Los Angeles Clippers at Milwaukee Bucks
BMO Harris Bradley Center
4:30 p.m. PST
December 13, 2014
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
Let’s just hope the Bucks have a well-working court for Saturday night…or let’s hope otherwise and pray we get to see unthinkable Zaza Pachulia shots.
1. If the season ended today, would Jabari Parker be the deserving Rookie of the Year?
Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball, (@Bucksketball): The pool of candidates seems shallower than you’d expect, given the hype around this year’s draft class. I’d say Parker would probably win it today, but it seems like Andrew Wiggins is on track to pass him up by season’s end.
Law Murray, (@LawMurrayTheNU): I mean, someone has to win it, right? Only nine rookies are even playing 20 minutes per game, and Parker is just under 30 minutes per game, while leading all rookies going into Friday night with a modest 12.5 points per game. That would be the fewest points per game from a rookie leader in the shot clock era, but I guess that’s not a big deal in this era of low expectations for rookies.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): Parker probably would win if the season ended today, but I’m going completely off the map with who I think is most deserving: KJ McDaniels, who’s further along defensively than Jabari and whose athleticism stands out on a team of scrubs every night.
2. Why are the Bucks so much better this year than a season ago?
Schmidt: How could a team not actively trying to be worse be worse than last season’s Bucks team? It just seems like by nature, this team had to be better than that team. But the growth of Giannis and better veteran play has been key.
Murray: To be clear, the Bucks still aren’t good. They are only marginally better than last year offensively, leading the league in turnovers. But Jason Kidd, crazy as he is, is an upgrade on Larry Drew at head coach. He has improved Milwaukee’s defense from the worst in the league last year to the top-half of the league, prioritizing ball pressure (Bucks lead the league in steals).
Katz: Length and growth…and I don’t just mean because Giannis keeps growing. The mental growth of this squad is noticeable, and it’s rode smarts, athleticism, youth and so many inches of arm to becoming the NBA’s ninth-ranked defense.
3. How should the Bucks defend Chris Paul?
Schmidt: Aggressively, in a manner that gets the ball out of his hands as quick and often as possible. They’ll throw extra bodies at him in pick and rolls and offer plenty of help when he gets by Brandon Knight. Of course, he’ll rack up assists, but at least others will have to do the damage.
Murray: This is an intriguing matchup, as Milwaukee’s strength is forcing turnovers, while Chris Paul continues his mastery of control by leading the league in assist:turnover ratio. Sounds crazy, but I’d leave Brandon Knight alone with Paul and focus on closing off his passing lanes. Last time Kidd faced Paul as head coach, Paul had 20 points but only two assists and three turnovers in a Clippers loss in Brooklyn last December.
Katz: Why not throw Greek Freak on him for stretches? Paul is most uncomfortable against length, and if the end goal of this squad is to develop talent first and foremost, couldn’t defending the league’s best point guard do wonders for one of your franchise cornerstones, especially if he finds some success?