The Milwaukee Bucks will kick off their preseason-schedule on Tuesday in Canton against the Cavaliers. To prepare, the team held an open practice on Thursday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, a practice that had a lot of eye-opening highlights for fans, coaches, and players.
Twenty-year old forward Tobias Harris was the big name of the night on Thursday, scoring a game-high nineteen points for the White team. Harris and his teammates for the day would ultimately lose to the Black side by four, though his performance may have thrust the second-year rookie into a starting role for Tuesday's game in Ohio.
Head coach Scott Skiles remained vague when asked about the former Tennessee Volunteers chances at starting in-place of the injured Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in the Bucks first test of the 2013 season. Usually outspoken, the league veteran told reporters that his roster is exceptionally deep at the forward position, and that Harris was just as likely as anybody else to get the starting spot. He reminded media personnel that while Harris had made strong strides during camp, the youngster still had improvements to make, and that even if he did manage the starting job on Tuesday, the roster is almost certain to change before the regular season begins later this month.
John Henson Not Ready For Prime Time Role Just Yet
As deep as the chart is up front for the Bucks, we know at least one name won't be called up for the starting role. Rookie power forward John Henson was picked-up by the Bucks during the off-season, after a successful run in the farm system showed some promise. He scored ten points on Thursday for the winning side, but, despite the talent, Skiles was much more honest about Henson's progress thus-far, admitting that he had a long way to go before he would be ready to jump on the court in a game that carried any weight.
As far as the coach's thoughts on the team's open practice went, it was obvious he wasn't overly impressed. Insistent on remaining fairly hushed about the night, Skiles would only say that he saw both good and bad performances, and that it was what was to be expected for the third day of training camp.
Beyond Harris positive night, most of the Bucks regulars also put up respectable numbers. Drew Gooden put up a team-high eleven points for the winning side, while starting guards Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings added six apiece; Jennings also earned nine assists. Along with Harris, Ersan Ilyasova and Beno Udrih were the stand-outs on the White squad on Thursday. The pair combined for twenty-seven points on the night, Ilyasova putting down four-of-seven from beyond the arc.