- The Bucks open their preseason tonight against the Bulls at 7:30 CT in LaCrosse (note: NBA.com says it starts at 7). WSSP 1250 will be carrying the game live, and DirecTV is supposedly carrying the game as well (I'll try to confirm this). Charles Gardner writes Larry Kyrstkowiak may have tipped his hand about his starting lineup at today's practice:
Krystkowiak did not say what his starting lineup would be at the La Crosse Center, but a few hints might have been offered with a lineup featuring Michael Redd and Mo Williams, Yi, Andrew Bogut and Desmond Mason. That group played together in a 5-on-5 fullcourt drill near the end of the practice session.The battle for the starting forward spots was alluded to by Krystkowiak last week, so Mason and Yi starting would give us some idea of who has (and who hasn't) impressed Krystkowiak in the last week. I had fully expected Charlie Villanueva to earn the starting PF spot while Yi took time to adapt to the NBA and his new surroundings, but Villanueva's anonymous performance on Saturday might speak to his slower than expected recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. Or Krystkowiak could possibly be looking to send a message to one of the team's most notoriously lax defenders. Either way it's likely that Krystkowiak will use multiple starting lineups this preseason in order to see how various combinations work, so if they're coming off the bench tomorrow don't be surprised if CV and Simmons start on Wednesday against the Jazz. It's probably not worth reading too much into anything that happens in the first week, but hey, that's what we do.
- Gery Woelfel has a nice video preview of the Bucks at the Journal-Times. Key points: Woelfel expects Bogut will have a breakout season, the Bucks vets have really gone out of their way to make Yi feel at home, and he still expects Villanueva to start at PF.
- In a change from the norm, Larry Krystkowiak will be having a full practice tomorrow morning ahead of the first exhibition game.
"A lot of guys' tendency is to take the game off so we'll have a good solid practice (in the morning)," Krystkowiak said. "The nature of it is guys - at least what I've experienced - say, 'I'm not going to play in this exhibition game.' Last year, our last exhibition game, we had about seven guys who didn't play. It drives you crazy because it means they had a day off. If you're not doing anything in the shootaround and then if you take the night off, what's the preseason for?
"So we're going to do something. We're going to get work out of some guys and if they come and really work their tails off in (the morning) practice, it will be their prerogative if they want to play that night. But we've got to get some sweat out of them."
- Seven of the Bucks' eight preseason games will be carried on the Bucks Radio Network. Games will be split between WTMJ 620 and WSSP 1250 in Milwaukee, with Ted Davis returning for his 11th season with the Bucks and Dennis Krause providing color commentary at home games. The other day I was singing the praises of Jim/Jon, but I've also always been a big fan of both Davis and Krause, though I rarely get to hear them now that I have all the games on League Pass. Big credit to Davis for being able to single-handedly carry the road broadcasts by himself. Great voice, great charisma, and by all accounts an awesome guy off the court as well.
- In case you were concerned that the NBA on TNT crew might actually give some respect to the Bucks this year, don't worry: Kenny Smith is picking the Bucks to finish 12th in the East.
Without sounding redundant, there's just not enough talent. The Bucks are potential driven which leads to losses in the NBA.
- On the flip side, Sam Smith at the Chicago Tribune thinks the Bucks could surprise people.
The Bucks could be a surprise team in the East. Several general managers envision rookie Yi Jianlian being a major contributor by midseason. The Chinese teenager has changed his tune about Milwaukee, which he had threatened to boycott. "It's a beautiful city, nice downtown," he said. "You've got a lake, you've got a river." The Bucks need a full recovery by DePaul's Bobby Simmons, who signed a $47 million contract, then had surgery and missed all of last season. "Right now I look totally different than last season," Simmons said. "I worked my butt off this summer."
- NBA.com has their Bucks preview up. I generally like Rob Peterson, but given it's for the NBA's website it not surprisingly shies away from making any bold predictions.