Just when John Hammond was working the phones to add another piece for a playoff run, the Bucks slipped to the eighth seed and now are only three games from dropping to the ninth spot
What to do?
For now, the Bucks will try to get back on the winning track with a win against Washington Monday night. However, it feels as if the chemistry between the team is uncomfortable. With trade winds swirling, Brandon Jennings rumored to be looking to sign a max deal and Monta Ellis throwing bricks at the rim might be a loss or two from disaster.
It’s very possible the Bucks might require the return of Larry Sanders to turn around their recent woes. With Sanders scheduled to return Monday, perhaps John Hammond will look upon how the team’s chemistry gels on the court.
The Wizards have seen the quality of their play increase since the return of former No.1 overall pick, John Wall. Wall has averaged 14.7 ppg. and 7 assists a game, including a 17.25 player efficiency rating.
Washington greets the scuffling Bucks on an impressive three game winning streak. The Wizards defeated the Clippers, Nets and Knicks in that stretch. Since Wall’s return, the Wizards are the highest ranked defensive team in the NBA.
So, what can Bucks fans look forward to in Monday night’s game? After all, it seems like there are going to be some big changes a head for a Bucks team that can’t mesh. Will they add a shooter like J.J. Redick, trade Monta Ellis or Brandon Jennings (or both?), or maybe deal one of their talented power forwards for a position of need?
These are all questions that ring in the players’ brains whether they make it public or not. They know what the problems of this team are. I very rarely like to make murky predictions, but Brandon Jennings is probably going to get abused by John Wall Monday night. The Wizards are playing inspired basketball since Wall’s return. With all of the hype around Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose, some might be forgetting the other young phenom who hasn’t yet blossomed. Wall still has loads of talent and at almost 6’5” will be a tough matchup for Jennings. Wall can match Jennings’ quickness and challenge him with strength and size.
Ersan Ilyasova has been a steady force for the Bucks since 2013 began (or was it since he was inserted into the lineup by Jim Boylan? Hmmm..) but the Bucks have lacked a go-to scorer. Regardless of the game’s outcome Monday night, I think John Hammond will look to make a trade for a second legitimate scoring option to go alongside Ilyasova. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bucks traded anyone on the roster minus Sanders, so we’ll see what Hammond does. Expect the splash to reach the fence, though.
As for the Wizards, they’re on fire. The Bucks look tired and sick of playing with each other. This will be one of those games where the Bucks hang around for the first half and then lose by 20. I said preseason that the Wizards would be a team to watch out for. With an emerging Jordan Crawford and a healthy John Wall and Emeka Okafor, this team is for real. The Bucks will lose 109-94, but the good news is that hopefully change is on the horizon. Big change.