Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bucks need to be bigger

Back when Andrew Bogut was still with the Bucks, they made a move to sign Drew Gooden with the intent to play him at the 4 next to Bogut. That was right after the career changing elbow injury Bogut suffered at the end of the 2009-10 season. They wanted to play power basketball with 2 big physical rebounders. Gooden was hurt most of the 2010-11 season and only played 35 games, eliminating that plan. This allowed for more playing time for Ilyasova and rookie Larry Sanders. Bogut then played in just 12 games in the strike shortened 2011-12 season before being traded for Monta Ellis. Power basketball never came to Milwaukee.
The Bucks have played smaller lineups since Bogut has left, starting Gooden by necessity after the Bogut trade. Samuel Dalembert was brought in for 2012-13, but Sanders took over part way into the season. Sanders is small for a center, but is a quality shot blocker. The Bucks have also played undersized at the 4 playing players like Ilyasova, and Mbah-a-Moute who are either too short or too slight to play with big NBA power forwards.
People into metrics love Larry Sanders. His shot blocking, especially from the weak side does make a difference in games. I understand the value of rim protectors, especially mobile ones that can cover a lot of ground to help. I was not a fan of Larry Sanders as a starting center even before his crazy run this year, (broken hand in bar fight, animal neglect charges and other charges, orbital fracture injury in game, and finally failed marijuana test suspension) because he is just too small. Sanders is listed at 6'11" and 235lbs. His athleticism makes up for a lack of beef, but he and the Bucks struggle when the opponent has a lot of beef up front.
The NBA is filled with athletes that run and dunk and  do amazing things, but it is still basketball. In basketball generally the big guys win over the small guys. Just look a the beef of the starters for the top 5 teams in each conference.

Indiana Hibbert/West
Miami Bosh/Haslem (teams with Lebron don't really have to play by the same rules)
Toronto Valanciunas/Amir Williams
Chicago Boozer/Noah
Washington Gortat/Nene
San Antonio Duncan/Splitter or Diaw
OKC Ibaka/Perkins (same applies to teams with Durant)
Clippers Jordan/Griffin
Houston Howard/Jones
Portland Lopez/Aldridge

Every team would like to have a Lebron or a Durant, because it doesn't much matter who plays with them because they are going to win. Not too many of those guys out there, so it's probably not a good strategy for the Bucks. I don't know what the Bucks new owners will do with this team, but I hope they put an emphasis on bigger is better.

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