Tag:Milwaukee
Posted on: December 15, 2008 7:00 pm
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Milwaukee Bucks Week 6 & 7 (2-0, 1-3) (3-3)

Its hard being a Bucks Fan...

They now stand at 10-15 and are 12th in the east, only better than Charlotte, Washington and Indiana

For the 1st week of December, the Bucks caught a much needed Lazy schedule and only had to play 2 games, both at home and both against beatable teams - AND THEY WON! Well I did not expect them to lose against the Bulls and Bobcats.

Last week the Bucks took a 3 game west coast road trip and got HAMMERED, losing to the Lakers, Suns and Warriors. Against the Lakers they had a good chance to steal a game. They were comming of of 2 solid wins and could have taken that momentum into LA; But they did NOT. The Lakers played poorly as well - this game was very sloppy. The Lakers did dramatically improve their shooting after the 1st half and the Bucks continued to build a mini ball park with all those bricks the laid.

Against the Suns, Shaq, once again, dominated? Yeah, his disdain for Scott Skiles takes 10 years off of his age. Shaq beat the drum known as the Milwaukee Bucks to the tune of: 35 points, on 14 of 19 shooting, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks all in 34 minutes.

Then the Bucks played the Warriors and got winded. I guess thats becoming a trend for theses back-to-back road games. In the Forth quarter the Warriors just poured it on and the Bucks enjoyed the oncourt seats.

So after getting a 2 day break, the Bucks were able to take care of business at home against the Pacers. Actually, the Bucks stuck their foot up the Pacers @$$. Four players scored 20+ for Milwaukee - Michael Redd lead with 27 pts, Charlie Villanueva dropped 26 pts, off the bench, Richard Jefferson had 20 pts and Andrew Bogut had 20 pts to go along with his 20 reb - yeah a dbl-dbl.

Tonight the Bucks are down in Miami to take on the Heat, who just got thumped by the Grizzlies yesterday. I can say with CONFIDENCE: the Bucks are a solid bet on taking out the Heat. I'm thinking 35 from Redd and 20 from Chuck V, Jefferson will get like 17 and Bogut will have like 17 rebounds... 101-95 Bucks.. ANY TAKERS?

I am thinking the Bucks will be a good sleeper team to Pick, the toughness of their schedule thus far is going unnoticed. Since last Sunday, against the Lakers, until Friday, against the Knicks, the Bucks are on a stretch where they will play 6 of 7 games on the road - with the one home game being against the Pacers last Saturday - which will give them 18 road games out of their first 28 this season! Therefore, if the can hang in there, they can make a late season push - they play 19 of their last 30 games at home.

Here's some Fun Facts

  • the Bucks are the LEAST valuable franchise at $278 Million
  • Only LeBron James and Shaq have scored over 30 points on the Bucks this season
  • the Bucks are 8-1 against teams at or below .500
  • The Bucks STILL lead the league in fouls per game with 25.64
Posted on: December 3, 2008 6:10 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2008 6:14 pm
 

Milwaukee Bucks: Week 5 (0-4)

(sigh) Winless for the week... 7-12 for the season... Last place in the division... only better than the Wizards and Bobcats in the east.... (Sigh)

I can Hardly beleive the Bucks were not able to eek out at least 1 win. I will not beat up on my team though because, the truth is, there is a lot of upside to this Bucks team. We can not deny the impact of the injury to Michael Redd(who returned saturday against the Cavs); the adjusting to a new system under a new coach, Scott Skiles; and the 3 games Andrew Bogut has missed last week, hopefully he will return tonight against the Bulls). All this is compounded with the rather ruthless schedule thus far like: 4 game weeks all of November, playing 10 of 17 games on the road, and a 4 game road trip that ended with a back-to-back with later being a home game against the LeBrons Cavaliers. Excuses, excuses, excuses... Well the schedule will get a tad bit lighter and at least the Bucks will get to play consecutive games at home.

