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News » Bucks still feeling their way offensively

Bucks still feeling their way offensively

Bucks still feeling their way offensively By TOM ENLUND

When forward Charlie Villanueva ambled off to Detroit over the summer and signed a free-agent contract with the Pistons, he took his 16.2-point scoring average from last season along with him.

Guard Ramon Sessions signed as a free agent with Minnesota after averaging 12.4 points with the Milwaukee Bucks last season, and forward Richard Jefferson was traded to San Antonio after averaging 19.6 points in his lone season in Milwaukee.

That trio combined to score 47.3% of the Bucks' points last season, and their departure left the Bucks with an obvious question: Do they have enough offensive firepower to make up for the loss of that scoring? The jury is still out on that because the Bucks have played only eight exhibition and two regular-season games with this group.

"I don't know that (answer) yet," said coach Scott Skiles. "We scored the ball well in some stretches in games, but in other games we struggled a little bit to score. But it's the same on the other end. We had some great stretches of defense and some other stretches where we weren't as good."

While those were three were high-scoring players for the Bucks last season, there were other Basketball factors that played into the Bucks' off-season personnel moves. Villanueva, who started for the Pistons Saturday after averaging 7.5 points in Detroit's first two regular-season games, gave up as many points as he scored in some games. There were also some financial considerations.

The Bucks ranked 15th in scoring last season (99.3) and were 27th in field-goal percentage (44.5%). They scored 86 points and shot 40.0% in their season-opening loss at Philadelphia on Friday. The Bucks averaged 96.0 points and shot 42.9% in the preseason, but not much can be read into that since Skiles played so many players in different combinations.

"We've had nine games and have yet to shoot the ball well," Skiles said before Saturday's game.

He does know one thing about his team's offense, though.

"This is not a big revelation. Every pro team is going to say this, but you have to knock down open shots," he said. "When open shots present themselves, pro players - real pro shooters - are going to knock them down. We've got to knock down open shots better because we get plenty of them. We're moving the ball well enough."

It's not as if the Bucks are without any scorers this season.

Michael Redd averaged more than 21 points per game in each of the last six seasons. Andrew Bogut has a career scoring average of 11.9, and he scored in double figures in 26 of the 36 games in which he played last season. Newcomers Ersan Ilyasova and Carlos Delfino have shown the ability to make the three-pointer, rookie Brandon Jennings scored 17 points in his regular-season debut in Philadelphia and Hakim Warrick, Luke Ridnour and Charlie Bell have the potential to be capable scorers off the bench.

"It's not going to be one or two guys just stepping up and scoring 20 points night in and night out," said Bell. "Somebody different is going to have to step up. It's going to be collective. We're going to have to do it by committee, and we can't just rely on Mike and Andrew as the main scorers."

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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