After making the playoffs for first time in what seemed
to be an eternity, the Bucks are looking for improvement in their second year with George
Karl as the coach. During the early part of last season, the Bucks were playing well
enough to challenge for the Central Division crown. However, due to Terrell Brandon's
desire to test the free agency market this summer, the Bucks were forced into making some
roster moves. In a three way deal with Minnesota and New Jersey, the Bucks traded Brandon
to the wolves and received Sam Cassell and Chris Gatling from the Nets. They also shipped
off Brandon's disgruntled buddy, Tyrone Hill, and Jerald Honeycutt to the Sixers for Tim
Thomas and Scott Williams. After this major overhaul, the Bucks were without a healthy
point guard, due to Cassell's serious ankle injury. After a couple of ten day contracts,
the Bucks signed Haywoode Workman for the rest of the year. Due to his solid play, the
Bucks were able to remain a playoff team. Due to injuries and losing their last regular
season game to the Nets, the Bucks limped into the playoffs as the seventh seed. The Bucks
battled the Pacers hard, but Indiana was able to expose the Bucks weak inside game, in
winning the series.
This is easily the weakest position on the team. Ervin
Johnson is the only true center who got minutes last year. He is a decent rebounder and
defender, with an offensive game. Robert Traylor, a natural power forward, began to see a
lot more minutes at center as the season progressed. He is an adequate center in Karl's
small ball lineup. After having a solid season, Traylor must improve his inside scoring
and learn how to stay out of foul trouble. If he continues to play center, foul trouble
will be his biggest concern.
The Bucks are overloaded at this postion. They have four
guys with four as their best position on the team. Tim Thomas may become one of the most
exciting players the Bucks have ever had. He is not a true post player, but can be put at
almost any position. He has the ability to shoot the three and penetrate to create a shot.
This is the type of player the Bucks need for their transition into more of a fullcourt
team. Coming out of high school, he was rated higher than Kobe Bryant. While not at the
all-star level, Thomas should hopefully have a breakthrough season next year. Chris
Gatling and Armen Gilliam have basically the same game. Karl had a difficult time getting
each enough minutes. Both are able to score and will play hard. One of these players
should be used as trade bait.
Glenn Robinson is a pure scorer, that has improved his
overall game drastically over the last few years. He is no longer a defensive liability
and has become less prone to turnovers. After having several game winning shots, he has
become the Bucks go to guy during crunch time. After being hampered by a knee injury late
last season, Robinson will try and lead the Bucks to their second straight playoff
appearance. Michael Curry is the Bucks best defensive player. Karl loves the intensity
that he plays with. Even though he comes off the bench, he was a co-captain.
This is the Bucks strongest position. Ray Allen has shown
with Robinson, they can be a deadly scoring duo. While averaging 16 ppg, he needs to be
more consistent with his shooting. He is by no means a streaky shooter, but he has too
many off nights. Though during the playoffs, he had to carry the Bucks, because of
Robinson's injury. In game two he had a Reggie Milleresque performance, hitting basically
all his shots, mostly threes, in the second half, and a last second three pointer to send
the game into overtime. Dell Curry is a deadly shooter, that really strengthened the Bucks
bench. He had a great year, but struggled in the playoffs with back problems. Vinny del
Negro also had a good year that was spoiled with an injury at the end of the season.
Sam Cassell was only able to play a few games during the
regular season and the playoffs. He should stabilize the Bucks point guard position, when
he comes back healthy next year. His scoring ability and intensity should help make their
offense more high powered. Haywoode Workman saved the Bucks season, with his solid,
hardnosed play. Coming off a major injury and a long time away from the NBA, Workman came
out of nowhere to start for the Bucks during the last half of the season.
The Bucks want to sign their three top free agents, Dell
Curry, Michael Curry, and Haywoode Workman. All three players are needed for the Bucks to
have a strong bench. Another area that the Bucks need to address is their inside game.
They ranked almost last in rebounding, and they have no real inside scoring threat.
Rashard Griffith, a second round selection of the Bucks several years ago, has been
playing center for a team in Turkey. He was the league MVP and lead his team to the
championship. He has finally expressed an interest to play in the NBA, and may be the
answer to their problems at center. The Bucks need to trade either Chris Gatling or Armen
Gilliam, because their games are too similar and there are not enough minutes for the both
of them. If possible package one of them in a deal to move up in this draft or get a
future pick. If the Bucks do not move up in this draft, they should pick the best player
available. The Bucks will probably not have a lot of r! oom on the roster for a second
rounder, so they could select a foreign player and let him develop for a few years.