Mil @ Orl
Man this was a heart breaker. I was impressed with Andrew Bogut taking it to Dwight Howard scoring 16 point in the 1st half of play. I was thinking the rest of the crew would step up for the 2nd half but then Bogut went down as well as the Bucks chances for winning this game. Howard went on to pour on 20 second-half points, took over the boards and controled the paint for the duration of the game. Howard played free safety on Ramon Sessions and got to him every time he drove the paint in the second half - thus, 7 points on 3-14 shooting, but seesions did contribute 8 assist, 6 rebounds and 2 steals to circumvent his lack of scoring. We can through in that we already had not Luke Ridnour and no Michael Redd for the game too.

So we lost

Final 108-101

Mil @ ATL
Another possible win. Another attribute to the value of a 7-footer playing solid defense and rebounding the ball. No way does Al Horford go for 21 points,  9 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals, if Bogut plays; But the the Hawks took advantage and fed the ball to the post heavily. Joe Johnson ran decoy all game atempting only 12 shots but dishing out 9 assist by handling the ball and drawing double teams. Mike Bibby hung around the 3 point line all game and when his defender went to help he knocked the shots down - 18 points, hitting four 3 pointers. Marvin WIlliams did the same except he was in the paint and was able to get to the free throw line 10 times and only miss once. Ronald "Flip" Murray ran around, like a chicken withhis head cut off, and put in 16 points.

Despite all that the Bucks still kept it close. Richard Jefferson dropped 25 points - but when you take 20 shots and get to the line 10 times thats kind of expected. Ramon Sessions also was a big contributor, while playing heavy minutes for a limited Ridnour, he dropped 21 points. Charlie Villanueva 19 points were well appreciated.  What was not was his poor defense; I swear everytime Chuck took the bait on those double teams, which puzzles me because its not like he's going to block a shot. Dan Gadzuric earned some of the $6 mil that he's getting this year, and started for thte injured Bogut.

So the Bucks hung in there but did not have the muster to steal this on either...

Final 102-96

Mil @ Det
What a penalty for Allen Iverson not start against the Bucks for missing practice....

"We talkin' about Practice... Practice!, Not a game, not a game... Not a game, but PRAC-TICE"

Anyway, it wasn't like the Pistons were going to need him much. The Bucks are Andrew Bogut-less, Michael Redd-less, and starting a gimpy Luke Ridnour. So, this game was wachable, though, because Iverson did play; Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, and Tayshaun Prince played too; Richard Jefferson shot the ball a lot, got a great dunk, and Sessions drove the lane and made some sweet layups.

AND

DAN GADZURIC earned some of that $6mil he's getting this year and dropped 10 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, swatted 3 shots and was a perfect 4-4 from the freethow line in his 32 minutes of play!

too bad the Bucks lost

Final 107-97

Mil vs Cle
Coach Skiles choose the following starting lineup...

C - Gadzuric
PF - Villanueva
SF - RJ
SG - Sessions
PG - Ridnour

Charlie Bell and Andrew Bogut wer both out with injuries and Michael Redd made his return from his ankle injury. I can Imagine that Luc Richard Mbah a Moute did not start because Skile figured Redd would provide enough scoring from the bench. Thing is, Ben Wallace is going too punk Chuck V at the 4 spot (which he did) and it may have been better to bring in Chuck V against Anderson Varejao to draw some fouls and get to the line (Big Ben has never been foul prone).

The Bucks got Killed on the boards getting out rebounded 53-38. Zydrunas Ilgauskas dropped 23 points and grabbed SEVENTEEN ! (17) rebounds - another testiment to the void of having no Bogut leaves. I mean, Bogut is 6th in the league in rebounding with 10.9 per game. The Bucks never led at any point in this game. At Half time the Bucks were down by ten. Then at the end of the 3rd the got within 5 points. In the 4th they pulled within 2 point twice but anyway they lost.

Fan Story
The real sad thing about this HOME game is that they showed LeBron clips at the Bradley Center before the game started. Then when the Bucks were making a move in the forth quarter there was No cheering, No Rallying, No Chanting. IT WAS PATHETIC. It was nothing like the comeback game against the Wizards earlier this season. For that matter, its not even like what I remember from all the many many many times I went there from elementry to high school; From Terry Cummings and Alvin Robertson; to Todd Day and Eric Murdock; to Glen Robertson and Ray Allen (after that I moved from Milwaukee). I remember being there at the 2000 playoff when Reggie Miller broke out hearts and we lost game 5 at home (back when the 1st rd was only 5 game series); And next year, at game 6 of the ECF, when we pushed Allen Iverson and the 6ers to game 7.

