It's more of a fantasy overview, but a decent article. It's long but worth the read.
Milwaukee, an Algonquin term meaning “the good land,” certainly had several reasons to feel good about landing the top pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, Andrew Bogut. Bogut put together a solid rookie campaign, averaging 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on 53 percent shooting from the floor. They also had to feel good about the continuing improvement of star shooting guard Michael Redd and his career high 25.4 points per game. The 27-year old All-Star has increased his scoring average in each of his first six seasons. Bogut and Redd gave the 40-42 Bucks a reason to get excited about the future of the franchise.
With Charlie Villanueva now in Milwaukee, things should open up down low for Bogut.
(Tom Pidgeon/NBAE/Getty Images)
First year coach Terry Stotts undoubtedly had a fair amount of talent around him to begin the 2005-06 season. The question remained, however, would young point guard T.J. Ford be able to remain healthy for the entire season after missing all of the 2004-05 season? Ford answered that question by playing in 72 games and posting 12.2 points, 6.6 assists per game and finished the season averaging 1.44 steals per contest. Another piece to this playoff team was center Jamaal Magloire, who the Bucks brought in prior to the season via trade with the Hornets. Jamaal put up a solid season holding post in the paint, averaging nearly a double-double per night (9.2 points per game and 9.5 rebounds). To round off their summer acquisitions, Milwaukee brought in the 2004-05 Most Improved Player, Bobby Simmons, to play small forward. They hoped Simmons would bring his versatility and athleticism to the rotation. Bobby’s year, however, was rather disappointing as he decreased his season averages in nearly every major offensive and defensive category.
While the Bucks managed to make the playoffs as the eighth seed in the East, they felt that there were several changes that needed to be made; changes that would compliment the young franchise core of Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd. One major move was trading away point guard T.J. Ford to the Toronto Raptors for 2005-06 All-Rookie First Team member, Charlie Villanueva. They also added depth by trading away Jamaal Magloire to the Portland Trail Blazers for back-up point guard Steve Blake, big man Brian Skinner, and 7’3” project Ha Seung-Jin. Ruben Patterson was also brought in from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Joe Smith. The goal for the off-season was to build depth around a young nucleus of players that now includes three potential All-Stars in Redd, Bogut and Villanueva.
Steve Blake, PG
Lynn Greer, PG
David Noel, SF
Ha Seung-Jin, C
Ruben Patterson, SF
Brian Skinner, PF
Charlie Villanueva, PF
T.J. Ford, PG
Toni Kukoc, SF
Jamaal Magloire, C
Joe Smith, PF
Jiri Welsch, SG
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP:
C – Andrew Bogut
PF – Charlie Villanueva
SF – Bobby Simmons
SG – Michael Redd
PG – Maurice Williams
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN 2006
The 2006-07 Bucks certainly have talent on their roster. They have one of the best shooters in the game in Michael Redd, a young seven-foot Australian center with a ton of talent in Andrew Bogut and a second-year player who put up 48 points against the Bucks last year in Charlie Villanueva. All three players have a tremendous amount of potential and are worthy of substantial roles on any fantasy team.
The Charlie Villanueva trade should prove to be beneficial to one player in particular: Andrew Bogut. Villanueva has nice range from outside and should help stretch the defense leaving Andrew Bogut open to play more one-on-one down in the low-post. Villanueva made 70 three-pointers last season, which is impressive for a 6’11” power forward. Last year when Magloire and Bogut were on the court at the same time, teams were clogging the middle because the duo struggled from the beyond the arc. Villanueva’s range could be beneficial to Bogut, and I look for his numbers to increase as the defense begins to extend to the three-point line if the shots are falling.
This season, the Bucks will return Maurice “Mo” Williams to the starting point guard role he once called his own. With the return of T.J. Ford last year and a battle with an ankle injury, Mo Williams spent some time on the bench as a backup just one year after he started 80 games for the Bucks. In his new role, Mo Williams still managed to have a fine season averaging 12.1 points in only 26.4 minutes per game. The Bucks obviously have a substantial amount of faith in Mo running the point since they traded away a relatively healthy T.J. Ford and slotted Williams right into the starting role. If he can continue to improve at the point guard position, you could see five legitimate fantasy options in the Bucks starting five.
