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10:30 PM ET, 5/03/06
Stotts did little to advance Bucks' cause
Posted by Kelly Dwyer
Terry Stotts didn't make the right calls in his first season as the Bucks' coach.
Detroit's 4-1 series conquest over a flighty Bucks squad didn't really teach us anything new about the defending Eastern Conference champs. They're still an ornery bunch of winners, and a team that rarely stops moving on offense. The latter affectation is driven home by the fact that 67 percent of their field goals in this series came off of an assist. Clearly, the Pistons have proved that they're prone to defensive lapses, but -- in terms of potential, at least -- Detroit is still second only to San Antonio when it comes to shutting down the opponent's offense.
Milwaukee also didn't teach us anything in its loss, which is much more distressing. We were hoping the Bucks would find some sort of defensive spark or offensive flow. Instead, coach Terry Stotts' crew cemented its reputation as a bunch that has a lot to figure out -- from the front office on down.
To me, it begins and ends with Stotts. It was hard to pass judgment on his time in Atlanta; his Hawks teams averaged 22 roster slots a season and dealt with seemingly unending ownership issues. Any "what is that coach thinking?" moment was tempered by the fact that he was coaching in front of 900 fans and banking on big minutes from Chris Crawford. Though the Bucks began the year with four new starters (no team had ever made the postseason after that sort of roster turnaround), most thought Stotts would at least be up to the task of improving Milwaukee's 27th-best defense from 2005, while holding the fort on a humdrum offense.
And he did improve the defense, to 25th overall. Break out the Champale.
Everything else was a mess. Though the team's offense kept the Bucks among the ranks of the mediocre, it was mainly due to the talent GM Lenny Harris had acquired, in concert with the return of T.J. Ford and continued maturation of Michael Redd. There was no consistent pattern to Milwaukee's attack, all of Bobby Simmons' or Andrew Bogut's offensive touches seemed to come off of broken plays, and this clueless play carried over to the Detroit series.
Trading for Jamaal Magloire complicated things. Magloire was thought to be the perfect complement for Bogut, a rookie who could use someone watching over his shoulder. Because Magloire was an All-Star in 2004 (chosen exclusively because of his position, because there was no way Mags was even in the top 30 Eastern Conference talents at the time) and the Bucks gave up a superfluous talent in Desmond Mason, Stotts decided to ride the big man for 30 minutes a game. The problem is, Magloire pretty much stinks, and the Bucks already had Bogut's bangin' big brother on the roster when they added Mags.
All Dan Gadzuric does is rebound, block shots and finish around the basket (at a significantly higher success rate than Magloire). Stotts, for some reason, held those traits against him and gave Gadzuric but 12 minutes a night. Even more shocking, Bogut and Gadzuric didn't spend a single SECOND on the court together in the regular season. Not one. After spending half the summer wondering how well the two would play alongside each other, needless to say, this was a little shocking.
Stotts didn't try the pairing until the Bucks were down 30 to the Pistons in Game 5. Immediately upon Gadzuric's inclusion, the Bucks started beating Detroit (still sporting two starters) down the floor and notched a 16-5 run before Bogut left the game. It was another curious move for Terry, who passed on inserting offensive spark plug Charlie Bell (instrumental in Milwaukee's late playoff run and limited postseason success) until the Bucks were down 26 in the third quarter.
Now, everyone knew the Bucks would win around half their games this year, figure out what they had in Ford and Bogut, and find themselves happy with a truncated playoff run. The end result is no disappointment. And yet, the fact that the Bucks played up to expectations may hurt them more than it helps them, especially if Stotts is allowed to roam the sidelines next season.
Its good to see somebody comment on Dan Gadzuric's lack of playing time. Somebody needs to give Stotts a kick in the butt because he fails to recognize that Magloire, while a rebounding machine, is dead slow and can't keep up with a Buck's offense that to win games needs to utilize the transition offense. Magloire needs to be traded as he doesnt fit into the Buck's system. All hes doing is taking up a spot on the floor and cap space.
Magloire is a slow big butt. Mo Williams is a chucker. Gadzooks needs more PT. Stotts doesn't even deserve to be a head coach. The only chance this Redd led squad has is if Bogut can become a consistent post scorer.
Mr. Dwyer - I just want to say that I am impressed with your writing. You are very observant and have a writing style that is similar to (although not the same as) Dr. Z on NFL matters. You have quickly become one of my favorite writers on cnnsi.com. Thanks for all the columns - keep up the good work...
I'm a Detroit fan to the end, and have been since I was 7 years old when they won their first championship back in 89'. But I don't understand why Stotts didn't play Mo Williams or Charlie Bell more then a few minutes a game. I've watched Bell since his MSU days and Williams his rookie year at Utah and I'm not sure why they sat so much. Plus Milwaukee is a sinking ship, which for his sake, I hope they don't drag Redd down with them. He has way too much potential to be stuck on a team that, with the current front office and coaching decisions being made, is going nowhere fast. Bottom line: Too much individual talent + not enough surrounding talent + close-minded front office staff = ...Allen Iverson anyone?
Thank you for those in depth comments. The Pistons are a very fine team. Maybe the 2006 champions. But Milwaukee has talent that was very poorly used. Magliore was exposed as a strong rebounder with nothing else. Joe Smith does littleto nothing.
But the issus is why did't Bogut, Gadzeric, ford, bell and redd lead things? Nite after nite. Bobby Simmons also was exposed as a perimeter shooter with few other skills. No driving, no passing, little defense, no boards at 9mill a year! Next year keep the "real" players and get an established coach and you'll see results. Trust me.
