Quick reactions to the Milwaukee Bucks-Chicago Bulls preseason game

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Derrick Rose-Brandon Jennings

The biggest stories surrounding the Chicago Bulls this week are 1.) Joakim Noah’s contract extension and 2.) Carlos Boozer’s serious injury. I would like to get your take on the latter because the Milwaukee Bucks are a franchise that leaned on a very injury prone player for so long in Michael Redd. Obviously, that’s not the case anymore, as the Bucks’ are a team with a more balanced scoring and overall production load.

What were your big takeaways from tonight’s preseason game? I know that’s a difficult question to answer since all preseason games are inherently meaningless, but we can start with avoiding injury – obviously, that’s the #1 aim of all these scrimmages. But what else did you notice that meant something out there tonight?

By Jake McCormick and Paul M. Banks

Obviously, this preseason slate means a little more for both of these teams than your usual NBA squad because of the chemistry and cohesion issues at work. When each team has so many pieces, these games mean a little more because it helps give more chances to break everyone in.

Ersan IlyasovaChemistry was a huge theme at Bucks Media Day, but Andrew Bogut pointed out that can be dicated based off each new player’s basketball IQ and the speed with which they catch onto the Scott Skiles system. That was a huge part of the reason the team was able to play at a high level without the Third Team All-NBA center.

“It’s a tough situation when you have a lot of changes to a team,” Bogut said. “Sometimes things take longer than they should, sometimes they take shorter than they should. Most of the guys we brought in have high basketball IQs.”

I’m of the belief that preseason wins and losses are meaningless, but what you see on the court deserves some scrutiny under a general “eye test.” The Milwaukee Bucks 92-83 win last night against the Chicago Bulls is no different.

Both teams had some key players watching from the sideline, including Andrew Bogut, John Salmons, and Corey Maggette for the Bucks, which actually served as a good way to showcase the biggest advantage Milwaukee has over Chicago: depth, which will be tested early and often for the Bulls without Carlos Boozer.

Jon BrockmanMilwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles addressed the minutes problem he’s likely to have this season because of a legitimate 12-man rotation at the Bucks Media Day, and having so many options on any given night means the team can make adjustments as needed without the fear of a huge talent drop off.

What you saw last night was an early display of how advantageous that depth can be, thanks to the newest members of the Bucks family. Four out of the five Milwaukee players that scored in double digits were somewhere else in 2009 (Drew Gooden, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Earl Boykins, and Keyon Dooling), and the other came from the defensive guru Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who impressively hit a few open jumpers he would regularly miss last year.

The Bucks carried over their rebounding presence (42-27) and Skiles-brand defense (the Bulls shot 42.5%) from 2009, but the final stat line also showed a marked improvement from the year before in the areas of shooting percentage (50.8%) and shots from the charity stripe (23-27). Obviously, it’s the first game of the preseason, but if you’re looking for more reasons to trust GM John Hammond’s ability to solve a team’s problems, those should be more than enough.

Obviously Carlos Boozer wasn’t playing, and this is still the preseason, but both the Bucks and Bulls know that it’s important to jump out to a fast start to assert their dominance in the Eastern Conference Central Division. Milwaukee won the first round in a glorified scrimmage, but they did it playing Bucks basketball with quality bench players. As a Bucks fan, I’m not sure you could ask for more.

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  1. paulmbanks says

    How deep you think they’ll go once the season gets going? 9-10 man rotation. or actually reach into the entire 12 man rotation?

  2. jmccormick says

    I think they’ll go 9-10 based on who’s producing and who isn’t. Skiles said it’s a good problem to have, and he seemed to have the magic touch for playing the hot hand off the bench last year. But Brockman, Sanders, the Prince, Ilyasova, Maggette, CDR and Dooling are all talented enough to contribute on a nightly basis; I wouldn’t be surprised if they go 12 man for the sake of matchup mismatches.

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