JS: Jared Dudley will give Bucks his best shot
Jared Dudley's first visit to Milwaukee following last week's trade offered up no real surprises.
Dudley's always had a rep as a good locker room guy, so it's to be expected that he would arrive in good spirits and say the right things--even if his comments last summer made it clear that he would probably prefer to still be in Southern California ((like basically every other NBA player). But hey, the trade happened and it's time for the 29-year-old to make the best of it. So what are Dudley's expectations after battling injuries and a down (though still respectable) shooting year for the Clippers?
"I always think when it comes to shooting, a lot of it's mental," Dudley said. "I don't see that being a problem here this year.
"I think I'll be able to get looks. Parker will be able to help people out. If it's starting, coming off the bench, whatever I can do to help the team, I'm willing to do.
"It's a new start and I'll be ready to go in training camp."
For more on Dudley, check out his Bucks.com Q&A.
FIBA World Cup 2014: Greece eases past Croatia 76-65
Two days after his big performance against Puerto Rico, Giannis Antetokounmpo had to settle for a more peripheral role in Greece's latest win, scoring just two points on 1/3 shooting (both misses from three) to go with four boards and an assist in 12 minutes. But predictably his lone basket was a memorable one--a two-handed slam off a nice off-ball cut in the fourth quarter:
Giannis finishes up group play today against Argentina at 3 pm CT--stream it live at WatchESPN.com
Hoop365: Why Jabari Parker Might Struggle Initially
Though he's still just 19, Jabari Parker seems to be everyone's default pick to snag rookie of the year honors. And that's cool--rookie of the year favorites tend to be damn good players. But Andrew Unterberger writes that the "most ready" tag probably shouldn't be confused with Jabari looking like a star right off the bat, or for that matter making the Bucks a much better team right away:
Ultimately, I think Jabari will continue to struggle with his shot against the size and speed of NBA defenses, and I'd bet his shooting percentage lands somewhere in the low 40′s for next season, while he'd be lucky to land in the low 30′s for his three-point stroke. With his ability to get to the line and Milwaukee's lack of other offensive options, he could still average a point total in the high teens-Carmelo Anthony, the player Jabari's most often compared to, also shot poorly his rookie year (44% from two, 32% from three), but still averaged 21 points a game, largely because he landed in the top ten of the league in FTAs. But if he continues to turn the ball over like this, while posting an assist rate like he had at Duke, it's hard to imagine him posting a PER much above league average.
Personally I'm a bit torn on what to expect. On the one hand he should see major minutes and have every opportunity to put up shots and be an offensive focal point--a luxury few rookies have. But he's still a 19-year-old without a minute of NBA experience, and the list of guys who have put up 15 ppg on even 53% true shooting is actually quite short. While Jabari is unquestionably skilled, remember that even Kevin Durant had his growing pains at the same age--even if he did crack 20 ppg, the 51.9% true shooting and 15.8 PER he logged as a rookie in Seattle is a long way from the superstar he is now. And we haven't even talked about Jabari's defense, which will almost certainly be an issue as a rookie.
So maybe Jabari can come in and pump in 18-20 ppg with solid efficiency right off the bat, but falling short of that shouldn't be considered a huge disappointment, nor should attaining those numbers be confused for immediate stardom.
Bucks.com: Lineup possibilities
Alex Boeder ponders what Jason Kidd's lineup might look like on opening night, with the short answer being "who knows?" The biggest x-factor for me might be Ersan Ilyasova. Can he beat out Parker for the starting PF spot? Is he even on the team opening night? And if he is, will we see the prime Ersan of late 12/13 and 11/12, or last year's, hobbled, Hobo Ersan? Meanwhile, the shooting guard position competition might be the most wide open: basically any of the Bucks' guards could nominally serve as the Bucks' starting "shooting" guard, and that's before considering the possibility that Giannis, Middleton or even Dudley could slot in as an oversized 2 as well.
And one lineup that isn't mentioned in Alex's piece might be the one I most wish could work: some combination that could involve Khris Middleton, Giannis and Jabari sharing the 2-3-4 positions with Knight at the point and Sanders patrolling the paint.