Predicting the Roles and Impact of Each Milwaukee Bucks Newcomer This Season

Aside from the transfer of ownership and acquisition of Jason Kidd as the team’s new head coach, the Milwaukee Bucks haven’t exactly been buyers this offseason. Regardless, the new faces that have been added to the roster should make an immediate impact.

Jabari Parker will have his sights set on the Rookie of the Year award, Kendall Marshall will hope to build on a very successful 2013-14 season and Jerryd Bayless will aim to become a viable spark off the bench.

And while fans and players alike can have expectations, it’s not uncommon to fall short of them. So, then, how will each new face for the Bucks fit into the game plan and what can his expected impact be?

 

Jabari Parker

Given his versatility on offense, the second overall pick in this summer’s draft is a sight for sore eyes in Milwaukee.

Last season the offensively challenged Bucks scored 95.5 points per game (28th in the league) and shot just 43.8 percent from the field.

Now, the addition of Duke sensation Jabari Parker should help turn those numbers around, at least a little bit.

Parker averaged 19.1 points by connecting on 47.3 percent of his field-goal attempts and converting a respectable 35.8 percent of his threes.

Though he can fall in love with his jump shot relatively easily, the 6’8″ forward knows he has the size and quickness to score from the post as well.

In the NBA, with great defenders guarding him, he’ll certainly need to dig deep into his arsenal of offensive moves in order to produce at the same level he did in college. Even still, he shouldn’t be far off from his college production when the NBA season comes to a close. The rookie will see plenty of minutes and figures to become the team’s go-to scoring option.

Much of his success will likely depend on how consistently he can get his jumper to fall, and if he can take full advantage of any mismatches that may face him.

Ultimately, it’s hard to pinpoint the numbers, but Parker will certainly have a major impact.

However, in an attempt to make things numerical, look for him to average 16.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists on 44.2 percent shooting from the field and 34.3 percent from behind the three-point line.

 

Kendall Marshall

It cannot be stressed enough how big of an acquisition Marshall is for the Bucks.

As good as Brandon Knight was in 2013-14, Marshall’s presence adds a completely different element to the point guard position and one that hasn’t been seen in Milwaukee for quite some time.

And that element is distribution.

Marshall is a fantastic passer who averaged 8.8 assists in 29.0 minutes per game in 2013-14 for the Los Angeles Lakers. Now, under the tutelage of Jason Kidd—one of the best point guards ever—Marshall’s opportunity to grow increases exponentially.

That opportunity is not lost on the young point guard, either. As Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweeted after the acquisition, Marshall seems eager to work with Kidd:

Look for Knight to start the season at point guard, but don’t be surprised if Marshall snatches that starting role from him at some point.

Those 8.8 assists per game he averaged should certainly be attainable and, assuming he can improve his jump shot, there’s no reason to believe Marshall can’t average 10.0 points.

It’s not time to write Knight off, but he had better start thinking about transitioning to shooting guard, especially if Marshall’s game continues heading in the proper direction.

 

Jerryd Bayless

If Bayless provides the Bucks with what he gave the Boston Celtics a year ago, his signing should be considered a success.

After being traded to Boston by the Memphis Grizzlies, Bayless averaged 10.1 points and 3.1 assists on 41.1 percent shooting (39.5 percent from three-point territory). While those numbers certainly don’t jump off the page, a guy like Bayless can provide a spark.

At least, that’s the plan.

The Bucks brought in Gary Neal last summer in hopes he would play a similar role, but it never quite worked out. Neal averaged 10.0 points, but shot just 39.0 percent from the floor and tended to be a bit erratic with his shot selection.

Truth be told, Bayless is a similar player.

However, the 25-year-old is a slightly better ball-handler and much more willing to distribute than Neal was during his short time in Milwaukee.

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweeted out the details of Bayless‘ contract and, for what he could provide, it’s not a bad one:

Bayless definitely doesn’t bring much of a “wow” factor to the table, but he’s a solid role player who is a capable shooter from deep.

 

Johnny O’Bryant and Damien Inglis

O’Bryant and Inglis get lumped together for the simple reason that, in my opinion, they won’t get a whole lot of playing time.

At least not enough to make a big impact.

