Blazer Banter

The Scouting Report: Milwaukee Bucks

In an attempt to help you get to know the Blazers opponent each night, we are going to post a little bit of a scouting report of each team on the blog before each game. Tonight’s opponent are the 2-7 Milwaukee Bucks. Tip-off is at 5 PM and the game will be shown on CSNNW and Scott Lynn will have the call for Brian Wheeler on 620 AM with Antonio Harvey.

Projected starting line-up: Ersan Illyasova, Zaza Pachulia, Khris Middleton, O.J. Mayo and Nate Wolters

New faces: Head Coach Larry Drew, Mayo, Pachulia, Gary Neal, Giannis Antetokounmpo

Injuries: Larry Sanders (out 4-6 weeks), Brandon Knight (doubtful for tonight’s game), Carlos Delfino (out 4-6 months), Luke Ridnour (out indefinitely with back spasms), E

Alleged Bar FightsLarry Sanders

When we entered the season, the Bucks didn’t look great. They didn’t look terrible either as they had a very good shot to push into the weak lower half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

However, injuries to many a players in their rotation have decimated the Bucks. Likely the most frustrating injury was Larry Sanders having to undergo surgery. Sanders, or has he became known thanks to Grantland’s Zach Lowe, LARRY SANDERS!, was one of the league’s best interior defenders last season and earned himself a $44 million extension over the summer.

Sanders was not only a great shot blocker but in one of the first uses of SportVU data for defense, he was shown to be the best “rim protector” by percentage in the league.

Few saw this team as a tanking team simply because of the talent they added in the offseason by spending free-agent money on Zaza Pachulia, O.J. Mayo and Gary Neal. However, injuries have turned the Bucks into the worst team in Eastern Conference.

The only thing they do semi well compared to the rest of the league is force turnovers as they are 15th in the league in defensive turnover percentage, forcing turnovers on 14.7 percent of opponents possessions.

They’ve also shot the three at a pretty high percentage, ranking fifth in the league but are only 25th in attempts and their defense hasn’t been very good, ranking 23rd.

Rookie Nate Wolters has been decent running the show in the stead of the injured Brandon Knight as he is averaging eight points and just over five assists but he has struggled with his three-point shooting.

Probably the best reason to tune in to watch the Bucks, especially without Sanders, is a guy that plays less than 15 minutes a game, Greek rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokoumpo has become known as “The Greek Freak” and there is even a twitter account for when he goes into the game. His freakishly long arms and athleticism, however, pale in comparison to his story.

Overall, the Bucks are flat out awful right now and injuries have really hurt their chances to make the playoffs.

If there was ever another chance to win an eighth game in a row, it wouldn’t be on a silver platter any shinier than tonight’s game.

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He started writing about NBA Basketball for SwishScout.com before being the Sports Reporter Intern for TrailBlazers.com. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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