With the lockout likely to linger well into October and perhaps into November, trying to preview the season of 30 teams that might not actually have one seems about as worthwhile as raking leaves on a windy day. But I love raking and the wind only makes it last longer. We here at Razzball have you covered, even if you didn’t want to be covered. That’s love. You’ll appreciate it when you’re older. Look at it this way, the only way any of this stuff can be disproven is if the season starts. So go ahead, NBA, make me a fibber! I dare you. Until then, consider this fantasy basketball gospel. Don’t even bother reading anything else – dem’s all lies. From now until the start of the season, we’re bringing you the 2011 Fantasy Team Previews, which will focus on each team in order to paint a clearer fantasy picture. Who’s starting? Who might surprise you? And who might make you want to hurl yourself off a bridge in a few months. Enjoy! Next up – The Milwaukee Bucks (Or as the Timberwolves call them, “the Timberwolves of the slightly south”).
Gained – Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, Shaun Livingston, Jon Leuer, Tobias Harris
Lost – Corey Maggette, Ersan Ilyasova, Chris Douglas-Roberts (pending finalized Italian contract)
Probable position depth –
PG – Brandon Jennings, Beno Udrih, Shaun Livingston*, Keyon Dooling, Earl Boykins*
SG – Stephen Jackson, Michael Redd*
SF – Carlos Delfino, Tobias Harris, Darington Hobson*
PF – Drew Gooden*, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute*, Jon Leuer
C – Andrew Bogut, Larry Sanders, Jon Brockman
Surprising Team Fact From Last Season – Worst PPG, ORtg and eFG% throughout the league. This might have had something to do with only two of the team’s top seven scorers shooting better than .436 from the field. Welcome to Milwaukee, Stephen Jackson! The team’s terrible offense was particularly disappointing when you consider the Bucks were the only team ranked in the top 10 in DRtg not to make the playoffs … and Milwaukee was ranked fourth!
Number of Top 20 Fantasy Players (par 0-1) – 0
Number of Top 50 Fantasy Players (par 1-2) – 0
Number of Top 75 Fantasy Players (par 2-3) – 3, Bogut, Jackson, Jennings
Number of Top 100 Fantasy Players (par 3-4) – 0
Number of Top 200 Fantasy Players (par 6-7) – 6, Delfino, Gooden, Udrih
3 Concerns Heading Into the Season
1. How much will Bogut’s elbow affect his performance?
Less than it did in 2010, more than it did in 2009. Bogutron recently said his jelly arm would remain gelatinous for the rest of his career. Nothin’ worse than Jell-O that hasn’t set. But the proof’s in the pudding; he led the league in blocks per game and averaged 13/11 despite playing injured all season. He won’t be injured this year, so much as permanently less-than-healthy. That brief window of top 5 center is over, but he’s still a top 75 pick.
2. Does Jennings make a leap as a 22-year-old, or does his value take a hit because of Udrih?
He missed 19 games last season and chopped off his flattop fade, which ranked right below Kevin Love keeping his boyband beard as the worst personal grooming decisions of 2010 basketball. The good news on Jennings is that he improved his game by most accounts, improving from a .371 FG% as a rookie to .390 last season, he stole more, blocked more, scored more, rebounded more, turned the ball over less and got to the line more often. His assists were down and even fell lower than Udrih’s last year (4.8 as compared to 4.9). Fewer than five assist from your PG ain’t good, but neither was Milwaukee’s shooting last season. It would be hard for the Bucks to squander as many of BJ’s assists in 2011 as they did in 2012 and I’d expect a graceful leap from this Buck this season. Udrih can start for at least half the teams in the NBA, including the Bucks, but he won’t be starting as long as Jennings is there. This is Jennings’ team as long as he continues improving.
3. Is it fair to label Stephen Jackson as the most talented player that hurts his teams more than he helps them?
Sure, but to be even fairer, Jackson was in a terrible situation in Charlotte. He’s a natural ball hog on a team that needed him to produce a ton. Ball hogs don’t need to be turned loose, they need to be corralled. So ain’t it lucky that Scott Skiles has one of the biggest lassos in the league? Yes, I think Jackson will butt heads with Skiles (when was the last time Stephen Jackson was happy? I mean, besides last week’s premiere of “Grey’s Anatomy?”), and yes I think Jackson’s counting stats will take a hit on a team with more talent than the Bobcats. But dude turned the ball over more than three times a game last year and shot .411 from the field. Look for him to have an overall better year, as this is the best team he’s played for in years.
Rookie Review! – Tobias Harris (no.17 overall) is only 19 and is too slow to guard quality SFs and too small and light to bang around with PFs. He’s playing behind Carlos Delfino and, at times, Stephen Jackson. Also, imagine how pitiful it’s going to sound when Skiles bellows at a guy named Tobias. There’s no way to watch an adult named Tobias get scolded and maintain complete respect for him. And it’s only worsened if Skiles nicknames him “Toby.” Then there’s Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer. He has a decent shot … not at making this team’s roster (he’s in trouble there). I mean his outside jumper is not the worst thing I’ve ever seen.
Fantasy Disappointment in ’11 – Carlos Delfino. He’s a multi-tooled forward who has fallen farther than he should in previous seasons’ drafts. That being said (and this is where yo know I’m about to say something negative), Square Delfino missed 33 games last year and doesn’t do anything well enough to justify taking him before the 12th round. He has many tools, but they’re all a little rusty.
Biggest Fantasy Contributor in ’11 – Andrew Bogut. This is a tossup. You say Jackson or Jennings, I won’t eat your lunch for it. I might make fun of you for eating only carrot sticks and a Lunchables, but I won’t eat it. I see a better year for all three of these guys, but among them, the biggest improvement should come from Bogut, whom I would have preferred to have owned at the end of last year too.
Deep Sleeper – Beno Udrih. If Jennings gets hurt again, Beno will prevent the stink.