We're almost on the dawn of a brand new NBA season and with a promising draft class, the Bucks are younger, stronger and looking to impress this year.
With that said, here is the official WisSportsCentral season preview for the 2012-13 Milwaukee Bucks:
Luc Mbah a Moute
The Bucks roster currently sits at 19 players. However, the Bucks are only allowed to carry 12 on their active roster and must keep at least 1 on the inactive roster, where they can have up to 3 players (which includes players sent to the NBA Developmental League. In this case, it's likely the Bucks will either release Farrakhan, Greene and Tucker or send them to the D-League and then likely cut Daniels, Przybilla and Gill. Still, the Bucks would need to trim their roster by 1. Perhaps Gooden? Who knows...
Your 2012-13 starting lineup:
G - Brandon Jennings
G - Monta Ellis
F - Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
F - Ersan Ilyasova
C - Samuel Dalembert
Obviously, the Bucks will run the 1-2 punch of Jennings and Ellis at guard.
At forward, the only guarantee is Ilyasova. Earning a new contract this off-season, Ilyasova is going to have to prove he wasn't just having a "contract year."
I think that Mbah a Moute (who will be referred to as MaM from here on out) earns the other starting forward job over Harris and Dunleavy simply because of his stellar defensive play. Harris will see a much larger role with the Bucks this season, and it's possible that he will split time with MaM but I still think that he will start the season coming off the bench.
Coming to Milwaukee in the deal that sent Jon Leuer, Jon Brockman, Shaun Livingston and the 12th pick to Houston, Samuel Dalembert is the easy choice to start at center. Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh will get quality minutes at both the 4 and 5 spots as well, but Dalembert should see most of the minutes to begin the season.
G-F - Mike Dunleavy
G - Doron Lamb
G - Beno Udrih
F - Tobias Harris
F - John Henson
F-C - Larry Sanders
C-F - Drew Gooden
C-F - Ekpe Udoh
I think it's likely that Dunleavy will essentially be the team's "Sixth Man," taking over Carlos Delfino's role. Udrih will play PG whenever Ellis or Jennings aren't in. Henson should see about 20-25 minutes to start the season, mainly used in key defensive situations. Doron Lamb will hopefully translate his college game into being a solid contributor of 3-pointers. Harris' role is still uncertain to me, but I'm certain he will see plenty of playing time for a change. In the post, there will likely be a rotation between Sanders and Udoh as the pair are similarly effective on defense. Gooden will likely see garbage time this season, as his role this season should be more focused on simply being a "veteran presence." The Bucks have too many young players to develop so it would be a shame watching them waste away sitting on the bench.
What to expect:
I think this year's Bucks team has a decent amount of talent, but with a stacked Eastern Conference the postseason is likely just out of reach. It's a great thing to be young, but I'm afraid the Bucks might be too young. Defensively, they will be one of the best teams in the NBA. The Bradley Center will certainly be hosting a "block party" every night the Bucks are in town. Offensively, I'm afraid if Ellis or Jennings have an off shooting night, the Bucks don't really have anyone to step up and take over the scoring duty.
PREDICTION: 38-44, 3rd in Central Division, 9th in Eastern Conference.