When failing to put a team on the court kills your season

Before the Bucks headed West two weeks ago for a five game road trip, we looked at the league leader boards, some advanced stats and other basketball geek fodder, and found some good things to write about after a small sample.

Two weeks later, there’s little good to write about, as nearly every Buck but an improved Brandon Jennings has either been injured or inconsistent or worse.  The Bucks’ vaunted Top 5 defense has gone to pot and now rates 16th, allowing one point more than the league average of 102.6 points per 100 possessions The Bucks, a team notoriously good at protecting the defensive glass, now ranks near the bottom with a 70.8% defensive rebounding rate.

Bucks center Andrew Bogut has not played well or even rebounded up to his standards (15.5% rebound rate, AB?) and, well, now he’s not playing at all after suffering a concussion against the Pistons on Thursday.  Carlos Delfino and Stephen Jackson have played well in spots.  In some stretches, they’ve been horrendous.

Remember when this team was good?  Remember when Scott Skiles was good?   Some even considered him “brilliant but evil.”

That was long ago, in another time and place and galaxy, in that long-ago age of Chicago Bulls basketball that didn’t include Derrick Rose.

For the 4-and-7 Bucks,”when we were good” was less than two years ago.   There’s not a blogger in the Bucks-o-sphere who can capture the essence of all that’s gone wrong since then.   As constructed, the Milwaukee Bucks are either a mess waiting for an upsurge remniscent of 2010 …

Or they’re just a mess that, for the second year in a row, was not ready to begin the season.

A wise man recently said:  “Waiting for Bogut has become like Waiting for Godot.”

Note:  The Bucks have played the 22nd toughest, or 9th easiest schedule in the league.  This was not the part of the schedule where they could afford to go 4-and-7.

11 thoughts on “When failing to put a team on the court kills your season

  1. Kevin

    I remember when Sid had tendinitis and he missed a lot of games. Don’t like this at all.
    What a win this would be tomorrow. But that has as much chance as Brockman scoring 20…

  2. J.D. Mo. Post author

    No word on when Luc will back as of today, so I’m assuming that we’re again without Luc and Bogut for the Sixers-Nuggets back-to-back.

  3. Kevin

    Luc will probably start. Whoever comes in for him will depend on what the team needs.
    The Bucks got killed on the glass against Sacramento and I feared the worst against the Clippers, but they actually held their own that game. Playing in Dallas without Bogut was another disaster. So it depends on the opponent and having players healthy.

  4. Cody

    Great stuff, finding balance and consistency would do wonders for the buck. And like you said if Skiles can’t manage the PF position now how is he going to once Mbah a Moute comes back?

  5. J.D. Mo. Post author

    So if we’re getting 46% combined from Gooden and Ilyasova and only 33% from Sanders and Leuer, I think we see that it’s probably not a good idea to play Sanders and Leuer together …
    And that the better rebounder and defender – Ersan – could solve this problem simply by hitting more of his shots and getting his turnover rate down a bit.
    We can say the same for Gooden …

  6. J.D. Mo. Post author

    Greg Monroe went off on Bogut and Leuer – 32 pts and 16 boards. But the Bucks were able to pull even on the glass (35-35 in a slow-paced game) thanks to Leuer and Ilyasova getting seven offensive boards. Still, the Bucks need to do better on the defensive glass.
    Overall Bucks defensive rebounding rates:
    Bogut – 25.6 (below his standard of 27+)
    Ilyasova – 24.1 (better than his 2010 season)
    Gooden – 22.3 (his career average)
    Sanders – 16.9 (needs to improve)
    Brockman – 16.9 (needs to improve)
    Leuer – 16.0 (not a typo – it’s really this low)
    Harris – 14.4
    Delfino – 14.1
    Mbah a Moute career – 15.6 (outstanding for a player who has guarded so many perimeter players).

    I think it’s on Skiles to find a better balance and more consistency with the Ilyasova-Leuer-Gooden rotation. Even with Bogut and Moute out, the coach has managed to mismanage his three bigs, not including Sanders.

  7. Cody

    Just going off the last game from recent memory that Bogut played against the pistons I clearly remember him getting out rebounded and out hustled by Detroit (only 4 rebounds in 34min). In that game it just seemed like he was content with standing in one place and using his height and length to try and get rebounds, he didn’t go and get them.

  8. Kevin

    The Bucks have won every game that Bogut has played except one. He never was graceful on offense, the main challenge is keeping him in the lineup.
    The rebounding can be attributed to all the small lineups, Ersan’s ineffectiveness and missing Luc. The main problem is dreadful offense, as usual. Our missed shots and sluggish turnovers lead to more points in transition for the opposing team. Turnovers were especially a large factor in the pre Skiles years when the team could score but couldn’t stop anyone.

  9. J.D. Mo. Post author

    I keep waiting for Bogut to step up and surprise us, and wasn’t that supposed to happen at the start of the season, his arm finally repaired? I can’t help but look at the rebounding rates for Bogut and the rest of the Bucks front line and wonder what happened to these guys. The Bucks in the Skiles era have been a good rebounding team. Even last season, with all of the concussions and left foot injuries and Bogut’s bad arm, the Bucks were in the Top 10.

    To be fair, Bogut’s 25.6% defensive rebounding rate is high enough to be Top 10 if he could manage to qualify for the leader board — which he doesn’t. In fact, none of the Bucks big men qualify for the NBA leader boards. Ilyasova, Gooden, Leuer and Sanders have all been healthy, so the culprit is the inconsistent playing time Skiles gives them.
    The lack of a consistent rotation is apparently not helping any of them, not even Leuer, whose defensive rebounding rate is very poor for a power forward.

  10. Cody

    Yep, waiting on Bogut is what we always seem to do every year, his body just isn’t meant for the hard court. Other then his defensive presence everything else this year has been average: scoring especially around the rim, shooting %, and rebounding. Once he comes back from the concussion I hope he becomes more consistent

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