Tag:Andrew Bogut
Posted on: January 27, 2012 4:25 pm
 

Bogut out 8-12 weeks with ankle injury

Bogut will miss most of the rest of the season with an ankle injury. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

Andrew Bogut can't catch a break. Bad choice of words. But you know what I mean.

The Bucks announced Friday that Bogut suffered a left ankle fracture that will sideline him for 8-12 weeks. Which is essentially the rest of Milwaukee's season. If he were to return on the optimistic side of that, he's be back in late March.

Bogut was injured in Wednesday night’s win at Houston (January 25) when his left foot landed awkwardly on a Rockets player’s foot after attempting to block a shot in the first period.  In 12 games this season, Bogut averaged 11.3 points, a team-high 8.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steal and a team-high 2.0 blocked shots in 30.0 minutes per contest.

Basically, the Bucks are in big trouble without their big man. Last season, Bogut had to try and overcome a horrific elbow injury that happened late in 2010. As a result, the Bucks weren't anywhere as good as they should've been.

And with the bottom of the East up for grabs, Bogut could've really helped Milwaukee get in position to make a strong playoff run. But now without him, they are going to be on the fringes.

Rookie Jon Leuer will get a lot of time as well as Drew Gooden, but there's no way you can replace a player as skilled defensively and offensively as Bogut. He was just now kind of recovering completely from the elbow thing and now his ankle gets broken. Bogut has been pretty unlucky these past few seasons and by extension, so have the Bucks.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 11:04 am
Edited on: January 26, 2012 7:11 pm
 

Bucks C Andrew Bogut (ankle) out indefinitely

Bogut sustained another ankle injury Wednesday night. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver

Update (7:05 p.m.): The MIlwaukee Bucks announced on Thursday that starting center Andrew Bogut underwent an MRI on his left ankle, which revealed a fracture that is going to keep him out "indefinitely." The Journal Times reports that "indefinitely" means that Bogut will miss at least two weeks.

Bogut is averaging 11.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.0 blocks per game this season. The Bucks are currently 7-10 on the season.

Original Post:

In another in a continuing theme this week, struggling teams who have started to put it together suffering significant injuries to their best player, Milwuakee Bucks center Andrew Bogut suffered yet another injury Wednesday night, and he's afraid how the diagnostic tests could wind up on this one. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
After the game, Bogut sat in front of his locker with a grimace on his face and a large black boot on his left foot.

"It wasn't good," Bogut said. "I knew when I came down I was in some trouble. Keeping optimistic, everything's fine with the X-ray, but that's to be expected. I know I didn't break a bone."

But tomorrow's the day of reckoning where I go under the MRI machine and find out my fate."

The best-case scenario would be a severely sprained ankle, but even that would be likely to sideline Bogut for a week or more.

"I'm not optimistic. With my history of unlucky injuries I'm hoping this one can do me a favor and go away. Most of my injuries are unfortunate things and this goes in the same boat as that. It's frustrating."
via Bogut fears worst with latest injury - JSOnline.

 That sound you hear is Bucks fans lining up at the booze counter to forget their troubles. 

Um, at least it wasn't a horrifying elbow injury that makes you wish you'd never see it ever? (Note: Do not click that link. Not safe for anyone, ever.)

Bogut's comments have to have you concerned. Any basketball player knows what a sprain feels like, they've had severe ones regularly, it's unavoidable. The fact that Bogut's talking about it being worse than that, despite the X-ray being negative, is just not a good sign at all. That implies ligament damage, and Bogut's had enough injuries (for ten men) to know how that feels.

Without him, the Bucks season implodes. They've just recently started winning, with some more efficiency from Brandon Jennings and better overall offense. But Bogut is the glue that holds it together. They can't really justify blowing the roster up, but it will be the fouth year where they don't know how good they would be if healthy. But keeeping it together seems like a waste of opportunity as well. Hopefully Bogut's feelings aren't in line with his injury and it's a minor problem. 

The watch begins.

(HT: SLAMOnline)
Posted on: October 11, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: October 11, 2011 1:18 pm
 

Hey players: Quit treating us like we're stupid

Posted by Royce Young



I'm on the players' side. Let me get that out there first.

I see their position as more reasonable than the owners'. I've never liked the idea of the owners trying to guarantee themselves profits. I've never liked the reality that they are probably negotiating without the intention to really get a deal done before games are lost. I don't like the idea that they are asking for so much -- salary cuts, grand system changes and major revenue concessions from the players.

