Last season the Bucks offense was no juggernaut — they finished 23rd in the league in offensive efficiency — but especially after the addition of John Salmons midseason they scored enough points so that, paired with one of the best defenses in the league, they were a threat.
This season, the Bucks defense is even better than last year. But the offense…
Ugh. Milwaukee is 29th in efficiency and it is primarily because they are shooting the ball terribly — they are dead last in the league whether you go with the 41 percent field goal percentage or the 44.5 percent eFG% (accounting for the additional boost of three pointers). Salmons has been off and coach Scott Skiles has been looking for answers.
He may have found one recently and Skiles made it official today (via the Journal Sentinel’s Charles Gardner on twitter) that he will keep his smaller lineup going by starting Chris Douglas-Roberts and Ersan Ilyasova. That lineup includes Brandon Jennings, Salmons (who may be snapping out of his slump) and Andrew Bogut. (Salmons and Bogut are game time decisions tonight due to injuries.)
That lineup has shown promise in the last couple games and variations of it have worked well in limited minutes, Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated’s Point Forward noticed and researched. Douglas-Roberts has really boosted the Bucks so long as he is not put next to Corey Maggette, at which time the defensive problems far outweigh any boost in offense.
It something to watch, because the Bucks don’t have to be good on offense, they just have to not be bad. And they may be figuring out how to do that.
DeAndre Ayton will go No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. Marvin Bagley III probably goes second to Sacramento (but that’s not a lock).
After that, things get wide open in the 2018 NBA Draft. Teams value different players at very different levels this year, and there are going to be a number of trades.
Which makes putting together a mock draft for this year more random than a roulette wheel. Not that it stopped me. Here is my final mock draft for the 14 lottery picks. I present it without much confidence, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.
The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.
And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.
He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.
Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.
If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.
Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.
Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.
Young, via TMZ:
“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”
Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:
Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.
The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.
Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.
So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.
Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.