Anyway, those teams equally sucked but we always cheered them on.

LOOKING FORWARD
Tonite we face the Bulls at Home and we need some "get back". They were able to pull one on us during te season opener but not this time. Plus they played last night and the Bucks had 3 days off - they should be able to run them out the Bradley center.The only other game this week is against the Bobcats Friday. The Bucks need these 2 badly becasue Sunday they start a 3 game West Coast Road Trip Starting with the Lakers, then the Suns  and Finihsing up with the Warriors.

Being optimistic the Bucks can use the momentum from the Bulls and Bobcats to possible steal 1 from the Lakers. If we have All our starters for this week we should get at least a 3 game winning streak going

 

Snap and Roll I'm outta control!!!!

Posted on: November 25, 2008 5:33 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2008 1:45 pm
 

Milwaukee Bucks week 4 (2-2) continued...

Since I did not get to fully complete my original post, instead of editing, I'll continue anew...

Mil @ Den
This has to be the worst game by the Bucks, thus far, in the season. I mean, Renaldo Balkman had 10 pts, 2 rebs, 4 blk, 2 stl, was 4-4 ft and 50% from the field in 20 minutes. No one on the Nuggets roster played over 29 minutes, no starter worth mentioning played more than 2 quarters. Good ol' Charlie Bell led the Bucks with 25 points.

I'm pretty sure that in the locker room at half time, when the Bucks wer losing 64-50, Coach Skiles said, "Ok guys, we will not hold them under 100 points, so we have no chance in hell. Charlie, Joe, Ramon this is going to be your half have fun." Then he rested RJ, Bogut, Mbah a Moute for the Jazz (which didnt help).

O yeah the Bucks Lost

Final 114-105

MIL @ UTA
SO... The first quarter the Bucks came out rusty and the Jazz too a 10 point lead after 1, 26-16. Second quarter the Bucks got their second wind and took a 2 point lead at half time, off of a 26-8 run at the end of the half. In the third quarter the Buck held on to the 2-point lead; but after 8 missed shots and 6 turnovers, Old Coach Jerry Sloan knew a winded bunch we he sees one. I guess, knowing that the previous night your opponet played in a mile high altitude help too.

The Jazz came out in the 4th running. Sloan Made frequent sustitutions and ran the Buck ragged for the last 12 minutes of the game. Utah took a 3 point lead with about 5 minutes to play and that was all she wrote. The Bucks only managed to score 8 more points, while the jazz piled on 16 points and got the "W".

Resting the player was a smart move by coach Skiles but with a shallow bench its only a band-aid on a gun shot wound.

Final 105-94

Mil vs NYK
I must say that the Bucks were happy to be playing a short-handed Knicks squad, who like to run. With only 8 players there was not much running and gunning by the Knicks. The Bucks were salivating like a volture over a dead carcass, they knew the Knicks were theirs for the devouring. Charlie Villanueva returned from a "hamstring injury" and was glad to play in his hometown, so he dropped 20 points in 13 minutes. No Buck played over 29 minutes, which means they'll were rested for the Bobcats.

 

Final  104-87

Mil @ Cha
Well, I had to turn away from this game and just kept checking every now and then. This was like watching a group of over-sized high school kids play an all-start game. Nonetheless, the Bucks did hold on for the win. Since there is nothing great, or even merely good, to talk about on this game, I'll mention some good facts.

Did you know

  • The Bucks are 1 of 2 teams that have played 16 games thus far
  • The Bucks are 5th in rebounding for (44.75)  and against (39) as a team
  • The Bucks have the 2nd hight rebound differential (5.75)
  • The Bucks are 5th in turnovers (16.56)
  • The Bucks are NUMBER 1 in fouls with 26.25 fouls per game
  • The Bucks have lost every game where the opposing team has scored over 100 points(except in OT)

Final 79-74

 

 

Posted on: November 24, 2008 2:00 pm
 

Milwaukee Bucks week 4 (2-2)

Again the Bucks have split their 4 games this week and stand at a 7-8 for the season. This week was tough with 3 of 4 games on the road and 3 of 4 teams above .500. Next week will be even tougher as the Bucks are on a 4 game road trip, that started saturday in Charlotte, followed by trips to Orlando(monday), Atlanta(wednesday) and Detroit(friday) and ends the week Saturday in Milwaukee against the Lebrons Cavs.

