Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bucks Miss Winners Bracket In Summer League Play

Bucks Summer Leage John Schurna
The Milwaukee Bucks concluded their five-game series in the annual Summer League last week. The team finished with a match-up against San Antonio on Friday, ending the tournament on a sour note, losing 80-to-90. Overall, the Bucks managed two wins and three losses during the week, falling out of contention for the winner’s-bracket on Thursday with a loss to the Lakers.

Milwaukee's tenure at this year's Summer League was at times sparsely populated. First-year head coach Larry Drew was absent from the second-half of the tournament, instead traveling to Europe to watch recent first-round draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo perform in the FIBA U-20 Championships. With the exception of Larry Sanders, no other returning-veteran team members attended, and even young highlight-maker John Henson was sat for two contests.
The missing faces did create opportunities for some new-comers, however. Freshly-hired assistant Nick Van Exel made his debut against the Spurs, acting at the helm in lieu of Drew. The former pro, and Kenosha native, told reporters following the game that he was excited to be back in Wisconsin as a coach, and he even fielded in-depth questions like a true head coach. Bob Bender and Scott Williams join Van Exel as assistants under Drew in 2013.

On the court, John Shurna replaced Henson in the line-up Friday night. Creating a name for himself at Northwestern, the 6”9' power forward took full-advantage of the playing-time, earning 14 points and four rebounds in his first game as a Buck. Rookie Nate Wolters also saw increased court-time with the sidelining of Henson against San Antonio. The South Dakota State graduate recovered from a dismal start to his Las Vegas stay, which saw him miss all seven of his attempted 3's coming into Friday. He scored 20 points against the Spurs, including one three to break his drought.

Despite the promising showings of Wolters and Shurna, Henson's trio of games was still the talk of the town upon the team's return to Milwaukee. He led the roster, averaging nearly 15 points and 14 rebounds per game. Henson is likely to see an ample increase in playing-time in 2013, as a number of starters from 2012 have already departed.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bucks Three Way Trade Brings Ridnour Back To Milwaukee

Bucks Luke Ridnour
The Milwaukee Bucks were part of a three legged trading stool on Thursday, announcing their involvement in a multi-team trade. General Manager John Hammond told reporters that the team had ended negotiations with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder, acquiring point guard Luke Ridnour in exchange for rights to 10-year veteran Szymon Szewczyk. Milwaukee also received a 2014 second round pick in the deal, as well as cash from Oklahoma City.

The agreement was a tad convoluted, as Ridnour and the pick both came from Minnesota, though Szewczyk went to the Thunder. The Timberwolves benefit from the Bucks was the weight of Ridnour's $4.3 million 2013 contract off their shoulders. To clear cap space to make way for incoming guard Kevin Martin from Oklahoma City, Minnesota needed a team to take over that contract. Milwaukee was in the market for a backup at the position, also tentative waiting to hear on an offer made to potential Monta Ellis replacement Jeff Teague.

Ridnour is the latest in a trio of veterans to come back to the Bucks this off-season. He joins Zaza Pachulia and Carlos Delfino in re-donning the uniform, the three combining to have nearly 30 years in the league. Ridnour returns after spending two seasons in Milwaukee in 2008 and 2009, Pachulia was here in 2004 before moving onto a seven year tenure in Atlanta. Delfino is the most recent familiar face to return, managing just one season with the Rockets after three years in Milwaukee from 2009 to 2012.

Ridnour primarily played an off-the-bench role for the Bucks during his two years with the team. He started 50 games in 2008, though was a reserve for the entire 2009 season. The 32 year old Idaho Native took advantage of his court time when he got it, however, averaging 10 points per game.

Since 2009, he hasn't lost a step. As a starter in Minnesota, Ridnour has improved his average to over 11 points and nearly four assists per game. Despite his age, his health has been impeccable as well. He started all 82 games for the Timberwolves in 2012, and hasn't sustained a major injury over 722 games in the NBA since 2003.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bucks Summer League 2013 Roster

Milwaukee Bucks Summer league
The Bucks unveiled their highly anticipated summer league roster this week. Nearly 20 recent acquisitions, D-League reserves, and young standouts are scheduled to appear for the team at the annual Las Vegas tournament, some earning their first court time in the professionals. The team will hold five practice sessions at the Cousins Center before making the trip to Nevada on July 13th.

2013’s summer roster has proven to be an unusually satisfying one. A number of notable names appear on the list, including international players, college graduates, and D-Leaguers. Familiar names like John Henson from the organization’s past summer leagues and the 2012 season will also be back again this year.

Henson joins Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith as the only summer leaguers to have seen playing time with the Bucks last season. Ayon and Smith saw just twenty-five games combined with the team after coming-in as earmarks on the J.J. Redick trade, though Henson saw more than 60 in his rookie season in the NBA. The 2012 first-round pick will be the most scrutinized player on the summer roster, as analysts wait to see if he can break-out in his second year with Milwaukee.

Speaking of drafts, only second-round pick Nick Wolters will represent the Bucks 2013 class in Las Vegas. His predecessor in the process, first-round pick Giannis Antetokounmpo was forced to bow-out of the tournament to fulfill commitments to the Greek National Team. Wolters, originally taken 38th overall by Philadelphia before moving to Milwaukee, enters his inaugural professional season a recent graduate of South Dakota State. The guard exited the school as the university’s all-time leading scorer.

Local alma mater alumni Mike Bruesewitz and Junior Cadougan are also on the Bucks summer league roster. The pair, hailing from Wisconsin and Marquette respectively, worked out for the team in the spring, though were not drafted in June.

Scott Suggs of Washington and Steven Pledger of Oklahoma will also join the team in Las Vegas as undrafted free agents. Demetris Nichols is the oldest player to be rostered at 31. He has appeared in 18 NBA games since 2007, and played last season in the D-League in Sioux Falls.

2013 Milwaukee Bucks Summer League Roster

Gustavo AyĆ³n
Jaka Blazic
Mike Bruesewitz
Junior Cadougan
Clint Chapman
Chris Daniels
Kenny Frease
John Henson
Dominique Jones
Andreja Milutinovic
Demetris Nichols
Steven Pledger
John Shurna
Xavier Silas
DeShawn Sims
Ish Smith
Scott Suggs
Nate Wolters