Monday, October 10, 2005

Offseason Overview: Milwaukee Bucks

That’s a whole lot of money for Michael Redd and Bobby Simmons. It’s the way of the financial landscape in the NBA, but it doesn’t change the reality that the Bucks spent a combined $137 million on two nice – maybe even very nice – players. But no one will mistake either of them for great players. The addition of Andrew Bogut and the likely return of T.J. Ford are both positive developments, but this is still a team a very long ways from winning a playoff series.

The Stud: Michael Redd, SG
Just because he’s the stud on this team, don’t think he should be one of the studs on your team. If Redd is one of your top four players, your team is in trouble. He just doesn’t hit enough 3s. I don’t know what happened since the 2002-2003 season when Redd hit 2.2 3pg in just 28.2 mpg. Since then his minutes have been 36.8 and 38.0, but his 3pg have been 1.6 and 1.4. That’s not going to cut it for a guy who is well below average in every other category except points and FT%. He’s simply a mid-round pick.

The Support: Bobby Simmons, GF
Now that’s a well-timed breakout season. A guy who couldn’t sniff the court for brutal Wizards teams a few years ago parlays a nice 75 games into $47 million. The best way to reward those who forked over that cash probably isn’t to get arrested for sexual assault – even if it is “just” fourth degree – before playing a single minute. Assuming this doesn’t linger into the season, Simmons should have every opportunity to match last season’s numbers. It’s always risky to bank on a player who posts across the board career highs in a contract season then gets his fat contract, so don’t go completely nuts. But he brings a little bit of everything to the table with blocks being his only truly weak category. He should actually probably be picked slightly ahead of Redd.

The Supporting Support: Andrew Bogut, C
Predicting what rookies will do is always one of the toughest parts of fantasy forecasting. Bogut was a monster on the boards while at Utah, and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to having to deal with players who are much more athletic. He shouldn’t be counted on to block a whole lot of shots; if one of the great college shot blockers in recent memory, Emeka Okafor, could only tally 1.7 bpg in his rookie season, expecting Bogut to even match that would be wishful thinking. Like Okafor, Bogut was seen as a polished big man, perhaps lacking superstar upside. If Bogut could match Okafor’s 15 and 11, there would likely be no complaints. I would probably take the under on both of those. Bogut shot 62% his senior season … Okafor shot 60% in the Big East and saw that translate to 44.7% in his rookie year. So don’t expect huge things there. He should be an OK second center, not much more. Unless he is. Damn rookies.

The Sleeper: Dan Gadzuric, C
If you are a big man, you will get paid. Gadzuric’s six year, $36 million contract raised lots of eyebrows, but then again, it’s the same deal that Etan Thomas and Mark Blount signed last year. That’s the going rate for serviceable big men. But count me in the camp that believes Gadzuric can be more than serviceable, especially for fantasy purposes. Simply put, the man is a rebound and block machine. He ranked second in the league in rebounds per minute and 18th in the league in blocks per minute. He’s also a career 52.5% shooter. He’s never really received large amounts of playing time and lots of that is his own fault – he commits fouls by the bushel. Bogut will take over the starting center spot, so Gadzuric should see an even more reduced role … or will he? Joe Smith is penciled in as the starting PF, but he’s Joe Smith. You know exactly what you’ll get from him, and the Bucks don’t really know that with Gadzuric, so they should think about playing Bogut and Gadzuric together, as John Hollinger has suggested. Basically, if Gadzuric can be on the court for 30 minutes, he will be deserving of a roster spot in all leagues.

The Slacker: T.J. Ford, PG
This is what happens when you have a two-man operation. BV just picked Ford as one of his sleepers for this season. I see no reason for this. First off, Ford missed an entire season, which saps his development, forgetting any lingering injury issues for a moment. Well, that was a nice moment, now how about those lingering injury issues? Coming out of college, lots of people were concerned that since Ford was so small and played such an up-tempo style, he would be prone to injury. And that’s exactly what happened. And then there’s his performance. As a rookie he shot 38% from the field and averaged just 0.1 3pg. Yes, the 6.5 apg in just 27 minutes was quite impressive, and despite his small stature he’s actually a decent rebounder and he gets his share of steals. But with his injury past and especially with the fact that Maurice Williams is still around – and really, Williams last year was about as good as we could expect Ford to be this year – Ford shouldn’t be worth much. Since you can never have enough point guards, he’s surely worth a late flyer, but don’t count on him as one of your top options.


Anonymous Sumo said...

So you guys aren't concerned about D.Mason cutting into Simmons's playing time?? He averaged 36.2 mpg last year and he bulked up and is reportedly 235 now. One other resource I went to puts Simmons / Mason down as 2 players to avoid, and in a 14 team roto draft of a very informed forum (TalentedMrRoto), Redd went in the 4th round after Okafor, Odom, Ilgauskas, and before SAR, Jo.Howard, Gordon, and Terry. I took Simmons in the 7th round after S.Jackson,Bogut, and M.James, and before M.Miller, Ridnour, and Gooden.

12:21 PM  
Blogger bv said...

look at it this way. simmons had plenty of suitors, all willing to pay big money, and he chose milwaukee, a team that isn't exactly ready to compete for a championship. you'd better believe that he wouldn't have chosen them without getting a some unspoken guarantees regarding playing time.

2:39 PM  
Blogger DM said...

I could see Desmond cutting into Joe Smith's time, actually. Let's not forget the small ball rage that was sweeping the NBA the last couple months of last season. What's stopping Milwaukee from using Redd/Mason/Simmons at the 2-3-4, especially with a bulked up Mason and a long, lean Simmons. I said to be careful of Simmons since he did just establish career highs across the board in a contract year, but I'd still feel comfortable with him in the 5th round, which is about where I'd take Redd, too.

5:50 PM  

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