 

Posted on: November 10, 2008 3:50 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2008 11:03 am
 

Milwaukee Bucks: Week 2 (2-2)

Well, well, well...

    This week there seemed to be a trend developing with the Bucks, start off the 1st quarter great, suck for the 2nd and 3rd quarter, and hope to have enough to battle back in the 4th quarter. Let me say, what a horrible trend to start developing. This week it seems that the Bucks forgot that there is 4 quarters and 48 minutes in the NBA baskletball games because they have only been playing about 20 minutes per game. I cant blame Coach Skiles for this.

   I actually want to commend Skiles. Eventhough the Bucks have no played great, or even decent for that matter, he has kept them at a 50% record for the week (one game below for the season). Also I like that he is playing around with the roster. I do not like the 3 forward line ups he loves to try but he gets an "A" for effort, plus we only have 3 active guards right now so I understand.

  •  Luke Ridnour(9.4pts, 6.2ast, 2.8TO) Ramon Sessions(17.2pts, 6.2ast, 2.8TO)
         The point guard situation, right now, seems to be a coin toss. Coach Skiles is hell bent on giving Ridnour the nod and I can understand why. Ridnour is experienced and has his best seasons in Seattle under a similar system, with a similar SG SF tandem (Ray Allen/Rashard Lewis vs Michael Redd/Richard Jefferson). Plus Skiles needs a scoring option with the second unit and Sessions can be that guy, whereas Ridnour is far from a scorer. They both share the same assist-to-turnover ratio so there is no difference in effeciency. The only noticable difference, right now, is in there scoring ability. As for now, the concensus is that Ridnour will be the starter. Right now they both are averaging slightly over 30 minutes per game and Redd averages about 35 minutes per game. When Redd returns they both will see about a 8-10 minute reduction in playing time because I do not see Charlie Bell playing less that 18-20 minutes per game (Skiles will not bench a guy who makes the money Bell does, $3.3 mil, and he playes 26 minutes per game now).

 

  • CODE REDD - On Sunday, against the Knick Michael Redd went down. Now this has had no effect on the guards, its actually great for them becuase they have seen increased minutes and numbers. Where is does hurt, though, is with the post players, Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva. With no Redd commanding double teams or help defense, teams have been able to collapse the paint. Thus, rendering this pair, for lack of better words, useless scoring options. Over the past 3 games, they have averaged a combined 15 points on 33% shooting - YUCK!

 

  • Joe Alexander(1st rd, 8th pick) - If Redd sits this week then we should see more Joe and he can get big time minutes, if he stays out of foul trouble (8 pts on 3-5 shooting, 2 ast, 1 stl, 2-2 ft% and 5 FOULS in 24 minutes). If he lessens the fouls he can see consistant minutes and he showed flashes against the Suns saturday night. Notable that fast break dunk on a pass from Sessions.
    White men can jump!

 Mil @ NYK
In this game we seen leading scorer Michael Redd go down late in the 3rd quarter with a sprained ankle. This had little outcome on the game because the Bucks we already ahead by 16 points. Redd started the 3rd quarter charge, unfortunatley he went out but Richard Jefferson and Ramon Session hung in there to close the deal. This was a flash of the Bucks capabilities because all the starters scored in double digits, Bogut was the low man with 13 points.

This was also Sessions 2nd start of the season and he was masterful in Ridnour's absence -
18 pts, 7 reb, 8 ast & 3 stl - in a Bucks Win

Final 94-86

Mil vs Was
The Bucks had to battle back from a 14 point, 4th quarter, deficit. They were able to do so on the heels of an unsung hero, Luc Mbah a Moute, who scored 7pts, during a 10-2 Milwaukee Bucks run that got them within 4 points. The game went to overtime and the Bucks were able to steal the game back on our home floor.

