Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Milwaukee Bucks - Early Season Returns

To put it bluntly, the Bucks have been one of my biggest disappointments in 2010.  Before the season I predicted Milwaukee would put up a 49-33 record.  They are currently muddling around at 5-8.  The good news is that they only have two losses that would be lumped in the "Bad" category for a team that should be challenging for the Central Division title, at Minnesota and at Philadelphia.  But, if they don't start winning quickly they may find themselves in a hole from which they will not be able to dig out.

What have been the Bucks' biggest challenges?  Let's take a look at the advanced stats.

Photo source: compujeramey

Team Stats
Offensive Rating (points per 100 possessions): 99.4 (30th in the NBA) [104.9 in 2009]
Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions): 99.1 (2nd) [103.1 in 2009]
Rating Differential: 0.3 [1.8 in 2009]
Points Scored per Game: 91.4 (30th) [97.7 in 2009]
Points Allowed per Game: 91.1 (1st) [96.0 in 2009]
Pace (possessions per game): 91.2 (22nd) [91.7 in 2009]

Player Stats
(in order of minutes played)

Brandon Jennings
Offensive Rating: 104 (100 in 2009)
Defensive Rating: 100 (104)
PER: 17.0 (14.5)

John Salmons
Offensive Rating: 96 (110)
Defensive Rating: 102 (106)
PER: 10.3 (14.7)

Andrew Bogut
Offensive Rating: 103 (107)
Defensive Rating: 96 (98)
PER: 16.5 (20.7)

Drew Gooden
Offensive Rating: 103 (109)
Defensive Rating: 97 (106)
PER: 16.6 (16.9)

Luc Mbah a Moute
Offensive Rating: 97 (111)
Defensive Rating: 99 (103)
PER: 9.2 (11.8)

Corey Maggette
Offensive Rating: 103 (116)
Defensive Rating: 102 (113)
PER: 15.1 (20.3)

Carlos Delfino
Offensive Rating: 104 (103)
Defensive Rating: 99 (103)
PER: 12.8 (12.9)

Ersan Ilyasova
Offensive Rating: 95 (110)
Defensive Rating: 98 (102)
PER: 11.3 (15.7)

Keyon Dooling
Offensive Rating: 82 (102)
Defensive Rating: 103 (113)
PER: 4.0 (11.6)

Earl Boykins
Offensive Rating: 104 (103)
Defensive Rating: 99 (114)
PER: 16.3 (12.9)

Jon Brockman
Offensive Rating: 107 (124)
Defensive Rating: 100 (110)
PER: 6.3 (12.4)

Looking at the team numbers the problem for the Bucks is clear - it's the offense.  They are currently last in the NBA at 99.4 points per 100 possessions.  They are also the worst shooting team in the NBA at 41.1%.  Keeping them afloat is their solid defense.  They are holding opponents to just 99.1 points per 100 possessions, the second best mark in the NBA.

Second year player Jennings cannot be blamed for the dropoff.  He's improved in all three areas noted above.  He's gone from a -4 differential to a +4 differential, a solid jump.  While still not a deadeye, he's raised his shooting to 39.4% from 37.1% last season.

After a very productive 2009/10 Bogut has dropped off a bit this year.  His shooting has fallen from 52% to 48% and his free throw shooting is an absolutely atrocious 46.3%.  He has maintained his defensive prowess however, letting up only 96 points per 100 possessions.

Gooden has given the Bucks right about what they should have been expecting.  His PER is just down a notch but his defense has benefitted from the emphasis on it in Milwaukee.  He's currently posting the best Defensive Rating of his career.

I'm surprised at how poorly Salmons is playing.  Right now he has the worst Offensive Rating of his nine year career.  After joining the Bucks toward the end of last season he posted a solid 17.6 PER.  That number is way down, to 10.3 through the first 13 games.  The main culprit - his shooting, which has dropped nearly 100 points.  He has been playing through an injury.  Hopefully he can put that behind him and start delivering on a more consistent basis.

Free agent acquisition Maggette is also struggling to provide the boost Milwaukee was hoping for when they signed him.  His PER has fallen 5.2 points from last season.  Like the others, he cannot put the ball through the twine.  At 41% he's shooting worse than in any other year of his career.  His assist percentage is also less than half of what it was in 2009/10.

Delfino started the first seven games before getting hurt.  He has improved his shooting but is down in most every other category despite playing bigger minutes.

Making our way down the rotation, the Bucks have to be disappointed in the production of Mbah a Moute, Ilyasova, Dooling and Brockman. 

How would you rate the Bucks through the first 13 games?  Let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

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