If I was drawing a line in the sand, I'm going to stand on the players' side.

That said, I really wish they would shut up.

After David Stern announced the first two weeks of the NBA were canceled because a deal couldn't be made in the eleventh hour, the players climbed atop their soap box and went to work. They started tweeting. Steve Nash tweeted, "Genuinely sorry to all the employees in and around NBA arenas losing work." Andrew Bogut tweeted, "Ticket ushers, local bars/clubs/food, police officers, security, in arena food and drink, hotels,local small businesses,should I keep going? We understand owners have to make $ and that is what its all come down too. We just want to play. The following ppl are the 1s who get hurt."

And if you followed along Monday, the players started a little social media campaign declaring "LET US PLAY!" much like the NFL players did during their lockout. The players want to play. They're trying to make that clear.

But they're also using some slimy PR to do so. "Let us play" and all the tweets following Stern's announcing about "just wanting to play ball" try and make it seem like the players have no hand in what's going on. They're trying to put out a message that it's entirely the league and entirely the owners preventing them from putting on their uniforms and shooting a round ball through a hoop. They're begging -- "please, PLEASE let us play!" --  as if they have no control over anything. As if for no good reason, the owners put locks on the arena doors and are keeping them out.

Here it is, plain and simple: You really want to play? You really want to put these ticket takers and security guards you supposedly feel so awful for back to work? Put your money where your tweets are. Prove it. Make a deal.

I tweeted this same sentiment last night and Kevin Durant tweeted back, "u want us to take that 47/53 deal huh? U kno that's bogus." Yeah, it is but honestly, I don't really care what you take. I just want basketball. And if you REALLY do too, you'll take a few thousand less a year in order to play. 

Now I know: The owners' 47 percent BRI split isn't exactly a fair deal. And neither is asking for salary rollbacks, a hard cap or whatever else. I'm with you. I get it. I'd feel inclined to tell the owners to shove it too. You want a deal that's fair to you and to future players. If the league's going to experience billions in revenue, you want your rightful cut. Especially since those billions come mainly as a result of you. Again, I understand. What's fair is fair.

But don't treat me like I'm an idiot (though I very well may be). "Let us play" isn't an honest representation of the players' situation. We're not stupid. We're fully capable of grasping why there's a lockout and why the NBA will be missing games. You want your money and the owners want theirs. There's a lot to split up and you want to make sure you get a fair shake of it.

But let's not sugarcoat this crap anymore. You're a millionaire because you play basketball well enough that someone will pay you for it. You make a really good living doing that job. And regardless of whatever deal you agree to, you're still going to make a crapton of money doing that job. Is it fair? Maybe not. But go ahead and feel sorry for yourself while you sleep on a mattress filled with money.

If you want to play, you can. All you have to do is say yes. I understand why you haven't and I don't blame you for it. But don't try and make us think that all you want to do is play basketball. Don't try and trick fans into feeling sorry for you.

Be honest: You want to play but you want your cut too. And that's why those ticket takers and security guards and parking garage attendants won't have work for a couple weeks at least. Don't act like there's not blood on your hands too. It's insulting.

Forget trying to gain sympathy from fans. We're not dumb. We know why the league canceled games. We know why you're not allowed to play. Billionaires and millionaires couldn't agree about money. And we feel so sorry for you about that.
Posted on: September 12, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Report: Jordan fined $100k for lockout comments

By Matt Moore

ESPN reports that Michael Jordan has been fined $100,000 by the NBA league office for his comments in August with an Australian newspaper. Jordan said in mid-August:
"We have stars like Bogut who are entitled to certain type of demands. But for us to be profitable in small markets, we have to be able to win ballgames and build a better basketball team."

"Bogut is a good piece to build around for Milwaukee," Jordan said.

"I love Bogut's game. He's made a very good start and he's definitely gonna be a star. His big problem is that he's been dealing with that elbow injury. But he is a star to be reckoned with (and) will be a star for some time."
via Michael Jordan airs Andrew Bogut issue | Herald Sun. 

That mention of Bogut is forbidden, as the NBA is supposed to act like the players don't exist during the lockout, for a variety of legal reasons and because, well, it sets a tone. Jordan also spoke about the lockout and what the owners were looking for as far as revenue sharing. As that kind of talk publicly can undermine the league's negotiating efforts, that's also a no-no. 

