The Other Side: Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks were expected to be among the dregs of the league, with the team letting free agents Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions walk for nothing, making a risky draft choice with some kid who put up mediocre numbers in Italy and opening the season with an injured all-star in Michael Redd.
But Scott Skiles has the Bucks off to a surprising 9-7 start as they arrive at Verizon Center on Wednesday. Rookie Brandon Jennings quickly exploded onto the scene, leading the Bucks to eight wins in their first 11 games. The Bucks snapped a four-game losing streak on Monday with a 99-97 win over the Chicago Bulls. Milwaukee has won four consecutive games over the Wizards.
Here's what else you need to know about the Bucks.
1. Brandon Jennings is the early favorite for rookie of the year. Jennings had his coming out party early, when he erupted for 55 points against Golden State. After skipping college at Arizona to play professionally in Italy last season, Jennings has already drawn comparisons to Allen Iverson. But Scott Skiles cautions about getting too caught up in the hype because Jennings is still learning to adjust to the NBA. In the first 11 games, Jennings averaged 25.3 points on 47.9 percent shooting. In the past five games, he has averaged 14.2 points on 29.8 percent shooting.
2. Andrew Bogut is back. He got kicked in the leg on Nov. 18 and was expected to miss four to six weeks. But after missing the previous six games with a left leg injury, Bogut had 22 points and 15 rebounds against the Chicago Bulls. The 2005 No. 1 overall pick is averaging 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.
3. Michael Redd, the best second-round pick Ernie Grunfeld ever drafted, didn't travel with the team because of soreness in his left knee. Redd has been limited to just five games this season and he hasn't come close to resembling his former self. He averaged 9.8 points and shot 27.8 percent with the Bucks going 1-4 with him. But the Bucks will rely on defensive specialist Charlie Bell in the interim and wait for Redd to join forces with Jennings.
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