PROJECTED STARTINGFIVE with 2006-07 statistics
PG MO WILLIAMS
C ANDREW BOGUT
KEY BENCH PLAYERS:G Charlie Bell, C Dan Gadzuric, F Bobby Simmons, F Yi Jianlian (R), G RoyalIvey* *New acquisition (R) Rookie
Record: 28-54(14th in East) Points scored: 99.7 (10th in NBA) Points allowed: 104.0 (27th)Coach: Larry Krystkowiak (first season with Bucks)
MANY BELIEVE thatAndrew Bogut has failed to live up to his potential after being draftedNo.¬†1 in 2005. One of those critics is Bogut. "That's definitely fairenough," he says. "I feel like I have to give more." Still, the7-foot Australian center has been one of the few constants on a team beset byturmoil over the past 12¬†months--from lingering injuries to startersMichael Redd (knee), Bobby Simmons (foot, ankle) and Charlie Villanueva(shoulder); to the March firing of coach Terry Stotts; to the failed attempt byfirst-round pick Yi Jianlian to force a trade out of Milwaukee; to the contractsquabble that preceded the re-signing of free-agent Charlie Bell.
Though he played148 consecutive games before being sidelined with a left-foot injury lastMarch, Bogut was maddeningly erratic: Only twice last season did he score indouble figures on more than three straight occasions; his high was five in arow. But new coach Larry Krystkowiak expects him to deliver more regularly thiswinter, reminding naysayers that Bogut would now be a rookie had he completedhis college eligibility at Utah. A former Bucks big man himself, Krystkowiakbelieves he can increase Bogut's comfort on the court by running more plays forhim and by simplifying his pick-and-roll duties on defense. "I'm expectinghim to be a double double guy on a consistent basis," Krystkowiak says."The big thing is his energy and his exuberance. When he plays with thereckless abandon we know he can, he's Andrew Bogut. If he paces himself, all ofa sudden he loses his edge."
Bogut now evenlooks more the part of a dominant NBA big man, having traded in his shaggysurfer locks for a close-cropped 'do and added 15 pounds of muscle."Mentally and physically he's a lot stronger, a lot wiser to theleague," Krystkowiak says. "He seems to be more comfortable in theenvironment."
An opposing team'sscout sizes up the Bucks
Michael Redd isprobably the best catch-and-shoot player in the league--it's close between himand Ray Allen. When you play the Bucks, you build your defense around stoppingRedd because he takes a lot of shots. But he's a given. If they're going towin, it's up to their other guys. . . . Mo Williams has become more of a scorerthan a point guard, a shoot-first, pass-second guy. But he does a good job ofkeeping opposing point guards out of the paint. He's very athletic and strong,and he can guard the ball. . . . Rookie Yi Jianlian really struggled in summerleague, which is the equivalent of D-League basketball, but he may get a lot ofminutes because Charlie Villanueva has been injury prone. Villanueva isdefinitely an offensive threat, but he isn't a prototypical power forward; he'sa pick-and-pop guy who shoots the three and plays more like a small forward. .. . The question that ultimately comes up is whether this team can stopanybody. I don't think the Bucks can.
The Bucks finishedlast season with 15 consecutive losses to Central Division opponents. That'sthe longest losing streak Milwaukee has had within its division in thefranchise's history.
STARTING LINEUP: GARY DINEEN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (2); JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (3)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH
NUMBERS GAME The Bucks plan to call more plays for Bogut this season.
GARY DINEEN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (OPPOSITE)
¬†On TheUp and Up
Michael Redd has increased his scoring average in each of his seven years,topping out at 26.7 points last season.