While less than the rumored $1 million fine for any league employee or representative for making contact with players or their representatives (unless you're Adam Silver, apparently), the fine is still considerable if accurate. Well, we mean in terms of most normal NBA fines or an average person's salary. For Jordan, he probably pulled it out of his wallet, or got it from under his couch cushions or something.  

Jordan was also warned not to golf with NBA players at Lake Tahoe celebrity tournament.  The NBA has levied other fines against team representatives like David Kahn for similar violations during the lockout. In short, the league's not kidding around, regardless of whether you're the greatest player of all time, a majority owner, or whoever. There are consequences to comments in this lockout.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 2:04 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 2:06 pm
 

Bogut in conversations with Australian teams?

Posted by Royce Young

Where you're kind of The Player from your native country and there's a chance that the lockout could mean you're looking for work, your services are going to be highly sought after.

And that's the case with Andrew Bogut and his native Australia right now.

A few weeks ago, the big man said, "Australia is very appealing because I get more time with my family. But it's a big step up with the insurance. I won't go asking an NBL club for big money, the main thing is the insurance."

In Bogut's case, that insurance is the hitch. Because of that nasty elbow injury, he's damaged property and could suffer another setback at any time. Two teams, the Adelaide 36ers and the Perth Wildcats, appear to be in hot pursuit of Bogut, but it's going to be a matter of who can secure some $500,000 in insurance.

It's so embryonic that we have not even discussed it with our leadership group, the captains or the players," managing director Nick Marvin told The West Australian. "And Andrew needs to work out what he wants to do. We would love to have him in Perth and we would need all of Perth to get behind us to make it work."

"I don't have $500,000 sitting in my back pocket, but would it be important to the people of Western Australia? Absolutely," said Marvin.

So desperate the situation that Marvin even said that he hoped government would get involved.

“For Andrew Bogut to play for us, and if that is the only hurdle we have to cross, I would hope that government and corporate Western Australia would support us and make it work."

Local government? Wow, somebody wants Andrew Bogut.

Bogut backed up all this noise on Twitter. "I can confirm I am in talks with SEVERAL @NBL clubs. A long way to go yet though....Stay tuned kiddies!" he tweeted. But he's also said before that he wouldn't do anything before October to let the labor negotiations play out a bit more. But it's obvious: Australia wants him to come home.
Category: NBA
Posted on: August 18, 2011 11:12 am
Edited on: August 18, 2011 11:13 am
 

Michael Jordan violates gag order?

By Matt Moore

So the NBA has this thing they're pretty particular about. They don't want anyone on their side of the table talking about players. Not coaches, not PR reps, not trainers, not management, not owners, no one. It's a total gag rule. They've threatened massive fines for violations of this rule from David Stern, and David Kahn has reportedly felt the wrath already. Now? It looks like the Greatest of All-Time is headed for a lightening of his wallet. Michael Jordan spoke with Australian newspaper the Herald Sun and had a nice long chat with them about the lockout, what the owners want... and Andrew Bogut
"We have stars like Bogut who are entitled to certain type of demands. But for us to be profitable in small markets, we have to be able to win ballgames and build a better basketball team."

"Bogut is a good piece to build around for Milwaukee," Jordan said.

"I love Bogut's game. He's made a very good start and he's definitely gonna be a star. His big problem is that he's been dealing with that elbow injury. But he is a star to be reckoned with (and) will be a star for some time."
via Michael Jordan airs Andrew Bogut issue | Herald Sun.

That's three different mentions of He Who Must Not Be Named Along With The Rest Of His Union. This in addition to Jordan talking not only about the owners' goals in the lockout, but about revenue sharing. That's not going to make the Commissioner happy, even on his vacation.  

The whole rule seems a little silly. You don't want to compromise your bargaining position, sure. But Jordan made a comment about a man who exists to a newspaper in the guy's home country. He's not giving up the farm in negotiations (though talking about how important revenue sharing is when the owners want to keep it off the table until the rest of the CBA is settled is probably not the most favorite thing for the NBA). There shouldn't be any big deal about this.

Then again, that's kind of what's been going on with this lockout. Making everything into a huge deal.  

