- The Bucks got it handed to them by the Nuggets last night, falling 104-78. Milwaukee was without Andrew Bogut (flu), Michael Redd (rested?), and Bobby Simmons, who missed a second straight game with soreness in his surgically repaired heel. That last part should strike fear into Bucks fans everywhere, though Simmons supposedly practiced yesterday. Hopefully it's just part of Simmons' getting his foot used to the rigors of playing again and not an omen of things to come. As for the game, the Bucks who did play were again ridiculously sloppy, chalking up 26 turnovers after they had a staggering 30 TOs on Saturday against the Jazz. LK has noted the Bucks' focus on defense, but at some point they need to clean up their act on the offensive end. Charlie Bell had all 17 of his points in the second quarter to keep the game close, but the Nuggets blew it open in the third, outscoring the Bucks 33-15. Yi had a hard time defending Kenyon Martin, who was making his first start in about a year, but the Chinese rookie did manage to pull down 7 rebounds along with his 9 points, 3 TOs and a block in 20 minutes.
- Gery Woelfel writes that Yi Jianlian has some impressive measurements. Because Yi didn't go to the Orlando pre-draft combine, I had relied on measurements Chad Ford got from a pre-draft workout.
Yi has size, athleticism and skill. He measures 7-foot-1 in shoes, with a 7-foot-4¼ wingspan, huge hands and a 38-inch vertical jump. He runs up and down the floor well and is very quick laterally. And he's adding muscle (he's up to 248 pounds).Woelfel was told that Yi is 6'11" without shoes, 7'0.25" with shoes, a 7'3.5" wingspan and that he weighs 246 pounds. Meanwhile, he has the lowest body fat percentage on the team at just 3.5%. Not sure why the numbers would differ, but there ya go. The most interesting thing to me is that Yi has managed to keep his weight constant in spite of playing so much this summer. The fact that he can carry so much weight on his slender-looking frame is a good hint at how much lower body strength he already has. And Yi knows he still has work to do.
“We have him on a program where he’s going to lift every day when there’s not a game and not on Sunday,’’ Wilson said. “But we had a (preseason) gamer last Saturday night and he wanted to lift that day, so we lifted.
“He seems to like it. I think he knows how beneficial it (lifting) can be for him.’’
Yi concurred, saying, “I like it … I need it.’’
Yi then laughed and added, “I’m too skinny.’’
- Tony Mejia of CBS Sportsline has a pretty fair assessment of the Bucks 07/08 chances.
Power Ranking Rank: 19th
Projected Record: 39-43, 4th Central
Best case scenario: Larry Harris is correct in his assumption that Larry Krystkowiak is the coach to get the most out of the Bucks, particularly former No. 1 pick Andrew Bogut, and 45-50 wins follow.
Worst case scenario: Injuries and bad defense continue to be the norm, dooming Harris and wasting yet another year when the Bucks should've been more of a factor in a wide-open Eastern Conference.
X-factor: Milwaukee didn't have the luxury of Bobby Simmons' versatility last season, so healthy, he could make a substantial difference.
Early season schedule: The Bucks start the season on the road against two other teams hoping to make a move, Orlando and Charlotte. Milwaukee's first home game will be Nov. 3 against rival Chicago, which was actually worse off than the Bucks when Harris took over as GM back in 2003.
- Jeff Brown of the La Cross Tribune writes the Bucks won't be worrying about highlight reels this season.
“Last year we played too much one-on-one, and that eventually hurt us. To win basketball games, you have to play strong defense,” Bogut said. “Coach always says it doesn’t show up on SportsCenter if you block a shot. We don’t want to show up on SportsCenter. We want to win games.”
- Truman Reed at Bucks.com writes about Samaki Walker and Yi Jianlian's summer connection.
"I didn't have any intentions of coming back to the NBA at that point," Walker said. "I was just doing a routine workout at my gym. One day, the big fella walked in, we bonded from there, and one workout turned into two and so forth."
Walker discovered quickly that the Bucks were getting a special player and person. The sneak preview met with rave reviews.
"The guy's athleticism and skill at his position is subpar to none at that position," Walker said. "This kid can light it up from 17 to 18 feet, he can put it on the floor at 6-11 or 7 feet, he can make things happen. Once you've seen Yi's footwork and his mechanics, you can't help but be impressed."
"He can be as good as he wants. The kid is going to be an All-Star, without question, if he wants to be. He can be if he wants to be. He has All-Star potential, and I'll say that with total realism. The sky is the limit for him."
Walker analyzed Yi in much the same way that a scout would.
"I'm very impressed with his skill set," he said. "I was really impressed with his speed, his strength -- even though he's a slender guy, his base is very solid. And he's not afraid of contact.