Jason Kidd likes to give his players written tests before games, with 10 questions about match-ups, opposing team tendencies, and sometimes some historical trivia.
So in this spirit, let's see how knowledgeable we are of the Bucks (answers at the bottom of the article):
A) Where is Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference standings?
- 5th or 6th
- 7th or 8th
- 9th or 10th
- Down in the tanking depths
B) What is Giannis Antetokounmpo's nickname?
- The Greek Freak
- Feta World Peace
- The Alphabet
- Both 1 and 3
C) Which one of these players is not currently a starter:
- Khris Middleton
- O.J. Mayo
- Zaza Pachulia
- Ersan Ilyasova
D) Who steals the most per game (Michael Carter-Williams and Jabari Parker not included)?
- Zaza Pachulia
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Khris Middleton
- Jared Dudley
E) Trade Deadline: Players traded + players acquired:
Trade Deadline, Before and After
Milwaukee surprised many fans to start the season. Up until the trade deadline, their record stood at 30-23. Not bad at all considering preseason expectations. You can attribute that early success to great chemistry, a thirsty coach, the emergence of some of their younger talent, and some savvy veterans.
Then the Brandon Knight trade happened. One of the more surprising moves at the trade deadline - he was the heart of their offense, and since then, they've gone 2-5, with losses to the Lakers, Jazz and Nuggets. Granted, Michael Carter-Williams is just 4 games deep, both back from injury and adjusting to his new surroundings. It's going to take a little time.
After this last road trip, the Warriors can look forward to a home-heavy schedule. They have 15 games left in Oakland, including tonight, and 9 games on the road. There's both a 4-game and a 3-game road trip left.
The Bucks are in the midst of a grind similar to what the Warriors just experienced. Tomorrow's game will mark their 4th game in 5 nights. They lost to the Shaw-less Nuggets last night, which was probably a game they figured they had a decent shot at. That marks their third straight loss. They can go all out in Oakland though, as they have two days to rest up after this game.
Leandro Barbosa is questionable for the Warriors. Andrew Bogut gets to play against his former club - does he carry the momentum he had from last game? Does Shaun Livingston continue to ride the wave he's been on? Is Festus Ezeli still motivated after the Toronto incident? Does Klay Thompson redeem himself after his poor shooting night? So many questions.
O.J. Mayo sat out against Denver last night, with a hamstring injury (questionable for tonight). He's currently their best 3-point shooter. Ersan Ilyasova, Kris Middleton and Jared Dudley dabble, but aren't usually threatening, at least in the splashing kind of way.
In the last 2 weeks, Milwaukee has 9 players that are playing roughly 20 minutes or more per game. That's a deep rotation. Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee have both been over 10 minutes per game. Don't worry, the Bucks will still be tired tonight.
Their squad hasn't been scoring efficiently; they're ranked 23rd in points per possession.
Doesn't matter all that much when you play good defense though. They're second in the league in terms of defensive efficiency (behind... you guessed it). Here's a breakdown of how they rank at defending shots by distance from the basket:
|less than 5||7th|
This is a homecoming for Jason Kidd too, let's not forget. Raised in Oakland, he also played for the Golden Bears at UC Berkeley - Freshman of the Year honors, All-Pac-10 team, multiple school and NCAA steal/assist records, All-American. He did alright.
His coaching debut with Brooklyn was a bit bizarre. Marred by an off-season DWI, he was suspended for his first 2 games. Then he proceeded to lead the Nets to the playoffs, defeated Toronto in 7 games (game 7 on the road), and fell to Miami 4-1. Not bad, especially considering where that team has been since then. After an abrupt and sour departure from Brooklyn, he now appears to be hitting his stride in Milwaukee.
That deep rotation is always a good sign, both in terms of chemistry and reducing the likelihood of injuries. You have to give Kidd some credit for the way his team has performed thus far.
- The only player to ever make it on a Zach Lowe podcast is Jared Dudley (2/11). It's a great podcast - if you have 50 minutes to spare, I highly recommend it. Some topics include: Chemistry, Alvin Gentry (when he was with the Suns), Dudley's departure from the Clippers, and Kidd's written tests. Check it out here.
- The Dubs' chemistry is still at a high. On the flight back, Harrison Barnes was pressured by Bogut to answer questions on twitter, and a bunch of Warriors got involved on the flight as well, by the looks of it. Check out his twitter here.
- Festus Ezeli had a message for Warriors fans yesterday:
Tough loss. Gonna head home finally to The Best Fans in the World. Missed YAll— Festus Ezeli (@fezzyfel) March 3, 2015
Answers: A - 1, B - 4 (check out some other nominees here, I can't take credit for 'Feta World Peace'), C - 2, D - 3, E - 4 (+Tyler Ennis, +Miles Plumlee, +Michael Carter-Williams, -Brandon Knight, -Kendall Marshall).