NBA Preview: 2013-2014 Season: Milwaukee Bucks
Last Season: 38-44 (Finished 8th in the Eastern Conference)
Key Losses: SG J.J. Redick, SF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, PG Bradon Jennings, SF Mike Dunleavy and PG Monta Ellis
Notable Free Agent Signings: PG Brandon Knight, SG Gary Neal, C Zaza Pachulia, SG Carlos Delfino, SG O.J. Mayo, and PG Luke Ridnour
The Milwaukee Bucks have certainly had one of the busiest and most puzzling off-seasons in the NBA. The completely revised their roster for the upcoming 2013-2014 season, and they’ve put together a rather unimpressive group of players. They lost their two biggest stars, point guards Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, and now don’t have a player on their roster that is worthy of the “franchise player” label. As the only team in the NBA to make the playoffs with a losing record, don’t expect the Bucks to post a winning one this year, or make the play-offs either.
The loss of Ellis and Jennings could have been seen as a blessing by some Bucks fans. While they were Milwaukee’s two highest scorers at 19.2 and 17.5 ppg, respectively, they needed close to 34 shots to get it. It’s never a good sign when you have two players taking more than a third of all your team’s shots. They hogged the ball too much, took too many long two-pointers, and failed to come through in crunch time. Like I said, the loss of Ellis and Jennings wouldn’t have been the end of the world for Bucks fans. However, the loss of Redick and Dunleavy hurts much more. Here, you had two elite three-point shooters who hustled hard and passed the ball. They spaced the floor for Ellis and Jennings to go one-on-one with their defenders and were solid team defenders. By losing four of Milwaukee’s top-five scorers, the Bucks front office took a huge gamble on whether or not the new look Bucks can generate enough chemistry at training camp to sufficiently replace those players. Milwaukee’s defence also took a big hit with the departure of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Once in the conversation for best perimeter defender in the league, Mbah a Moute’s absence will free up opposing players and ultimately increase the amount of points the Bucks concede in a game. Yikes.
So how did the Bucks replace their lost assets? Let’s take a look.
Brandon Knight: A highly touted prospect coming into Detroit from Kentucky, Knight showed a lot of promise during his first year as a Piston, but his shooting numbers across the board took a dip this past season. He has a tendency to turn the ball over (and get viciously dunked on), although his passing has gotten better. He is a 21-year old second year player so it’s too early to predict how Knight’s NBA career will transition over the years. Still, I don’t think the Bucks needed him.