Although the Milwaukee Bucks suffered their worst loss of the preseason to the Chicago Bulls last Saturday night, you’d hardly know they played given all people are buzzing about is the Michael Carter-Williams for Tony Snell swap that broke shortly after the game concluded. But while that trade is deservedly dominating the conversation, there are still preseason games to play and Milwaukee continues its journey with a match-up against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills tonight.
The Bucks continued their merry-go-round of starting lineups on Saturday night, trotting out Matthew Dellavedova, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Miles Plumlee and Orlando Johnson, whom Kidd graced with superlatives like he “deserves to play.” Giannis and Jabari starred against Chicago’s B-Squad, scoring 14 and 21 respectively in limited minutes, including their usual high-flying dunking acts. Giannis had some of the better passes of the preseason thus far, including a nifty no look to Plumlee as he dove to the rim. Detroit’s lengthy frontcourt should prove a tougher task for the Bucks dynamic duo. Same for Thon Maker, who looked fairly lost in frustratingly short stints against the Bulls and has only attempted two shots (both missed) since his debut in Madison.
With MCW heading down I-94 and Snell out with an ankle sprain, the backcourt rotation beyond Matthew Dellavedova at the moment is Malcolm Brogdon, Jason Terry and Rashad Vaughn. Brogdon and Terry played a majority of the minutes last game with Vaughn out with an ankle injury. Brogdon actually nailed a pair of three-pointers, sporting a release that looked like it acquired some semblance of an arc. Expect his extensive minutes to continue, as his potential contribution to the Bucks is seeming more and more like a necessity rather than a luxury.
Greg Monroe also sat out the last game and is currently listed as questionable for the Pistons game with a foot sprain, so we’ll see whether the Bucks elect to sit him again to get a better look at Plumlee and Henson (and fan the flames of a Twitter trade frenzy). As for Tony Snell, don’t expect to see the newest Buck potentially until the regular season opener.
Tony Snell will be out about a week before he can get back on the court to test the ankle— Sean Highkin (@highkin) October 12, 2016
Detroit is coming off a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers 97-76, sparked in part by former Buck Tobias Harris’ 18 point effort. They sit at 2-2 now this preseason as they continue to adapt to life without Reggie Jackson, who was declared out 6-8 weeks with injuries to his thumb and knee. Despite the absence of their prominent PG, the Pistons apparently took a hard pass on even inquiring about MCW.
Detroit, needing point guard help w/ Reggie Jackson sidelined and knowing Bucks made him very available, did not call about MCW, per source.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) October 16, 2016
That disinterest speaks to MCW’s diminishing value, but coach Stan Van Gundy’s pick and roll heavy offense is predicated on a point guard who can shoot, preventing the defense from going under picks. MCW is many things, but he is not that. Ish Smith is perhaps also not that, but he’s filling the void at the moment. He’s one of several acquisitions this offseason including Wisconsin Badger and Milwaukee Bucks alum Jon Leuer and Twitter’s favorite BFG lookalike Boban Marjanovic.
Keeping rebounding fiend Andre Drummond off the offensive boards will be key for the Bucks front line, something they’ve struggled to do in previous matchups. I’m curious to see whether they match defensive stalwart Stanley Johnson on Giannis or Jabari to start the game. Look for his assignment to potentially change depending on who has the hot hand.
As if the intricacies of Stanley Johnson’s defense wasn’t enough to entice local viewers, there’s also former Marquette University standout Henry Ellenson, whom the Pistons selected with their first-round pick this year. Ellenson had his best game thus far against the Sixers, scoring eight with two 3-pointers.