Wolves at Bucks
7:30 pm CST
The injury ravaged Wolves are in Milwaukee tonight to face off against the injury ravaged Bucks in an inter-conference match up of the Upper Midwest.
The Bucks enter at 19-18 but without several players expected to have big roles for the team this year: rookie Jabari Parker, center Larry Sanders, and forward Ersan Ilyasova are all out tonight, and due to their lack of bodies up front, they have signed Kenyon Martin to a ten day contract, waiving Nate Wolters to make room.
The Bucks have been playing pretty good defense this season--holding opponents to a below average efg% and forcing the 2nd most turnovers in the league, which has kept them afloat in the Eastern Conference, as they have had trouble scoring the ball. While the force a lot of turnovers, they also commit a ton, with the 2nd highest TO% in the NBA. They also struggle rebounding the ball and don't draw a lot of fouls.
The result is a roughly .500 team, which sounds pretty good from where I'm sitting, and after last season's meltdown, probably pretty good from where Bucks fans are sitting as well. Jason Kidd has emerged as a seemingly pretty good coach after his one year in Brooklyn came to an abrupt end, and even in the absence of Parker, Kidd is getting good play from a couple of young players that look to be part of the future in Milwaukee.
Brandon Knight, acquired from the Pistons for Brandon Jennings in an exchange of disappointing point guards, is having his best season as a pro, averaging career highs in nearly everything, both counting stats and efficiency percentages. He's shooting it better from everywhere than he ever has, and is piling up rebounds, assists, and steals with frequency.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has also taken a major step forward this year. He's not taking many threes this season, but is making his two point shots much more efficiently than he did as a rookie, is playing excellent defense, and basically doing a little bit of everything on the court for the Bucks. It will be interesting to see who they put him on to start the game--he's likely to cause problems for whoever he's guarding.
The Wolves come in on a 13 game losing streak, and the availability of Mo Williams is in doubt, leaving the team with essentially zero point guards. Despite this, the Wolves added Miroslav Raduljica, a center (to be fair, also a need) to the roster yesterday. They don't seem concerned about the fact that they have no active point guards for reasons that make little sense to me. Focusing on next year is one thing, not being able to field a representative team, especially when you have a couple of dime-a-dozen forwards sitting around not doing much who could be jettisoned for someone who can, you know, dribble and maybe pass the ball...ach. Oh well.
Would like to see something in the way of defense tonight, but that's a big ask for this crew. Would also like to see Andrew Wiggins strike Christian Laettner from the team record book by posting his 6th straight 20 point game, which would be a Wolves rookie record. After I wrote so glowingly about him earlier, however, he'll probably go 1 for 16 and turn it over a half dozen times. Cause I'm like that.
Our blogging buddies are over at Brew Hoop. Be excellent.
No no and no.
Enjoy the game. Chat here. Go Wolves.