The Bucks Could Sniff The Playoffs

As we mentioned, the Bucks were the real winners in the draft’s only mega-deal, combining with Charlotte and Sacramento in an exchange that netted them Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, Shaun Livingston and the No. 19 pick, Tobias Harris. They flushed out some dead weight (Corey Maggette, John Salmons), players who were supposed to take them to the next level last year, but ended up pairing to destroy the offense and dampen expectations.

Whenever the lockout does end, Milwaukee figures to be in much better position to try to make the playoffs.

Coach Scott Skiles told the media following the deal that he can’t wait. Bucksketball.com writes:

“If you really dissect our offensive woes,” said Scott Skiles when meeting with the media after the draft, “our inability to make, first of all, the easy pass and then the more difficult passes … Stephen Jackson’s always been able to put the ball on the floor and make plays. Beno’s (Udrih) been able to do that, Shaun Livingston has great vision. So those three guys create offense for other people and draw attention.”

…he continued:

“One of the areas (we wanted to improve) is our ability around the rim,” Skiles said. “It put so much pressure on our perimeter shooting, our inability to finish. And both of those guys (Jackson and Udrih) are finishing type players. And the numbers show that. We always kind of come back to, if we shoot a higher percentage around the rim, get some dunks, get some easy baskets a lot of other teams get, then you don’t have a tendency to overreact to a missed three.”

Now apparently, Jackson isn’t exactly enamored with Milwaukee. He’s 33, coming off his worst season since 2007 and doesn’t want to move again. But he’s the key to the deal, the playing-equivalent of Skiles’ intensity and grit. If he accepts the transition and embraces the Bucks – you figure he will. Jackson has too much pride to not compete and go hard every night – that gives Milwaukee a core of Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut. Not bad.

They strengthened their bench and backup guard play. They added toughness and a playmaker outside of Jennings. They dropped a couple of talents who just weren’t fitting in their lineup and did it while still finding decent value in the draft. And if Bogut returns healthy, they can make a run at the playoffs.

What do you think of Milwaukee’s moves? Can they make the playoffs next year?

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