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Thu, November 15, 2012

Are the Bucks sucking you in yet?

I know, the Bucks aren’t the most popular sports franchise in the State of Wisconsin but with their 5-2 start and exciting style of play, the interest level is picking up steam.

Of course, there are 75-games left in the season and the likelihood of the Bucks continuing this pace to finish around 59-23 is far-fetched.  However, a competitive team is something Milwaukee will benefit from and fans WILL embrace.

Why is this team playing so well?  I think it’s fairly simple…

#1.) Solid Roster – I know, there is no Lebron James or Kevin Durant on the roster…however; there is no Jon Brockman or Marcus Haislip either.  Pretty much, 1-to-12, everyone on the roster is NBA capable.  I get that John Henson and Doron Lamb are unknown as rookies, but I am confident both will play in the league for years.  Credit goes to John Hammond for the team he has put together.

#2.) Scott Skiles – People were concerned about Skiles as a “lame duck” Coach this season since his contract expires at the end of the year.  This could be working in the Bucks favor, thought.  Skiles has been known for being a tough-nosed individual who will sit players regardless of contract/star power/ego if they aren’t selling out for him.  I think the last couple years, he got away from that in fear of being fired.  This year, he doesn’t care because if they don’t win and buy into to what he is selling, he is gone anyway!

#3.) Brandon Jennings – Two categories on the stat sheet that stand-out with him are steals and assists.  Jennings has stepped his game up in both areas and by doing so he has answered some critics (thus far).  He is averaging 3.1 steals (1.5 for his career), a stat that signifies a step up in defense (something that he was criticized for).  His assists are up as well to 7.9 (at 5.5 for his career).  He is being the floor general teams expect their point guards to be.

#4.) Larry Sanders – Have you seen Larry play?  His energy is magnetic but at the same time his game has taken a complete 180.  Sanders is averaging 10.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks on the season; all up from the microscopic digits he posted his first two seasons.  Bucks fans for years have looked for that energy guy to get behind:  Ervin Johnson, Darvin Hamm, Dan Gadzuric (before his contract).  Sanders is killing that role this year.

#5.) Nothing to lose – Yup, I think everything points to this.  Hammond and Skiles don’t have contracts after this year.  Brandon Jennings did not get the contract extension he expected.  Monte Ellis is likely to opt out of his deal.  No one picked them to do everything.  So why not shock the world?  In fact, why not shock the nay-sayers in Wisconsin!

Plenty of room is available on the bandwagon!  Maybe I will see you sitting next to me sooner than later.

Follow Justin Hull on Twitter or email any questions or comments.

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