(HT: SI)
Posted on: August 15, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 5:56 pm
 

The EOB Elite 100, 40-31: Middle men

Posted by Royce Young



This is the seventh segment of the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball Elite 100, counting down the top-100 players in the NBA. 

Check out the earlier installments: 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41

Once you break the top 50, you start getting good players. Former All-Stars, solid veterans and some up-and-comers. But the top 40, that's when you start breaking into some legit talent. Last season's Sixth Man Lamar Odom. A young stud Eric Gordon. A new champion in Tyson Chandler. Talents like Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala, Monta Ellis and Marc Gasol. It's not a list full of superstars, but there's no denying these guys are good. With a bunch of guys that easily could make a leap at any moment.

As such, we march on towards No. 1 with 40-31.

40. Gerald Wallace, SF, age 29, Portland Trail Blazers
2011 stats: 15.7 ppg, 8.0 apg, 2.4 apg, 45.4 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 16.28 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 48, 33, 48


Hard to figure Gerald Wallace sometimes. I'm not sure he's ever really truly found a place in this league. Not in the sense of fitting on a roster, but just in where he lines up with other good players. He's not just a defender. But he's not that great of an offensive player. He's not a star you build around. But he's someone you pay almost like he is.

Wallace is an elite defender, frustrating players like Kevin Durant and LeBron James often, but he also has lit up the scoreboard. His outside touch is a bit erratic and he mainly gets it done by out working other players. He's relentless on the glass, attacks mercilessly in the paint and goes hard at his opponent non-stop. He has the talent, but has never possessed the polish. Still, he's certainly on of the NBA's top 50 players.


39. Monta Ellis, PG, age 24, Golden State Warriors
2011 stats: 24.1 ppg, 5.6 apg, 3.5 rpg, 2.1 spg, 45.1 FG%, 36.1 3P%, 18.69 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 35, 48, 42

Oh, Moped Ellis. Such a talented, gifted scorer. But for many a reason, such a frustrating player. He's never seen a shot past the halfcourt line he didn't like. Efficiency isn't exactly his calling card, nor is his defense. He gambles on both ends, plays almost in his own world and takes too much responsibility offensively.

But man, once he gets going, he gets going. He doesn't exactly play under a defined position (Point guard? Shooting guard? I think Ellis would place himself just as "baller guard.") but wherever he ends up on a given night he's a threat to go for 40. It might come on 31 shots, but he can carry a team on his own. I wouldn't exactly say he's the type of player that should be better, but there's no denying his talent. He's probably about the best player he can be, or at least the player he wants to be. Above average, gifted in specific areas but nothing premier.

38. Danny Granger, SF, age 28, Indiana Pacers
2011 stats: 20.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 42.5 FG%, 38.6 3P%, 17.89 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 47, 36, 37

At a time, it looked like Indiana might have stumbled onto a true building block star. Granger was a low first rounder but broke out in 2008-09 averaging 25.8 a game. He was efficient, shot high percentages and as a result, got himself a nice little contract extension from Larry Bird.

It's not fair to say he regressed or anything -- he's been good the past two years -- but he hasn't exactly continued his trend upward toward a star player. He made one All-Star team in 2009 but since then has just been kind of in that group of "Oh yeah him, he's not a bad player." He definitely didn't step up for the Pacers in the postseason last year against the Bulls, fading into oblivion in the fourth quarter of virtually every game. Granger's a quality scorer and certainly a top 40 player. But it's become pretty obvious that he's not an alpha player.

37. Andrew Bogut, C, age 26, Milwaukee Bucks
2011 stats: 12.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, 2.6 bpg, 49.5 FG%, 44.2 FT%
Composite rankings (random order):
46, 35, 30

Injuries just aren't fair. Not that Bogut would otherwise be an elite center, but injuries have certainly hurt him (get it?). His 2009-10 season was off to an excellent start, as were his team, but a nasty elbow injury sidelined him for the last 13 games and the playoffs. Plus that injury greatly affected him last year.

Bogut is consistently in the top five in blocked shots each year, passes the ball well and plays his position solidly. He's never been a star type of player which is what you might expect from someone drafted No. 1 overall, but Bogut's been good. Not great, but good. He's averaged a double-double for three consecutive season -- injuries be damned -- and still turned in a decent 2010-11 despite playing with one arm. If he gets everything back to full strength, he's one of the East's top three big men. But until then, he's just an above average center.