Richard Jefferson held it down with 32 pts, 3 reb, 9 ast, 2 stl, & 1 blk, in the overtime win

Final 112-104

Mil @ Bos
In reality you can not expect the Bucks to do much against the defending champs, Celtics, especially with no Michael Redd but they tricked us and had another great 1st quarter. If games were only 12 minutes the Bucks would be the best team in the league. Again this is the Celtics though. Paul Pierce was able to put the clamps on Jefferson. Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins and Leon Powe dominated the frontcourts. Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Eddie House - c'mon Eddie House - yeah even Eddie House was able to severely limit the Bucks back court and force them into multiple turnovers. After the 1st 10 minutes it was not even a game any more.  

BUCKS LOSE no one really worth noting. Chuck V had a double-double, 13 pts 12 reb.

Final 101-89

Mil vs Pho
OMG!, Shaq dominated - 29 pts on 12-16 shooting, 11 reb, & 4 ast  - Charlie Bell was the leading scorer for the first 3 quarters. This was the making for disaster.  Andrew Bogut, Charlie Villanueva and Luke Ridnour were all no shows. Richard Jefferson was a half show.

Bucks got thrashed, looks like Sessions was the only one who came to play - 23 pts, 4 reb, 6 ast, 10 of 14 in freethrows, 0 TO, in 35 min

Final 104-96

Posted on: November 6, 2008 2:05 pm
Edited on: November 6, 2008 2:08 pm
 

Milwaukee Bucks battle back against the Wizards

I must say I was impressed by the resilience the Bucks displayed wednesday night. I also must say that this game should have not been as close as it was, and I point the finger on that to Coach Skiles. Yes, I am overly critical of Coach Skiles because I really dont like him. Anyway, his mistake was at the start of the 2nd quater. After the Buck played a great 1st quarter that ended with a 30-17 lead, Skiles decided to start the 2nd quarter with this lineup...

C - Dan Gadzuric/ Fransico Elson
F - Malik Allen
F - Luc Mbah a Moute
F - Richard Jefferon
G - Ramon Sessions

What is to be expected of this group? Dont blow the lead? Well they did

In the first four minutes, Washington made a run (10 to 2 can-o-whoo-pass) on this lineup, taking the 13 point lead down to 5 pts. That set the tone for Washing to end the half on a 13 to ZERO run and take a 45-39, 6 point, lead in to half time.

So after half time, Skiles realized that a 3 forward lineup was not the way to go. Half way into the 3rd quarter he decided to try a 2 PG lineup, which was masterful...

C - Andrew Bogut/Dan Gadzuric
F - Luc Mbah a Moute
F - Richard Jefferson
G - Ramon Sessions
G - Luke Ridnour

For the remainder of the 3rd quart this lineup kept the Bucks in reach for the comeback. They never got within 9-10 point of the Wizards but they did keep the lead from strecthing past 15 points, which what the Wizards open the 3rd quarter with.

At the beginning of the 4th quarter the Bucks started out looking like the would not have enough in the tank to make a come back. For the first 7-8 minutes the would get the lead under 10 only to have it pushed back to 11-12 points. I was starting to think that this would end up just like the losses to the Bulls and the Raptors

Then, Luc Mbah a Moute scored 7 points, with Richard Jefferson and Andrew Bogut contributing 2 points each,  which capped a 10-2 run and they got within 4 points with the score at 90-86. The Wizards push their lead back up to seven Like a flash the Bucks go on a 10-1 scoring run and take the lead at 98-96. Antawn Jamison gets an acrobatic shot to fall to tie the game and the Buck have the ball with 21 seconds left. Skiles designed a great play...

  • RJ inbounds the ball to Luke Ridnour. Ridnour dribbles the ball to opposite side ine drawing a double team, and RJ comes to the top of the key drawing a defender. Ridnour skip passes all the way to the opposite corner baseline to a wide open Luc Mbah a Moute... WHAT... Luc Mbah a Moute?!?!? He pump fakes, take a dribble step around the insuing defender and has an open 17ft shot.... AND...

We're going to overtime...

The Overtime was all Bucks. They took the fight out of the Wizard when Ridnour stole a pass from DeShawn Stevenson, took off and pass to a cutting Ramon Sessions, who tossed it back to a Streaking Richard Jefferson, and he finished with an emphatic slam and Yelled,

"C'MON LETS GO!!!!!!!!!"

