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Buck-ing the Central trend

by admin on November 28th, 2007

By Guest Blogger, Joe Ruiz

Surprise, surprise… guess who’s leading the Central early on?


Are they playing well? Meh. What’s happening is they’re taking advantage of an obscenely weak division right now. Everybody expected Chicago and Cleveland to do well and Detroit’s always in the mix. But the Bulls have fallen off, Cleveland’s playing ho-hum ball and Detroit is mere percentage points back.

Don’t get me wrong, the Bucks have earned the record they have now. They’re 6-0 at home and have knocked off the Lakers and Mavs, but the problem is they have no defensive identity. They’re in the middle of the pack or bottom third in opponent’s field goal percentage, steal and block differential and rebounding.

Yi’s still struggling a bit. He’s going to play well and have his off-nights, but once he levels off, I think he can turn into a legitimate 13 points - 8 rebounds - 2 blocks player. Of course, that’s not what the Bucks drafted him for and I might have just incurred the wrath of the Chinese media, but unless he bulks up a little more, that’s going to be what you get.

One player I would like to see do better is Charlie Bell. Yeah, he’s still pissed about his contract, I get that, but shooting .300 isn’t going to win you any friends. The Bucks are going to need a scoring threat off the bench — and that’s where you’re going to be, Charlie — in the inevitable case of an injury to Michael Redd or Mo Williams. Do you want Royal Ivey to step in for you, Charlie? If that happens, you’re done.

I’d love to revisit this team in about two weeks. On Saturday, they have the Pistons at home and immediately depart for a 5-game, 7-day West Coast swing which will tell us for certain if this team can contend for a mid-level playoff spot or if they’re going to let the Cavs and Pistons pass them up and fight for an eighth seed.

Joe Ruiz is a freelance sports writer. He writes the women’s basketball blog for b5media at LadiesCourt.com.

Yao vs Yi Mix …

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POSTED IN: Milwaukee Bucks, NBA Basketball, Yi Jianlian

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