NBA Preview: Faces change, but Bucks' endgame likely same
OCT 07, 2013 1:40a ET
Meet the Bucks
Superstars rarely join the Milwaukee Bucks on their own. So the Bucks are usually left to try to make the most of the talent within.
Well, the Bucks are at it again. After being swept by the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs, Bucks GM John Hammond decided to replace the backcourt, pick up a couple of hustling veterans and try to win the old-fashioned way.
Oh, Hammond also hired a new coach -- a no-nonsense guy in Larry Drew, who always seemed to get the most out of his Atlanta Hawks teams.
On the floor, gone are the flash and dash (and occasional ball-hogging) of guards Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings.
In their place are volume-shooter O.J. Mayo and willing distributor Luke Ridnour. Also entering the picture is third-year guard Brandon Knight, who is sort of a combination of both.
Another newcomer, veteran Caron Butler, is likely to nab the starting small forward spot, and swingman Carlos Delfino, yet another newbie, is likely to provide endless energy off the bench. Both could be invaluable in this environment.
Then there are old standbys such as third-year big man Larry Sanders and power forward Ersan Ilyasova. Sanders may be the most gifted all-around guy on the entire roster, a defensive force with developing offensive skills. Meanwhile, Ilyasova is capable of huge nights offensively and occasionally shows an interest in defense.
So what the Bucks have here is a bunch of guys who understand their roles and are fairly consistent, with a coach who appears to specialize in such situations.
Hardly a recipe for winning titles. But not awful, either.
Coach: Larry Drew (fourth season, 128-102)
Last season: 38-44, lost to Miami in first round of playoffs.
Projected starters: C Larry Sanders; PF Ersan Ilyasova; SF Caron Butler; SG O.J. Mayo; PG Luke Ridnour.
Key reserves: G Brandon Knight ; SF Carlos Delfino; SG Gary Neal; PF John Henson; C Zaza Pachulia; SG Giannis Antetokounmpo (r); PF Ekpe Udoh.
New faces: Drew, Butler, Mayo, Ridnour, Knight, Delfino, Neal, Antetokounmpo, PG Nate Wolters (r), C Miroslav Raduljica (r).
Outlook: Are the Bucks better than they were last year? Probably not. Are they worse? Probably not, either. Will they be highly entertaining? Um, no. But they will fight, they will scratch, they will make you pay if you fail to respect them. That’s something, right?
FOX Sports: Bucks home.
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