That was RJ 32nd point and you knew the Bucks were not going to let the game slip away...

FINAL 112-104 GO BUCKS GO

Welcome to the Bucks RJ

Posted on: November 4, 2008 6:44 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2008 10:28 am
 

Milwaukee Buck: Week 1 (1-2)

The NBA season finally kicked off and anticipation are high for Milwaukee Bucks fans. We seen some moves made this offseason with a new coach, Scott Skiles, the arrival of another star player, Richard Jefferson, and the exit of Mo Williams and Yi Jianlian. Nonetheless, the Bucks are looking solid with Andrew Bogut showing strides and Charlie Villanueva having something to prove (was chosen over Yi).

Off the bat, I have a major concern with Coach Skiles already. Last year we seen young Ramon Session display flashes of greatness and for some reason he is being benched for Luke Ridnour (who averaged 6.4 pts, 4 ast and only started 5 games last season) and Tyronn Lue (not any better averaging 5.3 pts, 1.4 ast and only 3 starts last season). Last year, we were wondering what the Bucks were going to do the young fella but we didnt thing that the talent should be benched.

Right now I just want to say Sen. Kohl, if Skiles gets too authorian get rid of his (explative), Avery Johnson still needs a job.

Mil @ Chi -
The Bucks got a great showing from Michael Redd(30 pts, hit 4 tre's) but the rest of the team lookin like it was still preseason. Richard Jefferson was sluggish, only had 15pts, didn't get to the charity stripe and shot 25%(lol, c'mon R-Jizzle). Bogut was solid but he has to play more that 25 minutes, thats barely half a game - if he can get 9 pts(on 4 of 4 shooting), 7 reb(3 off. reb), 1 stl and 1 blk in those few minutes - imagine what he can get in 34-36 minutes. I guess I did omit that he got in foul trouble but the Bulls do not have any post players for him to be getting in foul trouble over. Andrew we need to see Mr. Bogut, NOT MR BOGUS!

No Ramon Sessions, I'm highly disappointed; But there was a Dan Gadzuric sighting, 6 points on 3 of 3 shooting, 3 rebounds, an assist and a steal in 15 minutes - earning millions must be hard work, huh Dan?

Oh yeah we lost 108-95

Mil @ Okc -
Party TIme!, The Bucks played the Thunder and whooped that aahskmenomorequestions. Sorry Thunder fans but y'all still have a ways to go. Redd, RJ and Chuck V each dropped a dub(20pts). Charlie Villanueve also grabbed 12 board which got him a double-double (shh, he fouled out too). Bogut stepped up too with 14 points and 7 boards. Good thing the they did play the Thunder because Chuck V and Bogut combined for 11 turnovers, that aint gonna fly against half decent team and we only play them 1 more time this year.

Still no Ramon Session. Coach Skiles theres no strick dress code in the Mil Ok let the young guy play!

WE WON WE SHOT THE BEE-BEE GUN... 98-87

Mil vs Tor-
FINALLY, and a back injury later, Ramon Sessions got to start. The Buck played great too, almost all the starters were in double figures scoring. Michael Redd led, of course, with 19 pts, Chuck V had 16 (hit 2 tre's), Mr. Bogut had 14, Sessions has 12 but Richard "laid an egg" Jefferson scored 9 pts on 3-13 shooting. Thats 23%, I didnt think Jamario Moons defense got that much better.

So the Bucks lost because they tried to have a 3 point contest with the best 3 point shooting team in the league, Redd was 1 of 6 for deep.  This game basically showed that the Bucks have more work to do. This game was very winnable(is that a word) but RJ got outscored by Moon (OMG RJ, Milwaukee is no Jersey/ NY but its not that bad!). All Toronto starters had double figures. Session got out balled by Jose Calderon but it was his 1st game, he still had splinters in his butt.

Final 91-87

After this first week, the Bucks should have been 3-0. The problem in their 2 losses were that they faded at the end of these games. It looks like their conditioning is lacking.

