JS: Jennings not focused on contract
We'll probably spend a fair bit of time this summer debating the merits, length and value of a hypothetical Brandon Jennings contract extension, and with good reason. Jennings remains the Bucks' most marketable asset, and his future will go a long ways to determining which direction the Bucks take over the next couple years. But as much as we might talk about it, Charles Gardner reports that Jennings is less concerned:
"I will let (agent) Bill Duffy handle that," Jennings said from Los Angeles on Friday. "That's what he does. I will leave it up to Bill Duffy and (Bucks general manager) John Hammond. It's really not my department."
It's the safe, PC thing to say of course, but that's not a bad thing. Jennings could have played up the importance of the Bucks "committing" to him, teeing up for an awkward training camp if/when the two sides don't emerge with a new deal over the summer. But he didn't (yet?), and that makes things easier for everyone.
As it stands, I'm skeptical the two sides will find enough common ground to come away with a new deal ahead of camp, and honestly that might be for the best. As John Hammond noted during his post-season press conference, the Bucks can't back themselves into a corner with Jennings or anyone else, and with Jennings' restricted free agency still a year away they don't have to either.
Woelfel: Skiles should move on
Gery Woelfel provides some additional color to the non-firing of Scott Skiles and offers up his own solution: send him to Orlando! There's a lot of (debatable) meat to this piece, so let's start at the top:
An NBA official told me the other day that Skiles was so convinced he was toast in Beer Town that he cleaned out his office after the season, a season that was an unmitigated disaster, a season that marked the third time in Skiles’ four seasons with the Bucks that they didn’t make the playoffs.
As you may recall, the cleanliness of Skiles' office was one of the bases for a RealGM rumor suggesting the former Magic point guard's firing was imminent, so Woelfel's story provides some theoretical corroboration of how close Skiles was to taking his ball and going home. Instead, Skiles himself confirmed later that same day he was going to return, providing an awkward cap to a week filled with rumors and innuendo about both the Bucks and Skiles looking for escape routes. To make things even more warm and fuzzy, Herb Kohl confirmed later that he was not presently looking to extend Skiles and Hammond beyond next season. And so here we are.Make no mistake, I get the "make 'em earn it" philosophy, but let's not act as though it's a good position for the franchise or Skiles. All it really means is that the Bucks will fight like hell to make the playoffs next year, while it's anyone's guess what they'll do in the long term. Discuss.
As for Woelfel's description of Skiles' year as an "unmitigated disaster"...well, I think we need to dial it down a couple notches. Clearly the Bucks were gunning for a playoff spot and it didn't happen; that's a failure that Skiles has taken responsibility for. My guess is that Woelfel's affinity for Andrew Bogut and Skiles' reported role in his departure is a big part of the story here, and it's fine to make that part of the calculus.
But let's also be realistic about the end result: winning 31 games and finishing 9th with a roster that's not actually better than the teams that finished ahead of them doesn't really seem to qualify as underachieving either. Were the Bucks a more talented team than Orlando, Atlanta, Philly, Boston or the Knicks this year? And while we're on that topic, which of those teams are they going to supplant to make the playoffs next year? Everyone seems to still enjoy dogging the East, but at this point it's just a lazy regurgitation of what used to be true.
And finally, Skiles to Orlando? I know nothing of Richard Devos' man-crush on Skiles, but I think most people would find Skiles an interesting successor to Stan Van Gundy. Who knows, Skiles and Dwight Howard could get along famously, but...yeah.
Bucks.com: Passing is the New Pastime
Alex Boeder reviews how the Bucks got their passing groove back.
JS: Bucks hope to hit jackpot
Some interesting commentary from John Hammond and Jeff Weltman on their draft successes and failures to date. Thought Hammond's comment on dealing Jodie Meeks was especially interesting:
"We would love to have a piece like Jodie Meeks," Hammond said. "And I've said this to Jodie personally. You learn a lesson and you don't move people like Jodie Meeks.
"Not only the player but the man that he is. And the one thing I'll say about Tobias is the same thing. We have a tremendous man in Tobias, and not only that, but I think he's going to turn out to be a tremendous player in this league."
SBNation.com: 2009 NBA Draft Grades
Tom Ziller has had his red marker out as he grades each teams' drafts since 2007; let's just the Bucks came away looking a fair bit better in 2009 than they did in 2008 and 2007. As for 2010...meh. Steve has more on this tomorrow.
NBA.com: Heat's James top vote-getter among All-Defensive Team picks
Aside from moonlighting as a podcaster over at TrueHoop, Luc Mbah a Moute also received one 2nd-Team vote for the NBA's All-Defensive team. Beer me.
The Basketball Jones: 2012 NBA Draft: Eastern Conference needs
Dennis Velasco offers up his team-by-team review of needs heading into the draft. My wish list: a big man, preferably a center who can rebound and do other things we like big men to do (block shots, scoring around the hoop) and/or an athletic wing who can shoot/score. And if one of them can be a franchise-changing superstar, that would be just great. Thanks!