KEY BENCH POSITIONS / POSITION BATTLES
While it was mentioned earlier that Maurice Williams will be starting at the point guard position, Milwaukee did however, bring in back-up Steve Blake to add depth to the situation. Blake, coming off the finest NBA season of his young career, could give Maurice Williams a battle for minutes due to his extremely low turnover rate. Blake ranked third in NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.69). This could be a key ingredient as both Blake and Williams fight for minutes. Both Blake and Williams each averaged 4.5 and 4.0 assists per game last season, respectively. The addition of Blake helped to make the Ford trade possible, but Milwaukee probably would not have made the move had they not also seen 27-year old Charlie Bell perform admirably in Ford’s absence late in the 2005-06 season. Bell came out of nowhere to post 11.4 points with 2.8 assists and about a steal and two three-pointers per game after the All-Star break. In particular, Bell’s March – when Ford missed time to injury – was quite impressive. Averaging 12.1 points, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.1 threes in 15 March games, Bell will also compete for minutes in the Milwaukee backcourt. The Bucks have a bunch of scoring options, so in this case, the point guard who can run the offense and keep the team’s turnover rate down could wind up being the one who comes up with the title as the starting point guard.
The small forward position could also be up for grabs. Currently, Bobby Simmons holds the position; however, the hustle and fierce competitive nature of Ruben Patterson should not go unnoticed. Patterson, in his 26 games with the Nuggets last season, averaged 13.2 points per game, 1.31 steals and shot at an impressive 54 percent from the field. Getting him out of Portland and into a better environment may have been a good thing for Patterson. On the other hand, Bobby Simmons came off his finest season (2004-05) and managed to disappoint many in Milwaukee in 2005-06. Bobby Simmons watched his season averages in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and field goal percentage all drop last season. This may be a position battle worth keeping an eye on as the season goes on. Patterson definitely has the ability to earn more playing time at Bobby Simmons’ expense.
PLAYERS WE LOVE
Of course, the easy answer here is Michael Redd. Redd is one of the best pure shooters in the game, and last season posted a career-high with 25.4 points per game, while making 163 three-pointers and shooting 87 percent from the free-throw line. The constant improvement from Redd since his rookie season in 2000-01 bodes well for all Michael Redd fantasy owners. Redd not only has improved his scoring, but his assists (2.9) and rebounds (4.3) are also beneficial aspects of his fantasy value.
Andrew Bogut is another player who should have plenty of fantasy value with a good amount of upside. Only in his second year, Bogut averaged 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in just 28.6 minutes per game as a rookie. As mentioned earlier, the addition of Charlie Villanueva will help spread the defense and give Bogut more one-on-one posting match-ups down low. Another sign that Bogut is improving is the fact that he led the Australian National Team in scoring (12.8) and rebounding (6.2) this summer in the FIBA World Championship. At 21 years old, Bogut has a lot of potential and should be among the top at a scarce center position.
Coming into his rookie season Charlie Villanueva was labeled as a “lazy” defender, while some critics even said that he lacked the “heart” to play in the NBA. However, in his first season as a pro, Charlie put a lot of his critics to rest when he averaged 13.0 points and pulled down 6.4 rebounds per game. He seemed to show enough “heart” to put up 48 points in a game against the Bucks and at times looked like a dominant force on both sides of the court. The talent is obviously there, and Charlie can prove to be a steal for the Bucks and any fantasy owner who drafts him.
PLAYERS TO AVOID
Dan Gadzuric did nothing last year to earn his $6 million. Playing only 12 minutes per game, Gadzuric had his worst season of his four-year career. Gadzuric was signed to an extension by the Bucks to grab rebounds and act as a defensive presence in the paint. The result: Gadzuric averaged a career-low 3.1 rebounds and .58 blocks per game. With very little offensive talent and the career-low numbers that he posted last season, Gadzuric is hardly someone you would want on your fantasy roster.
The 2006-07 Bucks have a young starting five that is loaded with potential. Sharp soothing Michael Redd, the eldest of the group at age 27, has already reached All-Star status, and I suspect that both Villanueva and Bogut are on their way to finding a roster spot in an All-Star game or two. Outside of those three, however, what you can expect to see is a battle for minutes at the point guard position between Steve Blake, Mo Williams and Charlie Bell and a worried Bobby Simmons looking over his shoulder trying to keep Ruben Patterson from stealing his playing time. The Bucks are young but certainly have some fantasy pieces that would be nice to land.
I also saw that and had that 'HUH?' expression. How does Magloire leaving hurt ( (gad-ZUR-ick)...UCLA days)? His production was down. Career lows across the board. Was it because of his play? or his limited play?
I hate the per/48 ratio when it comes to starters, but when it's the 2nd unit....it does matter. But here are his pers. I have too much to do to compare him to other back up centers....hopefully you'll help me out.
TJ isn't a big loss. TJ was an exciting player who I thought (and still think) will become a great player in the future. He wasn't great yet though, so the actual on-the-court dropoff won't be very severe. Mo can do almost everything TJ does, plus shoot.