Posted on: October 16, 2008 6:36 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2008 9:24 pm
 

2008-2009 Central Division Preview

This year we hope that the Central Division ascends above the Pistons and Cavaliers battling for supremacy. With a Rejuvination Eastern Conference the Bulls, Bucks and Pacers are teams with great mixtures of youthful talent, veteran leadership and playoff potential. Barring no big injury woe, the Pistons and Cavs will still top this division but the gap is closing and the other three teams will make a push for the 7th and 8th playoff spots.

This is how I see it all falling...

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Thats Right! The Cavs(aka the LeBrons) no doubt have the best player in the league on their team in LeBron James. He is the heart and soul of the Cavs, a leader, and a freak of nature. Two years ago we seem him take a less talented team all the way to the NBA final, pretty much single-handedly. We also know that King James has been begging for help and I think he has gotten those role players that will get the LeBrons, I mean, Cavs over the hump.

At the trading deadline last year we seen a couple of fair acquisitions in Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak. Ben Wallace, though not the player of old (just a player thats getting old) still is able to provide solid foul free defense, grab 8-10 rebound per game and, since no one will be covering him on defense, get a few open looks under the basket. I Dont think there is much to argue on the value of rebounding and defense. Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak are not the starters they hoped for but are the kinds of players King James needs to be surronded by i.e. jump shooters.

This summer the Cavs stole Mo Williams from the Milwaukee Bucks(probably the Bucks way of getting rid of a bad contract by the previous GM). Nonetheless, this was great for the Cavs because the get the PG that Delonte West is not and that Daniel Gibson will never be. Basically they are getting that "Larry Hughes" type of scorer that got them to the Finals in 2007. The difference here, with Williams, will be his consistancy and ability to be the stand-in leader/scorer in case LeBron needs to take a week off (gets injured) - like he was able to do last year for the Bucks in Michael Redd's absence.

 

Looking at the cavs as a whole, the pieces of this puzzle are fitting well. Most importantly they have a "true PG" with Mo WIlliams a piece that been missing for years in Cleveland - and that puts guys like Boobie Gibson, West and Wally on the bench where they belong. Its not that they are bad players but they are one dimensional and a great asset ON THE BENCH. At Center, Zydrudas Ilgauskas is a consistant player in the paint, he's no great shot blocker but he does have a nice mid-range shot (14.5 PPG on his career) and at 7'3, 8-10 RPG is a piece of cake. The one worry is his in ability to play big minutes, he averages less that 30 MPG and he's 33 yrs old, which will put Anderson Varejao and Wallace on the floor together. I dont see a big issue because the Cavs have a lot of shooters on their bench, which means tripple teaming LeBron will be risky. Now I know there will be none believers but thats what the Cavs will count on and that should lead to a nice 1st month record.

 

2. Detroit Pistons   

The Pistons are looking the same in terms of their starting line-up. Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace are a bonafide nucleus for 50+ win season and a trip to the conference finals. This year the same question that has been lating around for 4 years now is still on the gym floor of the Palace - WILL THEY MAKE IT BACK TO THE FINAL. Now I wil not be a party pooper because they is really no reason not to see the Pistons doing what they have been doing for about 7 years now. I do still think that the rise in talent out east will bump them down in the win column but not necessarily from title contention.

Now there was suppose to be a 'shake up' in the Detroit but all we got was a new head coach, Michael Curry, and a big question mark, Kwame Brown. Now I will remain optimistic about Browns production because with Antonit Mcdyess, Jason Maxiell and Amir Johnson, he probably will not see more than 12 MPG. With that said, much will not be asked of Mr. Brown and he'll have an opportunity to ease his way into the Piston system and rotation.

The measure if succes for the Pistons will be the group of young bench players they have - Maxiell, Johnson, Rodney Stuckey and Aaron Afflalo. Last year we got so see promise in all of those young guys, particularly Maxiell and Stuckey, who both had solid playoff performances. The core group of the Piston will need to be able to not play heavy minutes during the regular season in order to make a ligetimate push in the playoffs. So the questions this year will be weather that group can produce with increased minutes and should the load from that group.

I look for the Pistons to be in the Conference Finals once again but I also expect the regular season number to take a dive.

