GREEN BAY, WI -- On Wednesday night, I was able to attend the New York Knicks versus the Milwaukee Bucks preseason game, exactly one week before the two teams will play each other in their respective season opener's. I took tons of notes on some of the players that will play an extreme role off the Milwaukee bench, assuming the starting lineup will be as follows.
PG: Brandon Knight - Out
SG: O.J. Mayo
SF: Ersan Ilysova - Out
PF: John Henson - Did Not Start
C: Larry Sanders
Over the course of the offseason, the Bucks looked like the team that was set up to be the worst, and if that was the case, be one of the top contenders to draft Andrew Wiggins. Before the game Wednesday against the Knicks, the Bucks were the only winless team in the NBA, not looking good. Between the number of new members and starters, the chemistry still was not there. The Milwaukee Bucks currently have four point guards on their roster, Brandon Knight being the lead guy. Luke Ridnour, Nate Wolters, and Gary Neal back up Knight, and as of Saturday, have all made the Bucks roster.
Luke Ridnour played very well throughout the course of the preseason. He just happened to put up a double-double (18 points, 11 assists) the day I was there to witness. He ran the floor well, was speedy and aggressive, and passed the ball amazingly. If Ridnour continues to make use of his playing time, he'll make a big impact off the bench. Signing Ridnour was one of the best moves Milwaukee made all offseason.
Caron Butler was the best player in the game for the Bucks' preseason finale on Wednesday. Yes, that does include Carmelo Anthony. Butler scored 24 points, hitting threes, driving the lane, and everything on between. The hometown hero looked great in Titletown, and nobody will deny it. The backup forward will get a good amount of playing time this season.
Every team has some downside, and that does apply to their best players. Gary Neal may not be the cream of the crop on the Bucks, but like anyone else, he needs a ton of work. When it comes to help defense, he was doing a great job directing young guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo, but he didn't play help defense himself in the lane, especially when Carmelo Anthony was flying through. Also, Neal is a very streaky shooter from three-point range. He'd hit two or three in a row, then miss three or four. Reminds Milwaukee fans of a guy named Brandon Jennings.
For the the Bucks, I could easily see them being an eighth seed again, even without Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. They still have a great squad, with the potential to stick with a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers, assuming they live up to to their expectations.
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