With training camp starting in Cleveland on October 1, Right Down Euclid will be ranking teams from the bottom to the top of the Eastern and Western Conferences. Everyday I will rotate between conferences, starting with the East teams and counting up from No. 16 all the way to the best team in each respective conference.
I will give a quick synopsis of each team’s roster, some of their statistics from last year and why I think they will finish in the position that I predicted. Agree or disagree, stay tuned to RDE to see where your team lands in the 2012 Offseason Team Rankings.
No. 10 – Milwaukee Bucks (4th in Central)
2011-12 season: 31-35 (.470), 4th place in Central Division (7-8)
Offensive Efficiency: 102.4 (14th)
Defensive Efficiency: 102.4 (17th)
C – Samuel Dalembert
G – Mike Dunleavy
G – Monta Ellis
F – Drew Gooden
F – Tobias Harris
F – John Henson
F – Ersan Ilyasova
G – Brandon Jennings
G – Doron Lamb
F – Luc Mbah a Moute
C – Joel Przybilla
F – Larry Sanders
F – Ekpe Udoh
G – Beno Udrih
I’m a journalist, so no bias was shown in the ranking of these teams. Some to most may think that the Bucks will finish above the Cavaliers in the Central, but I don’t believe that the Bucks will get over that average hump again. The Bucks have only finished above .500 once in the past nine seasons, hovering between the .317 to .561 winning percentage range. The 2009-10 season the Bucks finished with 46 wins and grabbed the second spot in the Central behind the Cavaliers. I could see the Bucks coming away with around 38 wins this season, finishing with yet another average record. If rookies John Henson and Doron Lamb develop ahead of schedule, I could foresee playoffs in Milwaukee’s immediate future.
However, with players like Samuel Dalembert, Mike Dunleavy and Drew Gooden bringing up the average age of Milwaukee’s roster. This team will only become a playoff talent until they part ways with some of their seasoned veterans. Dalembert was brought in as Andrew Bogut headed west to play for the Warriors in the middle of last season. This team already has a great leader in shooting guard Monta Ellis, who came over in that trade with Golden State. Ellis isn’t fit to play a star role, though. An absolutely great complimentary player to a team, but he shouldn’t have had to put up 20 point averages basically his whole career. However, it’s hard to complain when their backcourt, with Brandon Jennings included, is putting up close to 40 points per game. That’s what the Cavaliers are trying to shoot for with Dion Waiters, but that is a ways off. The Bucks have one of the best backcourts in the league; it’s the aging frontcourt that is holding them back from being a next-level team.
Not having Bogut for most of the season really hurt the Milwaukee frontcourt. Ersan Ilyasova and Gooden had to play the big men role last season, but now the two will most likely be splitting time with Dalembert. I like that rotation, but Bogut was a much better option at center. To put it simple, the frontcourt has downgraded since trading with the Warriors. A team that has had enough balanced/average seasons in the past decade needs to learn how to balance their needs. Only then will the Bucks make a legitimate run for the playoffs.