 

3. Milwaukee Bucks

During the off season the Bucks did some very needed retooling with their players and organization. We seen Mo Williams and Yi Jianlian depart, a new GM, a new head coach (former Bulls Coach Scott Skiles) and 2 new starters, Richard Jefferson and Luke Ridnour.

I have High expectation for the new look Bucks. The Bucks picked Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut as the center pieces to build around and added the high flying RJ to the mix. Andrew Bogut was thought to be a 'flop' as a 1st round 1st draft pick but now that has halted with his great stride he made last season. I do not see any reason why that trend does not continue and with Coach Skiles and RJ on the team I see Bogut averaging 10 pts, 10 reb, 2blk and 1steal per game.

Redd and Rj will be the designated scorers on the squad and with Redd chucking them up from deep and RJ slashing teams with be having fits on defense. If you ask me, this Scoring Duo will be second to only Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson but theses two (and team) will play defense.  They both averaged almost 23 ppg last season and that should carry on. Their biggest asset will be that they both are still willing to pass(Redd 3.4 APG RJ 4.2 APG) and that will allow Bogut and Chuck V to get touches and keep opposing defensive honest.

Now Charlie Villanueva we chosen over Yi to stay with the Bucks and he has to prove himself this year. He was distrought over Yi getting the starting nod over him last year. Then went on a tear near the end of the season proving he's more than a 7 foot with a jumper but that has to transcend to this upcoming season. I think the Bucks selected the right player, seeing that they gave up Ford in order to acquire him in 2006 - he will breakout or he will be out.

I truly do not know where to place the Bucks just yet. As we know, Coach Skiles is very regimented(probably why Ramon Sessions is not in the rotation yet) and, as we seen, million dollar babies are sensitive these day but if these are the right players to buy into Skiles system I can see them in the playoffs this season as the 8th seed.

 

4. Indiana Pacers

This is another team that has suffered do to past bad executive decisions. Last year the found faith in Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy Jr and decided to shape a team around them. They also ridded there team of another cancer, Jermaine O'Neal, and got a PG that they are not scared to let play (Jamal Tinsley is not injured). The Pacer did a good job this off season of bringing in other nice young talent like Brandon Rush, Jarret Jack, Roy Hibbert and Maceo Boston.

Expectation for the Pacers are pretty high the season due to how the poured it on late last season. They definately have the talent pool to make a serious push into the playoffs. I do not really know what to expect fromthis group. They have a bunch of jump shooters and will have a field day from downtown - maybe the eastern conference version of last years Warriors. Not saying T.J. Ford is a Baron Davis but he really is the onlt inside scorer they have. SO I expect a lot of drive and kick type plays but hope fully they dont foul Ford too hard and harm that delicate spine of his. Now they have the young Roy Hibber but he will need time to adjust to the league and will not be much of a factor.

One reson not to discount this team is due to the fact that all the roles are filled.

Granger and Dunleavy are a 20-20 scoring duo - Check
TJ Ford is True Point Gurad that can find the open man and score when needed - Check
Jeff Foster and Troy Murphy are solid rebounders who are not afraid to bang in the paint - Check
Rush, Jack, Shawne Williams and Rasho Nesterovic are capable solid bench player - Check


5. Chicago Bulls

As the rest of the both feeder in this division, the Bulls also did som soul checking this off season. Well not really but they did really hit the lottery with the lottery draft pick and selected Point Guard Derrick Rose, 1st round 1st draft pick. Of the bat that calls the beavy of guards they have into question. They still have Kirk Hinrich, who was defensive 1st team 2 years ago. They Still have Larry Hughes and his monsterous contract. Still got Ben Gordon who was recently sign a 1-year deal and Thabo Sefolosa who is one of the few guards in the NBA who can play defense.

I do not have a lot to say on the Bulls because its obvious that they are still in the rebuilding stages. They have Plenty of scorers and Jump shooters the likes of Luol Deng, Andres Nocioni and all their guards. Then you look at their front court and you see yound and very athletic young talents like Joakim Noah, Tyrus Thomas and even Aaron Gray. Nothing is sorted out - but the are deep in the talent pool.

What I expect to see is that the Bulls to use the season to determine who they can use to build around Derrick Rose  -

I know, NO BRAINER!

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com