Forecasting the 08-09 Bucks

I don’t want to sound too harsh, but the Milwaukee Bucks were bad last year. And by bad, I mean really bad. Their record, 26-56, was just the 7th worst in the NBA but their expected win percentage, based on points scored and points allowed, was 3rd worst. Realizing this, the team made a few significant moves in the offseason. But were these moves the right ones?

Like I did with the Warriors a few days ago, first I’ll analyze the Bucks’ season last year. Following that I’ll go over their offseason moves. To wrap it up, I’ll see how those moves will (not?) address the team’s biggest weaknesses.

In 2007-08, the Bucks ranked 21st in the league in offensive efficiency and dead-last in defensive efficiency. On offense they weren’t particularly good at anything besides crashing the boards. Milwaukee rebounded 30% of its misses, good for third best in the league. Defensively, they actually weren’t much worse than average in terms of rebounding, fouling, and causing turnovers. However, they allowed a ghastly 52.4% effective field goal percentage, highest in the NBA.

Key Additions
Richard Jefferson – Ranked 149th (slightly above average) in 07-08 Composite Score
Joe Alexander – Rookie
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute – Rookie
Tyronn Lue – Ranked 260th in 07-08 Composite Score
Malik Allen – Ranked 249th in 07-08 Composite Score
Francisco Elson – Ranked 316th in 07-08 Composite Score
Luke Ridnour – Ranked 220th in 07-08 Composite Score
Adrian Griffin – Ranked 251st in 06-07 Composite Score

Key Losses
Yi Jianlian – Ranked 202nd in 07-08 Composite Score
Bobby Simmons – Ranked 293rd in 07-08 Composite Score
Mo Williams – Ranked 140th in 07-08 Composite Score
Desmond Mason – Ranked 147th in 07-08 Composite Score

A flurry of movement, but as you can see, not a lot of highly-ranked players there. Jefferson is the biggest name, but his numbers are mediocre because of his poor defense. Unfortunately for the Bucks, defense is exactly what they need, so the move is questionable. Yi did not have a great rookie season but it wasn’t a train wreck either. Surprisingly, he was one of the few players on the Bucks with a positive Defensive Composite Score. Losing Simmons was addition by subtraction.

The Bucks made a couple of free agent signings, and none of them made sense. Lue, Allen, and Elson are all veterans who won’t help the Bucks very much. And, wouldn’t you know it, they’re not very good at defense either.

The final big move was the Mo Williams trade, and I’m not a big fan of that either. Williams may be bad at defense, but Ridnour is no better. Williams has the edge offensively. Don’t forget that the Bucks also gave up Mason, who’s a solid player, and received Griffin, another pretty-much-useless veteran.

In conclusion, I am not a fan of the Bucks moves whatsoever. The first big trade was ok but did not do anything to solve the team’s biggest weaknesses, and the second trade was just plain bad. The free agent signings were a waste. Andrew Bogut’s a good player and the team has some other good young players, but don’t expect things to get any better in 2008-09.

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