No one seems to know much of anything regarding Larry Sanders’ absence from the Bucks at this point. So, instead of adding to the conjecture, let’s take a look at what this means for the Bucks on the court.
Earlier this season, I brought up the Bucks’ power forward problem in this space. Sanders absence, coupled with a torn Jabari Parker ACL and an Ersan Ilyasova concussion, has made the Bucks very thin on the front line.
The addition of 37-year-old Kenyon Martin earlier today brings another body to Milwaukee, but likely not much in terms of actual help. Instead of counting on his contribution, the Bucks will likely again employ the “next man up” approach, meaning fans should be looking at one man: John Henson.
Many have wondered when was the time for John Henson to break out, and when his glimpses of proficient basketball would translate into regular production or consistent playing time. His excellent rim protection numbers in limited time on the floor led many to question why Henson was not seeing the floor more often, but it didn’t seem to be a coincidence that in his first two seasons, three NBA coaches buried Henson on the bench, or that general manager John Hammond questioned Henson’s work ethic in a radio interview this past summer.
Whether or not these problems still exist, it seems as though it no longer matters. The Bucks simply don’t have the depth to keep Henson on the bench, meaning Henson needs to show Jason Kidd that he is worthy of significant time on the floor.
The early returns since Sanders has been away from the team have been encouraging for Henson, as he’s been protecting the rim as well as he has in the past and blocking shots at an impressive clip. However, for Henson, it has always been a matter of consistency.
Circumstances have presented John Henson with a big opportunity in the days and weeks to come. He can now prove he’s worthy of a bigger — and more consistent — role on the team.
Clip of the Week
This week’s clip is all about the Bucks’ entertaining third quarter Tuesday night at home against the Suns. There are stretches where the Bucks are among the most entertaining teams in the league. When the Bucks start flustering teams with their length defensively and attacking aggressively on the offensive end, it can turn into a flurry of dunks in a hurry.
What to Read
The Buzz Around the Bucks – Jerryd Bayless took some time out of his schedule to write about his experiences thus far in Milwaukee and his life in the NBA. It’s a really interesting look at the actual life and thoughts of an NBA player.
Get to Know: Giannis Antetokounmpo – Brew Hoop’s Aron Yohannes sat down with Antetokounmpo and asked him some questions about his continued development here in Milwaukee.
If Larry Sanders quits the NBA, he’s not wasting his talent – At the Guardian, Robert Silverman reminds us that Larry Sanders can choose whatever path he would like in life and doesn’t have to pursue a life in basketball for any reason.
Week in Review
Friday – C.J. Miles made 6-of-9 three pointers as the Indiana Pacers beat the Bucks 94-91. Brandon Knight added 20 points, seven assists, and four steals for the Bucks.
Sunday – The Bucks pushed their road winning streak to four games with a 95-82 victory over the New York Knicks. Five players ended the game in double figures, with Antetokounmpo and Zaza Pachulia both posting double-doubles.
Tuesday – After an entertaining third quarter, the Bucks couldn’t maintain their one-point lead in the fourth, falling 102-96 to the Phoenix Suns.
Wednesday – The Bucks won by 20 over the Philadelphia 76ers, which I guess is also a win for the 76ers as they’re looking for another top pick this season. The Bucks had five players score in double digits.
Next Week’s Preview
Friday – The Bucks try to figure out their recent home woes (four straight losses) against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite a surging Shabazz Muhammad, the Timberwolves have remained one of the league’s worst teams.
Saturday – Before heading to London, the Bucks will take on the Chicago Bulls in the second game of the I-94 series. The Bulls are one of the league’s hottest teams winning eight of their last ten games.
Stats of the Week
11.9/10.4 – In the last eight games without Sanders, Zaza Pachulia has averaged a double-double each night putting up 11.9 points and 10.4 rebounds. Those numbers nearly double his statistics (6.4ppg/5.1rpg) from his first 26 games this season. (via NBA Stats)
2.5 – John Henson has averaged 2.5 blocks per game in the eight games without Larry Sanders in the Bucks lineup. This is the league’s sixth highest number. (via NBA Stats)
46.7 – As a bench player, Jared Dudley is shooting 46.7 percent from the three point line. This is the third highest percentage among players who have come off the bench in at least 20 games this season. Khris Middleton is fifth at 44.6 percent. (via NBA Stats)
Quick Bucks is Milwaukee Magazine‘s weekly roundup of all things Milwaukee Bucks written by Eric Nehm. You can yell at Eric or show him a cooler jersey than a game-worn Terrell Brandon jersey on Twitter @eric_nehm. See the last Quick Bucks here.