If there’s one positive thing you should take from the Milwaukee Bucks preseason finale loss to the Luke Ridnours Minnesota Timberwolves, it should be this: Corey Maggette, even playing at less than 80 percent, will carry this team to the charity stripe.
By Jake McCormick
“He looked good out there,” coach Scott Skiles said. “He moved around well, did a good job defensively. I thought he played well.”
Corey Maggette made his official Milwaukee Bucks debut at the 7:16 mark in the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and fifteen seconds later, Maggette drew an off-the-ball foul. Later, entering the game at the 5:17 mark in the third quarter, it took Maggette 39 seconds to get to the line.
“My rhythm is getting to the foul line as well,” Maggette said. “My game is attacking the basket. I wanted to see if I was able to do that and feel comfortable.”
Maggette was collecting fouls like they were Pokemon, at one point tallying 8 free throws in six minutes on his way to a 17-20 night at the line while just attempting two shots (and missing both). His five fouls were indicative of the rust to be expected out of a player making his debut in the NBA preseason finale, but he showed little problems offensively making contact and moving on his ankle.
“I was just trying to attack, and put my ankle through situations I would do during the regular season,” Maggette said. “Right now, this was a great step going forward.”
The 2009-10 Milwaukee Bucks averaged 20.4 free throws a game, good enough for 29th in the NBA. In his first 13:55 minutes as a Milwaukee Buck, Corey Maggette drew 12 total fouls for 20 free throws while testing his surgically repaired ankle’s ability to hold up under his normal playing style. With a line like that, Bucks fans are allowed to get at least a little over-anxious at the prospect of seeing a fully healthy Corey Maggette playing 25-30 minutes a night over the course of 82 games.
Scott Skiles was quick to point out that Maggette’s progress on the court is part of the process that will ensure he stays healthy over the long haul of the full NBA regular season, but overall it was a good step forward for Maggette and the team as a whole.
“This is most he’s done now in months, so we’ll see how he reacts to it tomorrow,” Skiles said. “You couldn’t tell from looking at him; he moved around the floor really well.”
After a debut like that, disregarding the Milwaukee Bucks’ overall sloppy play against an inferior team, it’s safe to say that the Bucks are going to get exactly what they paid for in Corey Maggette, and all indications are that he’ll be ready to contribute on Opening Night against New Orleans on Wednesday, October 27.