Unless a trade occurs at some point, the Bucks are experiencing a bit of a logjam at both forward positions. And that’s why both players are presumably going to spend quite a bit of time in the NBA Development League for 2014-15.

O’Bryant is a low-block scorer who adds some bulk to a frontline dominated by long, lanky players like John Henson, Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova. His physical prowess is a welcome addition, but he will need a lot of time to sharpen his game.

On the other hand, as with Giannis Antetokounmpo last summer, not much is known about Inglis.

The Frenchman, as recently reported by Gardner, broke his foot during a workout in Oklahoma City and is still wearing a boot. Whether or not he fully heals before training camp begins is yet to be seen, but even a healthy Inglis probably won’t be part of the opening night roster.

Of course, I said the same thing about Antetokounmpo a year ago and was proven wrong.

However and, unfortunately for them, O’Bryant and Inglis play two positions at which the Bucks aren’t short on talent.

Yes, someone with the versatility of Inglis could certainly shift around, but the Greek Freak fits that very mold and it’s hard to imagine seeing the two, along with Parker, exist on the roster from the get-go.

If O.J. Mayo gets traded by the deadline, though, fans might see plenty of Inglis in the second half.

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Early Win-Loss Predictions for Milwaukee Bucks Next Season

It has been a summer of major change for the Milwaukee Bucks, and, given that fact, it might be easy to forget that this team finished the 2013-14 season with a 15-67 record—the worst in franchise history.

With a new and bright outlook, the Bucks will take the floor this year in hopes of improving upon the atrocity of a season ago. 

And while expectations should be tempered, fans should be thrilled for this new era to start.

It won’t take much to best last year’s accomplishments—or lack thereof—but just how much better can the Bucks be?

 

Will New Faces Equate to More Success?

Along with the fresh, young face of second-overall pick, Jabari Parker, the Bucks will look a lot different both on and off the court this fall.

Jason Kidd will try to build off of his successful first season as an NBA head coach with the Brooklyn Nets by leading a young Bucks roster that knows next to nothing about winning.

Will that alone equate to a better season? Maybe.

If we’re being honest—and there are others who would probably disagree—the Bucks were better than a 15-win team heading into last season.

But things were derailed almost immediately, and they were never able to gain any traction from that point on.

Truth be told, the Bucks had a solid roster in place.

Yes, they’re overpaying players like Ersan Ilyasova, O.J. Mayo and Zaza Pachulia, but all three of those guys are capable of contributing, regardless of whether or not those contributions make up for their inflated salaries.

Parker will be eager to prove he is the best player in this year’s draft class, Giannis Antetokounmpo will certainly be anxious to take his next, lengthy stride towards toward stardom and newly acquired point guard Kendall Marshall will want to duplicate his success from a season ago.

Assuming they all can do those things, in addition to someone like Larry Sanders having a bounce-back year, the Bucks have a good shot at being far more competitive than they were last season, which should lead to a better end result.

And while those are assumptions, the team is in a much better position for the future than it was a year ago at this time.

 

Playing in the Central

As Milwaukee’s youngsters attempt to grow, they’ll be doing so in a division with plenty of top-notch talent.

With LeBron James returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Pau Gasol joining Derrick Rose in Chicago, youngsters like Parker, Antetokounmpo and Marshall will certainly have their hands full.

That’s not a bad thing, either.

Getting to regularly stand toe-to-toe with some of the league’s best players will be a valuable learning experience that can only help moving forward, not only for rookies like Parker, but for the team as a whole.

It will, however, have a major impact on any sort of immediate resurgence some fans—and I don’t think there are many—might be hoping for.

The Cavs and Bulls will certainly finish ahead of the Bucks in the standings, and it’s probably logical to assume that the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons will as well.

Certainly, without Paul George, the Pacers will slip some, but is his injury enough to drop them below the Bucks? Unlikely.

Still, fans shouldn’t worry about the team’s place within the division, or conference for that matter.

Milwaukee has a long way to go in its quest to become relevant again, and it’s not going to happen overnight.

Look for some improvement, on and off the court, but don’t expect a whole lot of noise to accompany it.

Instead, savor the fact that the Bucks are finally headed in the right direction and enjoy the exciting, young nucleus they have in place.

