Fresh off their fifth straight road win, the Bucks return home looking to avoid a fifth straight loss at home -- and they'll have a new, old face on board to help them do it.
Kenyon Martin is expected to make his Bucks debut tonight, though coach Jason Kidd told reporters before the game that Martin would be available on a limited basis. Though 37 and coming off offseason ankle surgery, Martin is eager to prove that he's still got it. From Charles Gardner of the Journal Sentinel:
"It's a great opportunity for me to come out and show people what I'm about," Martin said. "And to be back with J-Kidd, it's a great thing.
"I think I can prove what I'm worth with the minutes I get and the things I bring to the table. I'm looking for more than a 10-day." "I've still got it," Martin said of being able to go above the rim. "I probably can't jump like I did when I was 22, but I still can get off the floor a little bit."
"Whatever they need me to do, whether it's no minutes, some minutes, whatever it is," Martin said. "I'm ready to do whatever. I know the situation coming in."
"They already have certain things established. I'm just trying to come in and fit in and do what I can."
Martin is expected to provide some depth to a Bucks frontcourt that has recently seen improved play from John Henson. Zach Lowe from Grantland (unsurprisingly) wrote a terrific article on Henson's improvement.
Henson has shot 58 percent since coming back, and the Bucks have outscored opponents by nearly eight points per 48 minutes with Henson on the floor in that stretch, per NBA.com. They've been better overall with Henson on the court this season, a reversal from 2013-14, and managed to stick around .500 as their schedule stiffened in mid-December. He's taken to Jason Kidd's amped-up defensive scheme and worked his tail off to repair his bricky free throw stroke. Henson's ceiling looks higher today than it did just a few weeks ago.
He's thriving on offense in almost entirely new ways, which is both encouraging and cause for some concern about how easy it will be to blend Henson into different sorts of lineups. Henson barely posts up anymore; he's just 1-of-9 on shots from the post this season after going 81-of-180 last season, per Synergy Sports. Kidd has turned Henson into what the Bucks wish Sanders would be - a Tyson Chandler/Andre Drummond/Mason Plumlee-style center who sets picks, dives to the rim, dunks lob passes, and sucks defenders away from Milwaukee shooters around the arc.
The improvement of Henson is definitely encouraging, but it will be put to the test tonight against a bulky, hairy Minnesota frontline consisting of
Nikola Pekovic and old friend Miroslav Raduljica, who was recently signed to a 10-day contract by the Wolves.
The Timberwolves come in to Milwaukee riding a 13-game losing streak that would seem to make them well-suited to helping the Bucks get back to winning ways at home. However, the Wolves can be dangerous even if their 5-29 record would suggest otherwise. especially with first overall pick Andrew Wiggins piling up big time scoring numbers for Minnesota's tank.
After a slow start, the 19-year-old Wiggins is settling into a comfort zone, playing big minutes (40 mpg) and scoring 20+ points in five straight games, providing some Wolves fans something to feel good about while Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin all sit out with injuries. The same can't be said of the Bucks and Jabari Parker, whose second regular season matchup with Wiggins was put on ice by the torn ACL he suffered a month ago. That will leave Giannis Antetokounmpo to carry the future all-star torch for the Bucks tonight, with Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton among the Bucks expected to alternate matchups with Wiggins and the much-improved Shabazz Muhammad.
|14/15 NBA Preseason|
|January 9, 2014|
|BMO Harris Bradley Center | Milwaukee, WI|
|FS Wisconsin HD | 620 WTMJ|
|Brandon Knight||PG||Zach LaVine|
|Khris Middleton||SG||Andrew Wiggins|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||SF||Shabazz Muhammad|
|Johnny O'Bryant III||PF||Thad Young|
|Zaza Pachulia||C||Gorgui Dieng|
|2012/13 Advanced Stats|
|94.2 (12th)||Pace||95.8 (6th)|
|103.5 (22nd)||ORtg||102.5 (24th)|
|102.7 (5th)||DRtg||112.7 (29th)|