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News » BUCKS Delfino banks on experience

BUCKS Delfino banks on experience

BUCKS  Delfino banks on experience By CHARLES F. GARDNER

St. Francis - Carlos Delfino has played Basketball in Italy, Russia and his native Argentina.

So it's little wonder that the 27-year-old wing player is already quite wise in the ways of the game.

And Delfino has four years of National Basketball Association experience, too, including three seasons with a winning Detroit Pistons franchise that reached the NBA Finals in his first year and the Eastern Conference finals the next two years.

Now the 6-foot-6 forward will try to use his court savvy, perimeter shooting skill and passing ability to help the Milwaukee Bucks take a few positive steps in the Eastern Conference this season.

Delfino will return to his former home court Wednesday night as the Bucks meet the Pistons in a preseason game at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

"I've been lucky because I've been on good teams: Detroit, the (Argentine) national team," Delfino said after the Bucks' practice Tuesday. "I've been on teams that teach you how to play, how to understand the game."

When Delfino joined the Pistons for the 2004-'05 season, he was part of a veteran-laden squad that reached the NBA Finals under coach Larry Brown. Detroit nearly repeated as league champion but fell in a seven-game final series to San Antonio.

Delfino played a more important role the next two seasons, providing bench support to a team that was coached by Flip Saunders and included Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince.

"They teach you how to play defense, how to make one more pass, how to share the ball," Delfino said. Delfino was traded by the Pistons and played in Toronto during the 2007-'08 season, and he averaged 9.0 points and 4.4 rebounds while playing in all 82 games.

But his career took a slight detour when he signed a multiyear deal with BC Khimki Moscow and played in Russia last season. Financial problems beset the club and eventually he was allowed out of his contract and was acquired by the Bucks from Toronto, which still held his NBA rights.

"It never is a wasted season, a wasted moment," Delfino said of playing for the Moscow team. "There were maybe too many injuries and too many out-of-court things. I try to look at the full part of the glass.

"Sometimes you were thinking more on other things and not on playing Basketball. Here I'm ready to focus on Basketball and use my intensity and experience to help the team."

Bucks general manager John Hammond was in the Detroit front office when the Pistons selected Delfino with the 25th pick in the 2003 draft. When Delfino became available this summer, Hammond jumped at the chance and traded another former Piston, forward Amir Johnson, to the Raptors. The Bucks also received point guard Roko Ukic in the deal.

In his first game with the Bucks on Sunday night, Delfino contributed eight points, two steals and two rebounds in 24 minutes against Minnesota.

"For me, it was a good run," Delfino said of his Milwaukee debut. "I haven't been playing Basketball for 2? months or so. I'm starting to get in shape again. I feel good. . . .

"I missed (playing for) the national team; I missed everything. Now I'm trying to adapt myself to a new reality."

Because of his uncertain contract situation, Delfino did not play for Argentina this summer and could not risk being hurt while hoping to land with an NBA team. The Bucks agreed to a two-year, $7 million deal, paying him $3.5 million this season with a partial guarantee ($500,000) for the second year.

Bucks coach Scott Skiles said Delfino has an opportunity for significant playing time at small forward, along with second-year player Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

"He knows how to play," Skiles said of Delfino. "He's been a good rebounder at his position, and the 3 spot is something we're taking a look at right now."

Villanueva to miss game: Former Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva will have to wait a bit longer to face his old team.

Villanueva, who signed a multiyear deal with Detroit during the off-season, will miss a second straight preseason game because of a left hamstring injury suffered in practice last week. He sat out as the Pistons beat Miami, 87-83, Monday night.

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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Added: October 8, 2009


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