 

Predicted Record: 24-58

Predicted Place in NBA Central: No. 5

Predicted Place in Eastern Conference: No. 13

 

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LeBron may mean big bucks for local businesses

USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt speaks to Cleveland businesspeople about the impact of LeBron’s return.

      
 

 

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Milwaukee Bucks’ 2014 NBA Free-Agency Big Board: Ranking Top Targets

With the 2014 NBA free-agency period underway, the Milwaukee Bucks will seek to add more pieces to their core of young talent. And while they’re not in a position to lure the marquee names to town, some players a tier or two down could help fill out the roster.

The most notable gap for the Bucks is at shooting guard, where O.J. Mayo is the only player who naturally fits at that position.

Outside of that, the team could use depth point guard and power forward, especially if Ersan Ilyasova is traded this summer.

Earlier this week, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports tweeted that the team would be “conservative” in its approach to free agency.

That’s not a surprise.

Still, it’s important to take a look at some possibilities.

The rankings were determined mainly by positional needs and limited to players whom the Bucks realistically might have a shot at signing—both from a salary and notoriety.

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Bucks owners admit errors made in luring Kidd (Yahoo Sports)

MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 2: Jason Kidd (C) attends a press conference announcing him as the Head Coach of the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center on July 2, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

New Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens admit they may have made some errors in luring Jason Kidd to Milwaukee. Kidd dismissed the suggestion that he left after being turned down in seeking control of the Nets’ basketball operations department. As I was introduced, I’m the coach.” Brooklyn agreed Monday to deal Kidd to Milwaukee for second-round draft picks in 2015 and 2019. The Bucks fired Larry Drew, who had no indication he wouldn’t be back for a second season.


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Biggest Takeaways from Jason Kidd’s Introduction with Milwaukee Bucks

Jason Kidd has officially completed his transition from the Brooklyn Nets to the Milwaukee Bucks, a move that was the driving focus of Milwaukee’s recent press conference. Though he didn’t end up landing the front-office powers he coveted in his old location, he’ll still be serving as the man in charge on the Brew Town sidelines. 

Wednesday afternoon, he was officially introduced by John Hammond and the rest of the Milwaukee front office.

Wesley Edens, a co-owner of the franchise, was the first to mention Kidd, and there was nothing but praise for the 41-year-old who thrived as a point guard and steadily improved during his first season patrolling the bench area: 

Marc Lasry, the co-owner who has had a prior relationship with Kidd, offered similar levels of praise:

When Kidd first spoke, he was quick to discuss the excitement he felt for his new role, a sentiment that applies both to his job title and the roster he now has control over: 

Interestingly enough, the one name he mentioned after speaking about the young talent was Ersan Ilyasova. Don’t read into that too much, though. Kidd is surely well aware that he’ll be getting to coach promising players like Giannis Antetokounmpo (even though spelling that name will take practice), recent No. 2 pick Jabari Parker, John Henson, Brandon Knight and Larry Sanders, who figures to resume his role as the centerpiece of the lanky defense. 

Kidd was also asked to express his thoughts on the desire for power within the Brooklyn organization, but it was a subject that no one was really willing to broach during the presser.

Instead, Kidd used the questions as an opportunity to re-emphasize his role as a coach: 

Of course, the way this job came about was rather controversial. As for that criticism, Kidd seemed willing to accept it, acknowledging that such sentiments have always emerged as part of life in the Association: 

Referring to Brooklyn general manager Billy King, he also acknowledged that basketball is, after all, a business:

The nature of the transition, as well as Kidd’s controversial playing career—one that contained incidents both on and off the floor—continued to be a huge subject for everyone asking questions: 

But fortunately, the former point guard seems willing to use his past to help his players develop in the present and future.

And how is that going to happen? 

Well, Kidd is one of the best floor generals of all time. He had a precocious understanding for developments on the court early in his career, and that was only honed as he continued to gain experience during his lengthy tenure in the NBA. If he can pass that along, he’ll make everyone on the roster significantly better. 

Both he and Hammond hinted at exactly that while speaking at the press conference:

Kidd’s first season as a head coach was certainly a roller coaster.