36. Eric Gordon, SG, age 22, Los Angeles Clippers
2011 stats: 22.3 ppg, 4.4 apg, 2.9 rpg, 1.3 spg, 45.0 FG%, 36.4 3P%, 18.56 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 40, 40, 27

Honestly, 37 feels a tad low for Gordon. Last season was derailed a bit by a wrist injury for him because before it, he was off to a pretty torrid scoring pace. Remember: He's just 22. With Blake Griffin as the featured player and someone defenses are forced to focus on constantly, Gordon is clear to bomb away from deep, where he shot a solid 36.4 percent.

But don't think that's all he is. He's really one of the game's most underrated slashers and finishers. He's great with both hands and with his stocky, strong frame, he takes contact extremely well in the paint. I don't know if Gordon will ever be an elite scorer per se, but he's certainly a threat to average around 25 a game for multiple seasons.

35. Rudy Gay, SF, age 24, Memphis Grizzlies
2011 stats: 19.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 47.1 FG%, 39.6 3P%, 17.88 PER
Composite rankings: 39, 34, 33


So he was overpaid last summer. And then he got hurt. And then the Grizzlies played really, really good without him. But don't think for a second Rudy Gay isn't a pretty darn good player. He's sort of Kevin Durant lite -- long, athletic and has a pretty good outside touch. The biggest issue has always been consistency. He'll score an effortless 30 one night and then disappear the next with 12 on 4-13 shooting. There's going to be a question of how he'll respond from a major injury, but he's young and is still a centerpiece for the Grizzlies. He sits at 39 now, but there's no reason that next summer he could leap 20 spots.

34. Tyson Chandler, C, age 28, Dallas Mavericks
2011 stats: 10.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 65.4 FG%, 18.45 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 26, 38, 39

Players like Chandler have taught us that there's a premium on defense. Before the NBA Finals, he was probably a fringe top 60 guy. But after completely shutting off the paint for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for six games as his Mavs put away a title, his stock skyrocketed. He's no longer just the guy that catches oops and tries to shake the goal around just a little too much on a routine dunk. He's a true defensive enforcer and not just because he blocks shots. He's aggressive, smart and understands help defense as well as any big man in the league.

Chandler's not, nor has he ever been, a big offensive player. He's going to score off of oops, putbacks and easy hoops under the basket. But he's a double-double guy, a defensive stopper and someone that can impact the game -- or a championship series -- in a major way.

33. Lamar Odom, PF, age 31, Los Angeles Lakers
2011 stats: 14.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, 53.0 FG%, 38.2 3P%, 19.50 PER
Composite rankings: 31, 31, 40


Being ranked as the 34th best overall player in today's NBA is a pretty good deal. But for Lamar Odom, that's just horribly disappointing. And that's not to say HE'S disappointing. He just won a well deserved Sixth Man of the Year trophy. But a player with his skillset, he athletic ability and his talent should easily be in the top 20. Probably the top 10.

Odom really is a one-of-a-kind. He can easily slide into three, four positions and sometimes all five positions effortlessly, plays defense, handles the ball, passes, shoots, rebounds, scores -- he's got the total package. Which is pretty stinking rare for a dude 6-10. When he was taken fourth overall in 1999 by the Clippers, people saw him as the next evolution in basketball. A point forward with the ability to do it all. And no doubt, he's always been good. But not quite as good as he should've been.

The fact he's known more for a stupid reality show than his basketball ability kind of says it all. If this were a list ranking the top 100 most gifted players in the NBA, it would be hard to keep Odom out of the top 10. But he's never really lived up to his own talent which is why he settles in at 34. Not a bad place to be, unless, well, you're Lamar Odom.

32. Kevin Martin, SG, age 28, Houston Rockets
2011 stats: 23.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.0 spg, 43.6 FG%, 8.4 FTA per game, 21.46 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 29, 59, 20

Who wants a guy that can routinely score 29 points on 14 shots? What's that, everyone? Martin has kind of become the overlooked scoring star, which started early in his time with the Kings. He's more the guy with the weird shot and skinny frame that puts up 25 a night without much resistance. Martin is that player who hits a 3 in the second half against your team and you look at the box score and see he has 32 and you think, "What the heck, I remember him scoring like twice."

