Not five minutes after raising the question yesterday of how Skiles would manage his logjam on the wings with John Salmons, Carlos Delfino, Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts, a rare visit to BobBoozerJinx @ twitter was greeted with an update from CDR, the Bucks resident Twitter-addict: CDR will miss about a month of the season.
“I went thru hell 2day.Got eye surgery.Lucky though b/c if I were a day or two late I could’ve lost my vision.Cant play hoop for a MONTH. :-(“
And an update:
“Three needles shot under my eye.I was awake the whole time.Shii scared me.”
And an updated update:
“So now I have to lay flat on my back for a week so my eye can heal properly. H/e,I cant do anything hoop wise for 3 weeks. Which kills me…”
“So I refuse to watch any hoop unless the Bucks or the Bulls are playing. B/c watching hoop & not being able to play hoop is torture for me.”
Bad break for CDR, who had lobbied to come to Milwaukee from New Jersey so he could play for a tough, defensive-minded coach like Scott Skiles. It’s also bad news for Bucks and Brandon Jennings faithful who see CDR — not Salmons or Maggette — as Jennings’ running mate of the future. Adding the cat-quick, explosive CDR to the Bucks core simply made more sense than Maggette, who’s never played much D and was a vocal malcontent after Nellie made it clear that rookie Stephen Curry — not Maggette — had to be the focus of the Golden State offense.
But the unfortunate poke in the eye to CDR does allow Skiles to showcase Maggette off the bench without conscience — and Maggette will shoot it without conscience. It’s pretty well understood in Bucks land that Salmons is the Bucks starting shooting guard, for this season anyway, and that Maggette’s best role is to play behind both Salmons and Carlos Delfino, helping the Bucks second unit get to the free throw line, Maggette’s undeniable strength.
Don’t expect Maggette to light it up from 3-point land — he won’t (32 percent career from downtown don’t lie, and is even a little scary considering coach Skiles’ maddening belief in letting guys crank it up from out there as if he doesn’t realize that he’s no longer coaching Ben Gordon). But Maggette has been a 50 percent shooter or better from inside the arc, where Skiles needs to make sure that he stays.
THE LINEUP: Skiles hasn’t announced his starters yet, but Salmons has been practicing at full tilt, so expect the Fish to start in the backcourt with Jennings, with Delfino at small forward. Bogut is ready to go at center, and tonight begins his long road to the 2011 All-Star game.
Power forward? Still an unanswered question at this point, given the match-up problem presented tonight by one David West, New Orleans Hornet All-Star. The natural inclination would be to dog West with a combination of Luc Mbah a Moute and Ersan Ilyasova … but Mbah a Moute is still hobbled with an ankle sprain and might not play.
Skiles may go with Drew Gooden to start the game, a development that bears watching. Skiles has been starting Gooden with Bogut but the Bucks haven’t exactly been winning games in the preseason with Gooden logging big minutes and Mbah a Moute sidelined. I’m suddenly reminded of last season when Skiles started the season with Kurt Thomas as the starting power forward before giving way to Ersan and Luc, who not only earned their PT but won games with Bogut and Jennings until injuries to Bogut and Luc (and the advent of Michael Redd) derailed the Bucks fast start.
I hope Skiles remembers that he has a rising star in Ilyasova, who led Turkeys campaign to the silver medal in this year’s world championships, and just might be the solution to the Bucks jinx at the power forward position
HARDWOOD PAROXYSM’s Bucks preview is a good read but there’s nary a mention of Ilyasova despite HP’s otherwise great understanding of BJ and Bogut and the Bucks D.
BREWHOOP has some links to other preseason NBA picks and predictions, some of which are interesting. Note that anybody picking the Bucks lower than 4 in the East hasn’t seen them play much with Bogut anchoring the D, and is either a Bulls fan or works for ESPN (who can forget ESPN’s horrific Bucks-Hawks Game 7 broadcast last spring?). The writers pick the Bucks to win the Central.