The Nets were a disaster early in his tenure. However, they rebounded nicely down the stretch, swaying public perception of the team’s head coach while advancing to the second round of the postseason and giving the Miami Heat a legitimate scare. 

Picking up patience is undoubtedly a positive. 

Though the Bucks are certainly on an upward trajectory and boast a tremendous amount of young talent and future financial flexibility, they’re not going to be highly competitive in 2014-15. Patience is of paramount importance, because the losses will inevitably pile up, as they did early on in Kidd’s brief stay with Brooklyn. 

But patience is often rewarded. 

Should Kidd stick with Milwaukee and grow along with the rest of the roster, this is a team that could make some noise down the road. That’s the hope, at least. 

On Wednesday afternoon, that journey began. Now the growth truly starts. 

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Jason Kidd Facing Unparalleled Pressure with Milwaukee Bucks

Jason Kidd‘s attempted power play managed to sever his ties with the Brooklyn Nets, but it netted him no additional influence.

He’s now off to coach the Milwaukee Bucks, the team announced Tuesday, holding the same size stick he had in Brooklyn. The dual coach-front office he wanted isn’t comingnot yet, at least—just the same position he held for the first time in his life last season.

Only, the job isn’t the same. The resources, the expectations, the demands and the challenges are all different from what he’s experienced.

There is no ready-made contender at his disposal. The team he inherits won 15 games in 2013-14 (29 fewer than Kidd’s former club) and enters this offseason short on potential paths to roster upgrades:

The Bucks have youth, the one thing Kidd didn’t have in Brooklyn, but youth takes time, patience, loyalty and luck to translate to the standings.

Buying time shouldn’t be an issue in Milwaukee. The Bucks, perhaps begrudgingly, seem relatively committed to a long-term rebuild. The upside is there for something special down the line, but that line could be running for a while.

It’s hard to say how much patience Coach Kidd has. The Nets exercised plenty of it during his debut season. They stood by his side through a two-game suspension for pleading guilty to DWI, the gaffe that was “Soda-Gate,” the team’s 10-21 start to the 2013-14 campaign and the reportedly fractured locker room he oversaw.

Kidd recovered in time to help the Nets make a conference semifinals appearance, but the roster looked strong enough on paper to get at least that far. Still, that performance was convincing enough for Kidd to feel he deserved the type of basketball control only afforded to the profession’s biggest names: Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, Stan Van Gundy.

Maybe that could have come with time for Kidd, but he tried circumventing the waiting period. In doing so, he left behind a market that could have eased his ascent up the coaching ranks:

The Nets had no reason to buy Kidd’s front-office potential. Not when the jury is still out on his coaching skills.

So, Brooklyn shot down his request, which he apparently deemed a breaking point. Never mind that the franchise had already stuck its neck out for him, hiring him as coach just 10 days after he retired from his playing career. The Nets’ refusal to take a massive gamble on him for the second straight summer was simply too much.

Kidd started plotting his escape, despite having three years left on his contract with the Nets. Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, once a financial advisor to Kidd, started working to bring him on board. Lasry, apparently, had no problem with the fact that his team’s coaching position was already filled. In fact, the owners were so confident in what they were doing, they didn’t bother talking it over with the front office, per CBS Sports’ Ken Berger:

NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner detailed how the pursuit went down:

Lasry, who bought the Bucks this spring with hedge-fund partner Wesley Edens, already has apologized to Larry Drew, NBA sources confirmed, for the public undercutting that played out over about 48 hours. Actually the process took a little longer: Drew was in the Bucks’ war room on Draft night Thursday in suburban Milwaukee while Lasry and Edens were at the event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Drew was at No. 2 pick Jabari Parker’s introductory news conference Friday while the owners clandestinely interviewed Kidd in New York. The ham-handed maneuver leaked out Saturday and finally, on Monday, the Bucks and the Nets agreed on compensation in the form of two future second-round draft picks.

Even if history proves Milwaukee made the right move, it will never sign off on its execution.

Kidd violated a cardinal rule in the coaching world: chasing a job that was already filled.

