starter. In case you're curious, "bottom heavy" has never been used to describe an NBA championship roster. That said, I'll stop short of saying the Bucks need fewer decent players, as their depth was a key reason for the ability to stay competitive in spite of all their injury problems.  

Bucks.com: A Need for Speed
Really digging the series of pieces Bucks.com is running this week on the '71 Championship squad. Here's a snippet from Wayne Embry describing his role in bringing the Big O to Milwaukee.

"Wes came to Boston for a tennis tournament. I was director of recreation there at the time, and he came by my house where we had a long visit. During that visit, he asked me if I’d be interested in coming back to Milwaukee in the front office. I didn’t have to think about that very long before accepting the opportunity. Toward the end of the conversation, he kind of casually mentioned that he had a chance of making a trade for Oscar Robertson, and what did I think? I didn’t hesitate. I said, ‘If you get Oscar Robertson, you win a championship.’ And he said, ‘Could you give him a call?’"

Bucksketball: The Centers
Jeremy reviews the good (Bogut's defense), bad (Brockman and Sanders), and ugly (Bogut's offense) of the Bucks' center position.

We're Bucked: Brandon Jennings - Two roads diverged
Any article that compares the Bucks' offense to a 1989 Chrysler LeBaron is a winner in my book. Well played, Jake McCormick.

HOOPSWORLD.com: Coon talks collective bargaining
Some really good stuff from CBA guru Larry Coon on a wide range of issues--Dan and I couldn't help but throw in a couple questions ourselves. Unfortunately the lockout talk just won't go away, as the owners' latest proposal didn't impress the union.

Ford: Marcus Morris moving up, New Jersey workout looking disappointing
There was a lot of talk about the big workout in New Jersey this weekend bringing together all the top prospects for the first time, but right now it's looking like a complete bust. As Chad Ford writes, none of the lottery talents will be there, and Kentucky's pro day was similarly disappointing after Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, and company did little more than light drills. Interestingly, Jones is rumored to be strongly considering returning to school despite his status as a likely lottery pick. For more on Jones, check out DX's latest video scouting report.  

NBA.comStatsCube: The Right Kind of Turnover
Interesting piece by John Schuhmann on the importance of differentiating between dead-ball versus live-ball turnovers.  And wouldn't you know it, the Bucks were one of the best in the league in minimizing live-ball turnovers. SMALL VICTORIES.