Martin never quite graduated to that next level star though. Maybe it's a fault of his own, maybe it's just a lack of overall respect for what he does and how he does it. But it's hard to make a name for yourself when your calling card is 18 points on eight shots over 30 points on 22. It shouldn't be how things work, but that's just kind of the way it is.

31. Marc Gasol, C, age 26, Memphis Grizzlies
2011 stats: 11.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 52.7 FG%, 16.88 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 41, 32, 26

Here's how you know Marc Gasol has gone from forgotten little brother to a top NBA big man: It's a legit question to ask if he's better than Pau. And not just in a whispered way. It's truly a toss up now.

With him and Zach Randolph tag-teaming inside for the Grizzlies, Memphis went on an improbable run not just into the playoffs, but well into May before bowing out in seven games to Oklahoma City. Gasol's numbers won't blow you away -- 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds per game -- but it's more about what you see. You see a gifted center that is developing into a go-to option on the block. You see a center who has played just three seasons and is only 26 getting better game-by-game. You see a center that could potentially be All-Star material soon.

I don't really know where to place Gasol's ceiling (15 points, 10 rebounds?) and while he's probably not as good as brother Pau -- and may not ever be -- the fact we're even wondering tells you enough about why he's in the top 35.
Posted on: July 9, 2011 3:43 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 1:39 pm
 

What teams risk in a lockout: Central Division

A look at what is at stake for the NBA's Central Division if a whole season was lost due to the lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver.

derrick-rose-dunk

Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division and the Atlantic Division. Let's continue this series with the Central Division.  

CHICAGO Bulls


The Bulls won the Central by a preposterous margin in 2010-2011, stacking up a league-high 62 wins and burying their division mates by a ridiculous 25 games, by far the biggest margin of any division winner. Nothing has happened yet this offseason which suggests next year's results will be any different. Even if the Milwaukee Bucks return to full health or the Indiana Pacers make a key free agent addition or the Detroit Pistons finally emerge from their slog or the Cleveland Cavaliers successfully start the Kyrie Irving era, the only thing stopping the Bulls from running away from the competition again is an injury to Derrick Rose. The Bulls are, by far, the most talented and deepest team in the division. They have the reigning MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. They're poised to be championship title contenders for the next five years.

With so much going for them, the Bulls clearly have the most to lose in a lockout. If a season is lost, that's a title chase that evaporates. Perhaps most important, the Bulls would lose that visceral desire for redemption that comes with the ugly end to their season. It was a disappointing, frustrating loss to their new archrivals, the Miami Heat, in the Eastern Conference Finals. The pain of that loss subsides with time. It's ability to serve as unifying inspiration will fade too. The Bulls want revenge and they want rings. The pieces are in place. Besides aging teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, who face the possibility of their championship window closing, the Bulls don't want to sit around and wait. They created some amazing chemistry last season, built strong trust bonds. Losing a season risks all of that.

INDIANA PACERS

The upstart Pacers are up to something: they finally committed to Frank Vogel as their coach, they brought on former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard to serve as Director of Player Personnel, they made a solid draft day trade to acquire point guard George Hill and they sit on a mound of cap space ready to make a splash in free agency. The Pacers risk two things if a season is lost. First, a critical development year to see how their young pieces are able to gel together. Second, A feeling of certainty in terms of team expectations.

Indiana has assembled some nice, young talent: Roy Hibbert, Darren Collison, Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough and Hill are all 25 or younger. Depending on how they use their cap space and whether they decide to move Danny Granger, that has all the makings of a promising core that could reliably make playoff runs for the foreseeable future. But the group needs time to spend together, reps to get things right and an evaluation period to see whether all four belong long-term. They look great on paper but more data -- playing together -- is needed. A lost season risks that and potentially stalls the development of those younger guys.

The real risk is free agency. Indiana has just $36 million committed in salary next season, meaning they have one of the smallest payrolls in the league. They also have an expiring contract in James Posey to move and potentially could move Granter if they were looking to make a major splash. Their combination of flexibility and talent on-hand is near the tops in the league when it comes to rebuilding teams. A delayed season pushes that promise back and while teams with space are definitely sitting in a better position than teams without space, it's unclear what additional rules might be in place that inhibit free agent movement. If you're the Pacers you'd prefer to be able to chase a guy like David West now without any messy collective bargaining negotiations getting in the way. Put simply, the Pacers are a team on the rise, but a lot has to go right for young teams to reach their potential. Even minor things can throw a team off course. The less variables, the better. Unfortunately, the CBA is a major, major variable.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

lockoutThis team is just confusing. The Stephen Jackson trade made a bit of sense, given that the Bucks needed a serviceable alternative to Brandon Jennings at point guard and got one in Beno Udrih, but this group isn't going anywhere meaningful, not even if Jennings and center Andrew Bogut are fully healthy. 