The Bucks botched the deal from all angles, not the least of which was the raw deal they gave now-former coach Larry Drew:

“It’s hard to say who looks worse in this sordid sagaKidd, for his callousness and his blind ambition, or the Bucks’ new owners, for foolishly tying their team’s fate to a still-unproven coach known more for burning bridges than building foundations,” Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck wrote.

Loyalty in professional sports is an ideal often pushed by fans and the media, but a lot of the wide-eyed players in this locker room may not realize that it’s nothing more than a myth. Jabari Parker, taken with the No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft, was minutes removed from having his name called when he told reporters (via Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk), “I’m trying to be a throwback player, only stick with one team.”

A lot of these players haven’t been hardened by the business side of the profession yet. They might subscribe to the theory that loyalty exists, even when their new coach’s track record suggested otherwise long before his latest move:

It’s a lesson they’ll learn soon, though, if they haven’t already. Some analysts have already wondered how firm Kidd’s feet are planted in Milwaukee.

“Because Kidd had torched his own Brooklyn bridge, it makes you wonder if he’s merely taking the Bucks’ coaching job as a matter of convenience,” Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote.

All of this increases the pressure for Kidd to perform. Only wins can justify his hiring, and those don’t figure to come with regularity anytime soon for this franchise.

Kidd will take over a team that finished in the bottom five in both offensive (100.2, 26th) and defensive (108.9, 29th) efficiency, via NBA.com.  The roster has promise in players like Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brandon Knight, John Henson and Larry Sanders—all of whom are 25 or younger—but someone needs to tap into that potential.

“The Bucks job is not about recruiting stars, it’s about building them,” NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin wrote. “It’s on Kidd to do that now.”

He didn’t have to do anything like that in Brooklyn. His entire rotation there included one player under the age of 25: reserve big Mason Plumlee, who saw 18.2 minutes a night.

Player development was an afterthought at Kidd’s last stop, if it ever even crossed his mind. That’s the sole focus for the start of his tenure in Milwaukee, with a rather small ceiling for realistic, short-term growth.

It’s going to take some time, and probably more help on draft night, to get this franchise turned around. That won’t decrease the amount of pressure Kidd is facing, though.

He has to move these prospects along, as the Bucks simply cannot attract top-tier free agents. Milwaukee’s only available road to relevance involves several of its blue-chip players panning out, a process that could determine the fate of Kidd’s coaching career.

He’ll have to coach these players up because external assistance will be hard to come by in his new home. The hand he currently holds is the one he’ll likely be playing over the next few seasons. It’s his job to maximize the value of that hand.

Should he fail to deliver, it’s hard to imagine another front office giving him a shot. Not after the way he treated the one that gave him his first.

 

Unless otherwise noted, statistics used courtesy of NBA.com.

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Nets moving on after Bucks hire Kidd as coach (Yahoo Sports)

Jason Kidd’s jersey hung on the wall just to the right of Billy King, a reminder that the Brooklyn Nets lost more than a coach. ”Players come, coaches come, ownerships come and go, but the brand of the Nets will stay.” Kidd was hired Tuesday morning by the Milwaukee Bucks, a day after they sent two second-round picks to the Nets as compensation. King and his assistants had dinner Monday night with former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, and they planned to meet again Tuesday. King said he wants a coach in place ”soon.” He was surprised he had to hire another one so quickly after Kidd decided to bolt after just one season.

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Bucks hire Jason Kidd after making deal with Nets (Yahoo Sports)

The Milwaukee Bucks hired Jason Kidd as coach on Tuesday after completing a deal with the Brooklyn Nets. The Bucks sent the Nets two second-round picks for Kidd, who went 44-38 in his only season as Brooklyn coach. Milwaukee fired Larry Drew on Monday after reaching the deal for Kidd. Drew went 15-67, the worst record in the league, in his only season guiding the Bucks.

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Kidd to Bucks after Nets agree to deal (Yahoo Sports)

FILE - JUNE 30: According to reports June 30, 2014, the Milwaukee Bucks have hired Jason Kidd as head coach and fired coach Larry Drew. The Bucks will send two second-round draft to the Brooklyn Nets in compensation. MIAMI, FL - APRIL 08: Jason Kidd of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena on April 8, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets say Jason Kidd is free to coach Milwaukee after agreeing to a deal with the Bucks.


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