Stotts was overmatched as head coach this year, that's become painfully obvious. The Bucks played nowhere near up to their level of talent, which was poorly used night in and night out. We had tons of bigs, yet hardly ran plays to them. Bogut had some bumpy spots, but showed a consistant touch around the basket, yet he was hardly ever more than an afterthought on offense. TJ Ford could flash brilliance as a creator, yet looked for his own shot too often. All of thse issues were obvious throughout the season, yet Stotts never addressed them. Finally, I would expect Magloire to be shipped out this summer, possibly to Memphis, he doesn't fit the Bucks at all.
Totally agree with your comments on the Magliore-Gadzuric issue. Every night I'm watching the boxscores and seeing Dan put up about the same numbers as Magloire, except he does it in about have of the time Jamal gets. Glad I'm not the only one wondering what's going on there. By the way, Dan had 13 points in 9 minutes before leaving with a sprained ankle I hope next season he gets more PT.
I went to the game last night and your analysis of Stotts is on point. Gadzuric got into the game and played well & hustled even when the game was out of reach showed me what type of player he is. Charlie Bell was a defensive stopper at MSU. Why didn't Stotts put him on Rip instead of letting Rip ring up 40 through 3 quarters on the tiny TJ Ford. TJ Ford is nice, but he's not an NBA starter.
This guy is not head coach material. He'd make a great assistant. A pathetic motivator. Team played better before adjusting to his "system". Hopefully this blowout loss in game 5 will seal Stotts' fate as coach of the Bucks.
WOW that is amazing. I didn't know that Bogut and Gadzuric had not spent a single second together on the floor. That is almost incomprehensible. That means that for the entire year not once did Stotts play Bogut at C and Gadzuric at PF at the same time in positions where they are much much more suited. Amazing.
What Bogut needed was an athletic big guy next to him that he could pass to and get the ball off... and instead he played the entire season with Magloire the slug blocking and taking up his space. Stotts must be sacked on the strength of that astonishing statistic right there. What a waste of a years development.
Kelly, you brought up the exact same point Rick Mahorn was making on the Pistons' radio broadcast, "Why is Dan Gadzuric seeing the floor?" Gadzuric is athletic enough to fight the Pistons' bigs, and plays a solid all around game. Was he in Stotts' doghouse? Why?
Very astute observations in this article...too bad the local buck's writers would NEVER come up with something like this.
I was shocked to read Bogut and Gadzuric were never on the floor together until the final playoff game in garbage time.
Magloire and one of the guards Mo or TJ needs to go and an athletic PF w/ shot-blocking and fast break finishing needs to be added to start alongside Bogut, who can finally play his natural C position.
Simmons has been disappointing and I think Larry (not Lenny) Harris may have jumped the gun in signing him after his Most Improved Player Award last year. Maybe they can dump Simmon's and Magloire...I'd like to see a Jared Jeffries type player w/ Bogut and Gadzuric.
danny g deserves a lot more clock, i am so glad that someone else finally observed that, and the fact that larry harris overreacted when he thought he could get a big name coach like flip saunders and fired terry porter, a totally bad move, and terry stotts proved that he is not a very good head coach, bad rotations, lack of playing time to deserving players such as toni kukoc and dan gadzuric, and sticking way too much with simmons and magloire, while the magloire trade goes down as a horrible trade from the milwaukee end giving up both des mason and this years first rounder for the second coming of anthony mason
i hope the bucks make the necessary changes this offseason starting with dumping terry stotts
I think we have good players way on down deep into the bench. I don't understand how Stotts can't utilize this talent. Many box scores show the big men shooting over 50% but with only a few shots, and like Dwyer says, cleanup points from busted plays. It's nice that Mo and TJ learned how to shoot but at the expense of ignoring the middle. Bucks finally have good inside players. Learn from a good passing team like Detroit and pass inside too. Move quickly off the passes. Don't wait for the D to close in. TJ, Mo, and especially Redd, pass it in, and you'd be surprised how many open looks you'll get back in return. Redd's problem is that he's the best catch-n-shoot player in the NBA and can hit a shot with an armpit in his face -- but NOT ALL THE TIME.
I almost want the bucks to trade Gadzuric just so the guy gets the playing time he deserves on another team. Apparently Stotts thought it would be a good idea to put him in late in the forth quarter after the game was essentially over. Dan gets in, 13 points and a sprained ankle later the series is over. A little late don't you think? The thing is, he's been doing it all year. What is it going to take to get him on the floor Terry?
Demeaning Stotts for the Bucks performance in this series is about as relevant to the outcome as chicken little screaming the sky is falling. Indeed, to suggest anything other than how over-matched the Bucks were as the reason for their defeat only perpetuates the national disrespect for the dominance of the Detroit Pistons. Give respect where it is due.
Stotts seemed to have the least discipline and control over his players and his system then any other coach in the NBA this season.He let one-dimensional players like Mo Williams and Tj Ford play way beyond their limits while never structuring anything to reward Milwaukees talented big men inside. The only way that I can envision Milwaukee having success is by bringing in a point guard that knows how to slow the pace down and run a half court offense thus disciplining the team to look inside as its first option.That way most of Redds shots will come not off the drive and kick but rather on the defenses collapsing on the bigs and a kick (this anyway is a more inclusive way to get the ball back out to the perimeter and creates an easier momentumn for the shooter to launch his shots. If the bigs fail to apply pressure on the defense and the play breaks down then they can set multiple screens for Redd to get open on the perimeter. On top of this Milwaulkee neeeds to bring in a bunch of long athletic players off the bench just in case they need to change up the pace of the game and also for defensive purposes (ie trade for Travis Outlaw or a Gerald Wallace or something)