About the only thing lost in a lockout for the Bucks is another year for Jennings to bloom. His sophomore years was sidetracked by injuries and poor outside shooting, and he questioned his teammates' desire to win at the end of the regular season. Other than Jennings, Larry Sanders and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute could use more developmental minutes but the rest of the roster is essentially veterans who have reached their potential. 

From a cynical standpoint, Bucks ownership could be cheering a lost season because it would mean cash savings on ugly deals for Jackson and big man Drew Gooden. Is it worth saving the combined $15 million that will go to Jackson and Gooden in 2011-2012 to lose a year of floor leadership training for Jennings? 

DETROIT PISTONS

The Pistons are another confounding mess, but at least it feels like they've turned a corner thanks to the sale of the team, the departure of reviled coach John Kuester and the drafting of point guard Brandon Knight and wing Kyle Singler. Last year was one, long, ugly grind. 2011-2012 figures to be a step in the right direction.

Knight slipped out of the top five of the 2011 NBA Draft because of questions about his position. Is he a pure point guard? Can he run an NBA offense? Will he be able to execute something besides the pick-and-roll game? His future is incredibly bright but as a one-and-done player he absolutely needs as much playing time as possible to get a feel for the NBA style and to get comfortable with the ball in his hands and a team of professionals that look to him first. There's no other way to learn the point guard position than by on-the-job training, and recent success stories like Rose and Russell Westbrook only reinforce that idea. A year away from the game at this stage would be a critical loss for Knight and the Pistons, and that's a major risk.

The same is true, to a lesser degree, for big man Greg Monroe, who came on strong in the second half of his rookie season and appears to be a potential core piece going forward. 2011-2012 is all about letting Knight and Monroe build up a chemistry together 

A lost season would certainly be welcomed by ownership here too because Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva all failed to live up to their big-dollar contract figures last season. Hamilton and Villanueva, in particular, seem like lost causes. Weighing the savings from these deals versus the lost development of Knight, the Pistons should probably be pretty close to indifferent when it comes to losing a season. They need work, they know they need work and the rebuild can only come as these big contracts get closer to their conclusion and become more tradeable. Still, it would seem to be better to continue that journey with Knight getting more familiar and comfortable day-by-day, month-by-month than it would having him workout solo in a gym somewhere. If you've committed to a rebuild, start it immediately.
 
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Last but not least, we have the Cavaliers, the NBA's second-worst team from last season, who endured an embarrasing 26 game losing streak to set an NBA record for consecutive futility. There's significant light at the end of the tunnel for the Cavaliers, as they have an owner committed to spending money to win, the 2011 NBA Draft's No. 1 overall pick, Kyrie Irving, and Tristan Thompson, who was taken No. 4 overall. 

Cleveland is in much the same position as the Pistons: the biggest risk from losing a season is the lost reps that Irving won't get running the show. There are always some bumps and bruises for a young point guard transitioning from college to the NBA, and the potential for struggles is even more pronounced in Irving's case because he missed much of last season, his freshman year at Duke University, with a foot injury. Time away from the game is not good. The shorter, the better. Irving was clearly the most NBA-ready point guard in this year's draft crop and the Cavaliers would be smart to turn the keys over to him from Day 1, even with veterans Baron Davis, Daniel Gibson and Ramon Sessions on the roster as well. 

That raises a secondary risk of the lockout season for the Cavaliers: losing positional clarity. Cleveland clearly needs to move one, if not two, of their point guards to clear the deck for Irving and surround him with some solid complementary pieces. A lost season just delays that process. Saving the money from Davis' contract is tempting, but it's a non-factor for owner Dan Gilbert who would just as soon pay that tax to watch his young team start the rebuild. Along those same lines, an entire season lost could mean the Cavaliers aren't able to move Antawn Jamison's $15 million expiring contract, a nice trade asset that could potentially bring a rotation player in return.

 
 
 
 
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