Behind the Buck Pass editor Nick Whalen takes a quick look at four questions heading into Wednesday’s matchup with the Pistons.
Brandon Jennings and the Bucks severed ties this summer, and many believe Jennings still holds some hostility toward his former team. On the other side of the coin, Bucks fans aren’t exactly expected to roll out the welcome mat for their former point guard. How do you expect the Bradley Center to react when Jennings is introduced tonight, and how will Brandon handled his return to Milwaukee?
This game has been circled on a lot of Bucks fans’ calendars for quite some time now, and for good reason. I’m of the belief that most of the hatred lobbed at Jennings is unwarranted (he was traded, after all), but I don’t think that will stop fans from boo-ing him. It won’t be anywhere near Lebron or Dwight level (in part because the arena will only be half-full) but I’d be surprised if any cheers are audible. The real question is how will Jennings handle the reception? He was clearly jacked up to face his former team on Nov. 25 (a Pistons blowout victory), and those emotions will only be amplified tonight, even if just four of his Milwaukee teammates remain on the roster. I’m expecting another big game for Jennings. There aren’t many players in this league capable of thriving in a hostile environment, but Jennings would like nothing more than to prove he’s worth the lucrative extension the Bucks refused to offer him last season.
Andre Drummond is terrorizing opponents this season and is coming off a 10-point, 18-rebound performance in Tuesday’s win over Miami (in 23 minutes – he fouled out). How should the Bucks attempt to defend the athletic, second-year center and keep him off the glass?
The key to containing Drummond is obviously keeping him away from the rim, where he scores the overwelming majority of his points. His size and athleticism present a major mismatch for the Milwaukee front line (and nearly every other frontcourt in the league). Udoh? Too slow. Henson? Too skinny. Zaza? Well, you know. It’s really going to have to be a collective effort in keeping Drummond off the glass and out of the deep post. Milwaukee can allow him to get touches in the high post, but as soon as he’s within the restricted area it’s game over. Of course, the other aspect to containing Drummond is forcing him to the free throw line, where he shoots just 32 percent. Nope, not a typo. And that is somehow five percentage points lower than last season.
It’s the third installment of the Bucks’ free t-shirt Wednesday for certain sections. Thoughts on this week’s design?
I’m a big, big fan of this one. Last week was a bit of a disappointment, but the PR department came back strong in choosing this design. I’m about 70 percent sure it’s a play on that “Truck Yeah” song (one of the few country jams I officially endorse), so that’s an added bonus. No word yet on whether the model is included with the shirt.
Pick it: Will Milwaukee maintain its stranglehold on the floor of the East or avenge its earlier loss to Detroit?
I don’t see Detroit going on a massive run and opening up a nearly insurmountible lead in the first half as was the case when these teams met last, but I also don’t see Milwaukee keeping this one close. Jennings is going to come out attacking, and the Bucks really don’t have the size to counter Detroit’s Drummond-Monroe-Smith front line. Matching up with Smith, especially, will be an issue, especially early on when he’s expected to be guarded by the undersized Khris Middleton. Let’s go with 97-84 Pistons.