This edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” – Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews key upcoming 76ers games – features tonight’s opponent, the Milwaukee Bucks who after a loss to the Suns last night in Milwaukee are playing .500 ball for the season (18-18) and will be without Jabari Parker (ACL – done for the season); Ersan Ilyasova (concussion) and Larry Sanders (personal drama) tonight.
After the jump, I’ll look a Fo’ key items for tonight’s game. Additionally, we’ll get a little more insight into this Milwaukee team the Sixers face tonight from our colleague K L Chouinard at bucksketball.com, as KL will answer Fo’ questions on his Bucks from us here at Philadunkia.
Here are Fo’ key items I will be watching for tonight…
1) “The Greek Freak” — I’ll be very focused on Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks tonight. His recent surge in play has a lot of hoop heads talking. I have seen some of his recent action on NBA TV, but not enough to fully appreciate the rising star he has become. The NBA scouts / executives I speak with are crazy over his upside and I have a suspicion that for years Philadunkia nation will be debating Hinkie selecting Noel and/or MCW over Giannis during the 2013 NBA Draft.
2) KJ McDaniels — The rookie was in the first-five the other night against Cleveland and produced a solid 1st half stat line — 10 points of 4-5 shooting. However KJ went MIA for the rest of the night — 2 points in the 2nd half. To be honest, McDaniels has struggled in his last 5 games (6 ppg. on 34% shooting) and some (including this scribe) would probably argue that his slump extends back 10-12 games. I want Brown to start McDaniels again tonight and I’d like to see the rookie get involved early in the 1st Q and keep that momentum going for an entire game.
3) Keep the Mo’ — I’m not talking about former Sixer Mo Speights here. The Sixers put together a thrilling, come from behind win over the depleted and tired Cavaliers on Monday night. Aa similar opportunity presents itself tonight down at the WFC. The Bucks are missing several key players (Parker; Sanders; Ilyasova). Additionally, they played and lost last night to the Suns, in Milwaukee. I’d like to watch the Sixers use the momentum from the big win over the Cavs to generate a fast start tonight, bury MIL early in this one and then cruise to a second straight home win. A man can dream, cant’ he?
4) Wroten’s World — In his last 3 games, Wroten is averaging 25 points per night on 44% shooting from the field. He scored the game winner on Monday night and his play is trending upward over the last last 10 games. We all know he still jacks too many threes for a career 24% shooter (6-23 in his last 3 games) and commits so many frustrating TOs (16 in his last 3 games), but Brown loves him and if MCW is willing to defer like he did at clutch time on Monday, then I say let’s ride TWroe all the way during Tank 2.0. Basically I’ll be interested to see if Wroten comes crashing back to earth tonight against the Bucks who boast solid defensive stats and can guard perimeter players or if indeed this is Wroten’s World and I am just living in it.
And now…Fo’ Q&As with K L Chouinard at bucksketball.com:
Philadunkia: Giannis Antetokounmpo is posting great numbers this season and looks to be a rising star in this League. What do you like best about his game and what does he need to work on?
K L Chouinard at bucksketball.com: To answer in reverse, the thing he needs to work on is his jump shot. Last season, he had decent touch on his three-point shot, but was lost in the plays on defense and offense. This season, he has improved in virtually every respect, but his jumper has tailed off. He acts quite afraid of the shot, as if he’s been psyched out by it. (If there’s truth in humor: “What is your greatest fear?” “The three-point line.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrYw2qU63Yk.)
What I like best is that he’s a floor general, a willing and natural passer, a rim protector, and a go-to scorer — all wrapped up in one neat incredibly long bundle. As soon as he has a jump shot to go with it, he’ll be a top-5 NBA player.
Philadunkia: Any insights into the recent drama surrounding Larry Sanders?
K L Chouinard at bucksketball.com: I respect the fact that the Bucks are the employer for Larry Sanders and that there are privacy laws that dictate what an employer can or can’t make public. That said, it’s frustrating that his absence started as the flu and morphed into a personal absence almost as a footnote. Sanders has to deal with some issues that just don’t involve basketball. I hope he is marvelously successful and healthy, and if so, that he comes back to the Bucks.
Philadunkia: Brandon Knight’s play over his last 8 games has been tremendous (20.9 ppg. on 48.9% shooting). What have been the keys to his surge of late?
K L Chouinard at bucksketball.com: Knight is a terrific scorer. He can get to the rim almost at will, and he probably has the best jump shot on the team too. The only issue is that he has a tendency to take others out of the offense.
A couple of weeks ago, Kendall Marshall squeezed in a few starts and that helped, shifting Knight over to shooting guard. More recently, the Bucks have run more offense through Giannis instead of using Knight to initiate 100% of the plays.
Philadunkia: The Bucks are 3-2 in their last 5; 18-18 overall; and currently sit in 6th place in the East. Back in November, is this where you believed the Bucks would be at this point in the season?
K L Chouinard at bucksketball.com: Yes, and I have proof…(http://www.bucksketball.com/2014/10/are-the-2014-15-bucks-a-better-team-than-the-2012-13-bucks/). I compared this year’s team to the 38-win team of two season’s ago, and came away thinking that this year’s team was better.
And I love Luc Mbah a Moute, even if I had to be blunt and direct in this post to get the point across about the 2012-13 team not being very good. His level of play in Milwaukee was up and down. In 2012-13, it was mostly down. He has probably been a really good guy to have in the 76ers locker room.
Thanks to KL Chouinard for his time and answers.
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