Today, we’re continuing our league wide preview with the Milwaukee Bucks. And after the Bucks previews, we’ll get our first look at some Lakers training camp links (finally!). Enjoy:
From Frank Madden, BrewHoop: What Significant Moves were made during the off-season? Where to begin? Before the draft, John Hammond surprised many by picking up free throw-magnet Corey Maggette for the throwaway price of Charlie Bell and Gadzuric, addressing the Bucks’ complete inability to draw fouls but also raising questions over their interest/ability to keep John Salmons. Afterall, it stood to reason that Hammond (or perhaps more accurately, Herb Kohl) might think twice about committing major dollars to the 30-year-old Salmons just a week after taking on the 30-year-old Maggette’s three years and $31 million in remaining salary. Um, right?
From J.O., NBA Mate: What are the team’s biggest strengths? The Jennings/Bogut duo. Jennings, who after spending a year in Europe, was able to slot in comfortably last season as the Bucks cornerstone for the future at perhaps the toughest position to fill in the NBA. The highlight obviously, the 55-points he dropped on Golden State back in November of ’09. More importantly, Jennings played all 82 games and hauled in honest averages of 15ppg-6apg-4rpg. For a 21-year-old with great court vision, handle and speed, you’d take that any day. What also went right was the emergence (pre-injury) of Bogut, who boasted last season all-star stats of 15ppg and 10rpg. How he was overlooked for that game was downright ridiculous. He was also second in the league at almost three blocks a night behind Dwight Howard. Provided Redd doesn’t pass on his injury bug and if neither of these two consider LeBroning the franchise, Jennings and Bogut are undoubtedly the present and future pillars of where Milwaukee stands to be in 4-5 years time.
From J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: The Lakers now have Steve Blake and Matt Barnes, two players who fill offensive and defensive needs in addition to bringing in ringless players who can infuse the back-to-back champions with extra motivation … which would be a perfectly legitimate storyline if the Lakers didn’t have Kobe Bryant. “Just speaking with Kobe, I don’t think he needs any motivation,” Blake said. “His mind is set on winning again.” When Barnes entered the Lakers’ locker room for the first time he heard Bryant in a heated conversation with Ron Artest, talking about getting over screens and locking up in man-to-man defense, a discussion that might seem more appropriate for a playoff game timeout than a leisurely summer day. “If he’s that hungry, I’m starving,” said Barnes, who has landed on his eighth team in his quest to join a winner. “I don’t think the mentality of the team is to sit back and get fat.”
From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA.com: Several seasons ago, Kobe Bryant approached Nike asking for a more streamlined sneaker that wouldn’t weigh him down as much on the court as his traditional high tops, and the company obliged with a low-top alternative. Bryant announced at the Lakers’ annual media day Saturday that he is going with a new less-is-more approach this season, like his sneaker preference. The All-Star guard is electing to not wear a splint on the bothersome right index finger on his shooting hand that suffered from an avulsion fracture and an arthritic knuckle last year. “If [the finger] gets whacked, maybe a game or so I’ll have to put [the splint] on, but for the most part no,” Bryant said. “I’ve been shooting without the tape. My shot feels a lot better. I can follow through with my fingers on the ball and get a better feel for it now than I did last year.”
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Andrew Bynum said Saturday he does not expect to make his season debut until late November. “I see it more towards the end of November,” Bynum said of his return. Bynum had surgery on his right knee on July 28, and the procedure involved his doctor reattaching the damaged cartilage instead of just cutting it off, as is customary in these surgeries. The goal is to give Bynum’s knee more long-term support — perhaps wise considering he is predisposed to knee injuries and has already had so many in his short career — but requires more recovery time. Bynum said he can’t do any impact activities for four weeks. He said he got an update from his doctor, David Altchek, on Thursday.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Before it even started, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson predicted training camp would be a “bust.” And plenty of variables were on display this opening weekends to why that’s proved to be the case. To no one’s surprise, Lakers center Andrew Bynum sat out of Sunday’s practice in what will mark the beginning of a preseason rehabilitation process after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee this off-season. But what could at least be a tad consoling to Lakers fans entails the fact Jackson didn’t exactly share Bynum’s assessment that he wouldn’t return until late November, instead offering his expectation that Bynum would return in two to three weeks after the regular season starts Oct. 26 against Houston. Although Jackson believes Kobe Bryant’s efforts in recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery this off-season has proved enough to play during the preseason, Bryant sat out of Saturday’s and Sunday’s practices. He described his right knee as “feeling pretty good,” but he said he has been taking a “step-by-step” approach in improving the conditioning and strength in his knee. But it’s certainly nothing to fret over. Bryant isn’t for one: “I don’t give two [expletive]” about the preseason.
From Mike Trudell, Basketblog: The most important focus of Pau Gasol’s offseason was resting his body after three straight years of split duty between the Lakers and Spanish National Team. As he reported after Sunday’s practice, the 7-footer is certainly noticing the results. “I feel good about how fresh I am and how my body’s feeling, how my mind’s feeling,” he explained. “I’m coming in with a lot of energy and am just ready to go to work. I feel a lot different than I did last year, (when) I came in a little worn out.” That because he was busy winning a European title for his Spaniards as MVP of the tournament, and that just weeks after helping the Lakers to the 2008 Finals win over Orlando.