Tag Archives: David West

All Star Voting: The four Celtics and Dwight Howard blog

I’ll get back to Ray and D-Wade and the Heat … First …

The beleaguered-yet-determined Bucks — what’s left of them — are out west, headed for Denver where who-does-what-now should decide how the lineup shakes up when Bogut is ready to come back to work.   The early returns suggest that Ersan Ilyasova has taken Drew Gooden’s starting power forward job and John Salmons may end up taking a seat soon so that he and the Bucks can figure out what ails him.

The better-than-expected arrival of Chris Douglas-Roberts Saturday and the pending return of Corey Maggette gives the Bucks some options with the Fish, who’s sluggish game thus far has made me miss Charlie Bell.  CD-R in two games has been just what the Bucks have needed — an NBA guard who can hit a shot.   (15 pts per game on excellent 61.1% eff-shooting.)

Ersan Ilyasova in Utah (18 pts on 10 shots, six tough-to-get-in-Utah rebs and three steals) continued to show that when he gets minutes, he produces.  In the 7 games that Ersan has played 25+ minutes, he’s averaging 14.6 ppg and 7.1 rpg, shooting an e-fg rate of 53.2% — that’ll win a few games for the Bucks if he keeps it up. He’s also managed 13 steals, pretty impressive for a power forward.

And no, Ersan’s not riding a six steal game or getting a bump from a 27 pt break-out — he has consistently scored and wreaked havoc on opposing offenses in each of the seven games that Skiles has given him 25+ the minutes.   All evidence suggests that Ersan has recovered from leading Turkey to a silver medal at the 2010 World Championships, and has likewise recovered from the early season benching-by-Skiles that his Turkish heroics earned him back in Milwaukee.

ALL STAR VOTING: This apparent rebooting of the Bucks has given me time to think about the All-Star ballot and mull over what’s been what in the first one-fifth of the season.  Have Lebron and D-Wade really earned a trip to the All-Star game?   Why do the Spurs and Lakers refuse to allow their centers to be listed as centers?   And who’s to stop me from voting four Celtics as the East starters?

On this last question: Nobody.  So I did.  And I probably will again until Lebron James does something truly impressive, like listen to his coach, Erik Spoelstra.  Rajon Rondo is an obvious choice to be the east starter at point guard.  I’ve seen enough Paul Pierce this season to know that he’s still knocking ’em down with clockwork regularity and leading the Celtics in scoring.  Those two selections were easy.

At power forward I would consider voting for Lebron, because the Heat don’t have one now that Udonis Haslem is hurt (note: this wasn’t intended as a knock on Chris Bosh but the word “power” just doesn’t connote the word “Bosh” in my mind.)  And I would consider voting for the Hawks Al Horford if only he were not listed as a center. Anybody who saw Dwight Howard and the Magic pummel the Hawks in four straight in the East semi-finals knows that Al Horford is not a center.  Anybody who watched the Bucks take the Hawks apart earlier this season knows the same — the Hawks don’t let Horford guard Andrew Bogut, instead starting Jason Collins at center against the Bucks.  Horford’s not big enough to tangle with Bogut, Howard, Noah, Lopez, the real centers of the East.

Dwight Howard is the All-Star starter at center, and it’s too bad Bogut hasn’t given Bucks fans a reason to vote for him … yet.  Let’s hope that changes.  Right now, Joakim Noah has the edge to be the backup center to Howard.

That leaves me with Kevin Garnett at power forward.  Sure, he backs away when confronted by guys like Bogut, but he’s still KG — love him, loathe him, he’s at least that — and his Celtics are still the team to beat in the East.  Done.  That’s three Celtics and a maybe for Lebron.  Maybe, but not now.  Did I forget Amar’e Stoudemire?  I forgot Amar””e, though he may be listed as a center, which makes him not only forgettable but irrelevant here.  I seem to have forgotten Chris Bosh, too.  Imagine that.  Bosh has not played like an All-Star in 2010, going back to last season.  (If you watched him in Toronto at the end of last season, you’d have wondered who was leading the Raptors in their bid for the playoffs.)

My shooting guard should be Dwyane Wade, shouldn’t it?  This is usually automatic.  But after two losses to the Celtics in which Ray Allen scored 55 points on him and shot 20 for 36 — see highlight reel above — it’s time to reconsider.  On the season, Ray’s shooting better than any long range gunner has a right to — 56.8% effectively, which takes into account his 44% shooting from Downtown.  Ray’s a weapon, pure and simple.  D-Wade is scoring 21.3 pts per game but it’s been a struggle to get those, and with the weapons the Heat have, his assists shouldn’t be down.  In Atlanta, Joe Jonson has also struggled to be the triple-threat that he was last season.  In Boston, Ray just lets the game come to him.  Easy, nothing but net.

