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Milwaukee Bucks Player Awards: Newcomer Of The Year

Beno Udrih proved to be a productive backup for the Milwaukee Bucks, but did he play well enough to win Brew Hoop's Newcomer of the Year award?
Beno Udrih proved to be a productive backup for the Milwaukee Bucks, but did he play well enough to win Brew Hoop's Newcomer of the Year award?

The regular season is over, and the Bucks are in a familiar position. Questions about the future of the roster and the coaching staff are sure to dominate the discussion over the next few weeks as we turn our attention to free-agency and the draft.

We're not quite ready to forget about Milwaukee's 2011-2012 campaign just yet, though. There's still time to draw sweeping conclusions, point out convenient benchmarks, and identify the specific point where everything went horribly, horribly wrong.

The other thing we get to do is hand out player awards! Like a youth rec. soccer team, there are always a plethora of trophies up for grabs, even if the team fell short of your friend's dad's the coach's expectations. So in the interest of brightening everybody's spirits, the Brew Hoop staff has cast our votes for the major player awards among the Bucks' roster. First off is Newcomer of the Year, standing in for rookie of the year.

Note: Rookie of the Year was discarded because Frank, Steve, and Mitchell all voted for Tobias Harris, while I voted three times for Jon Leuer. We couldn't work around the deadlock.

Dan - Mike Dunleavy Jr.

Outside the stars stuck on rookie-scale contracts, you'd be hard-pressed to find a $3.75 million better spent than what the Bucks paid Dunleavy this season. Whether it was their plan from the start or just something they stumbled into, the Bucks morphed into an up-tempo offensive engine this season, and Dunleavy fit in beautifully. His passing kept the offense fluid, his shooting kept the offense spaced, and his size kept the offense...tall. He just looked incredibly comfortable in his role, and flourished accordingly. How great would it be if he were even just 29 years old, instead of 31?

Mitchell - Stephen Jackson

No, really. In my opinion, he was the most important newcomer on the 2011-12 Bucks. In less than half of an already shortened season, he:
  • Uttered some of the best quotes from any players' introduction press conference, including my favorite, "Scared? Go to church."
  • Gave the fans some hope before disappointing on the court
  • Opened the door to some much-needed Scott Skiles scrutiny
  • Was widely regarded as the mentor Brandon Jennings so desperately needed...ultimately proving that any player who we think needs a mentor is (hopefully) not yet a finished product
  • Allowed the Bucks to erase Corey Maggette and John Salmons from the payroll
  • Helped force the franchise give up on Andrew Bogut
  • Indirectly facilitated the acquisitions of Beno Udrih, Tobias Harris, Shaun Livingston, Monta Ellis, and Ekpe Udoh
Few players have done so much in such a short time. Without him, who knows what this team would have been? Salmons and Maggette would still be overpaid while jacking up shots, Bogut would have missed the same amount of games, Mike Dunleavy would have seen less than 10 minutes per game, and Tobias Harris would be offering glimpses of hope to some other franchise.

Frank - Ersan Ilyasova

While Dunleavy's impact was immense--don't forget I'm the self-anointed President of the imaginary Mike Dunleavy Jr. Fan Club--no new player had a bigger impact on the 11/12 Bucks than Ersan Ilyasova. While no one knows where Ilyasova was the first two months of the season (Training in Siberia? Trawling for mackerel in the Bosphorus? An Arby's in Mukwonago?) or how the Bucks acquired him, he simply exploded over the final 37 games of the season. Averaging 16.2 ppg and 9.6 rpg on a rather sensational .532/.488/.815 shooting line--a stunning 62.3% true shooting figure--Ilyasova was clearly the Bucks' best player after the all-star break and will (unfortunately) be a hot commodity in free agency this summer.

You can only imagine how good the Bucks might have been had they been able to pair Ilyasova with Andrew Bogut over the past couple seasons...wait, what's that? Ilyasova was on the roster the last three years? So what the hell happened this year? kidding.

Steve - No Vote, Monta Ellis by default

Steve wasn't able to cast a vote for this particular award, but I think we can safely assume he would have chosen Ellis and most definitely not Ekpe Udoh.

That's what we thought, now give us your votes in the comments!