One-fifth of the season done, the Celtics and Magic are leading the East at 12-4.  Punch it in: Four Celtics and Dwight to the 2011 All-Star game.

THE WEST: This is much tougher since I don’t watch the West as much as the East.  But these teams/the NBA (whoever makes the call on the ballot) don’t make it easy to pick a forward, do they?  Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan — two big men who mostly play center — are listed as forwards.  Dirk, West, Carmelo Anthony, what’s the voting fan to do?   At this point in the season, I’m punching in Gasol and New Orleans Bucks-assassin David West but that could change.  Dirk, carrying the Mavs and dropping the occasional 4o — deserve a vote.

The West guards: Kobe, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Brandon Roy, Kevin Durant … After Deron Williams‘ shredding of the Bucks last night, I went with Deron.  This brought to mind CP3’s expert game management in the Hornets two wins over the Bucks, so I gave the nod to Chris Paul, in recognition that the NBA is a better place with CP3 in it.   I then immediately thought of Kobe’s 30-point game in Milwaukee and how Brandon Roy’s Blazers handed the Bucks arses to them, also in Milwaukee.  Good thing Durant missed his game in Brewtown.  I may have to vote again.

Yao doesn’t need my vote at center, but he’s the only center on the ballot for the West.  There’s Haywood in Dallas, but he doesn’t start.  Tyson Chandler anyone?  Didn’t see him on the ballot.  Yao, even in his part time role, is out indefinitely with a bone spur.  Nene Hilario?

C’mon. Don’t make me vote for Chris Kaman.  At last check, Kaman says he doesn’t want “to be a hindrance” to the young Clippers. The West has not All-Star worthy center on the ballot, so I picked Yao, figuring it was the fair thing to do because he won’t play anyway and that’ll open up a spot for a deserving forward who plays center  — which will then open up a forward spot, which will help ensure that somebody like David West isn’t snubbed.  See how this works — or does it?

I’ll probably have to vote again tomorrow to see how all this settles.

Can the Bucks get a do-over?

John Salmons looked like he needed another week (or two) of pre-season.  Same for Corey Maggette, who seemed confused on defense (“Defense? What’s that coach?)  The spacing and ball movement on offense was reminiscent of some of the worst days of the Michael Redd-Terry Stotts period.

The Bucks, still a work in progress, ugly and obvious, after dropping Wednesday’s opener 95-91 in New Orleans, would do well to pick up a win in Minnesota tonight and reset the season at home against the Bobcats Saturday.

GM John Hammond’s newcomers — Drew Gooden, Maggette and Keyon Dooling — have some work to do, and they would be wise to get to it ASAP.  Coach Scott Skiles‘ patience won’t last much longer.  Defensive ace Luc Mbah a Moute and bruising forward Jon Brockman are set to return in Minnesota, and Ersan Ilyasova will not be relegated to 15 minutes of playing time often — and probably not for some time.

Maggette does warrant a pass due to his lack of a preseason, and Gooden was productive in his minutes (15 pts, 11 rebs).  But Gooden — who did have a full preseason — failed time and time again to get a hand in David Wells‘ face.  That’s the kind of defense that gets on Skile’s nerves and won’t be tolerated on a Skiles team.  Just ask Michael Redd.

The Bucks core — plus Salmons — was a winner.  It’s too early to say that GM Hammond did too much this off-season, too early to be aggravated that Hammond and the Bucks are marketing Maggette and Gooden to Bucks fans as part of a winning formula.  Yes, it’s early … but no — the Bucks team that played in New Orleans Wednesday was no winner.

Bright spots

Carlos Delfino (19 pts) – never looked better.  Good spacing, solid D, ball movement, great teamwork with Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings.  The Bucks core knows what it’s doing, nevermind the newcomers.

Andrew Bogut:  The free throw line is only 15 feet away and 50 percent from the floor isn’t quite good enough, big man.  The Bucks will need Bogut to be more efficient offensively. But in every other regard, it was great to see the Bucks center back on the court.  He was in control of the paint all night (15 boards), and Emeka Okafor (0 points) didn’t get free for a single shot the entire game.

Brandon Jennings: Watching Jennings play D — often successfully — against Chris Paul was more fun than watching him run the Bucks tired-looking offense. It’s too bad the Hornets are in the West and BJ gets only one more crack at CP3 (next Saturday). That the Bucks were even in the game was a credit to Jennings, who found Delfino’s hot hand time and time again in the 4th quarter.  If BJ’s sophomore season is a campaign to prove to the world that he’s the real deal, he’s off to a pretty good start.

Chris Douglas-Roberts out for a month

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…”

And finally:

“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.”

http://twitter.com/cdouglasroberts

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.