By Herb Ilk
RotoWire Staff Writer
Andrew Bogut: After missing significant time in two of the past three seasons due to injuries, Bogutís value has dropped. The former No.1 overall selection was supposed to be a franchise cornerstone for the Bucks, solidifying their frontcourt for years to come. Instead, he has only shown flashes of the talent that made him a top-notch prospect. Bogut was hindered by back problems most of last season, appearing in his final game in late January. The extra time off appears to have helped in Bogutís recovery, and he hopes to be ready for training camp. Before his season ended abruptly, Bogutís scoring average dropped nearly three points from the previous season, from 14.4 to 11.7. One of the reasons for the decline in scoring was his continued struggles from the free-throw line, where he shot a career-worst 57.1 percent. His defense also tailed off as his blocks fell from 1.7 to 1.0 per contest. Still, he was able to set career-highs in rebounds (10.2) and field-goal percentage (57.7). Heís also a solid passer out of the post and can be a sneaky source of assists from the center position. The Bucks have a dearth of scoring talent in the frontcourt, leaving Bogut as their primary post-up option. While he lacks explosiveness, he has a multitude of post-up moves that get him high-percentage opportunities and should keep him in the mix to reach double figures in scoring year-in and year-out.
Dan Gadzuric: Gadzuric played in 67 games in 2008, averaging 4.0 points and 2.4 rebounds. His role expanded when Andrew Bogut missed the second half of the season due to injury. Heís still just a role player off of the bench and itís not likely heíll reach anything more than that.
Joe Alexander: Alexander struggled a bit as a rookie, playing in just 59 games and averaging 5.7 points. Heís still a raw player who needs to refine his skills more. Alexander will be in the mix at small forward and maybe even some power forward, depending on the lineup.
Michael Redd: Redd has fallen off the map in the past year due to a string of career-threatening injuries. After missing 14 games during the early part of the 2008-09 season with an ankle injury, he suffered a devastating, season-ending injury in late January by landing on the foot of teammate Luke Ridnour and tearing both his ACL and MCL. Redd underwent successful surgery to repair his ACL in March, and initial estimates are that he will be ready by training camp this year. Still, heís on the wrong side of 30 and will be entering the downside of his career. He could potentially bounce back to put up top-50 numbers, especially considering the Bucks will be shorter than ever on scorers this season, but the odds are stacked against him. Be sure to monitor Reddís status closely as the season approaches. If healthy, heíll provide a nice source of scoring and threes.
Luke Ridnour: Ridnour doesnít seem like an ideal guard for a Scott Skiles team, but he managed to beat out Ramon Sessions and hang on to the starting job in Milwaukee. This season heíll face another threat, from rookie Brandon Jennings Ė but Jennings is pretty raw, having spent the last year as a part-time player in the Euroleague, so donít be surprised if Ridnour hangs on to the starting job for far longer than fantasy players would prefer. Ridnour is an excellent free-throw shooter and a pretty decent three-point bomber, but probably wonít rack up huge assist totals, especially on a Milwaukee team that figures to be one of the leagueís weakest.
Charlie Bell: Bell never lived up to the promise that he showed two years ago and has been a little bit of a disappointment. He has the ability to come off the bench and score and shoots the three-point shot well. Expect him to play mostly the shooting guard and small forward positions, helping out wherever the Bucks need him.
Brandon Jennings: Jennings opted to play in Europe in 2008 instead of going to college. Heís an exceptional athlete, but is still very young and will need time to improve his skills. The loss of Ramon Sessions leaves the door open for Jennings to assume a starting role at some point during the season. The Bucks arenít going to be a powerhouse, so donít expect a lot out of him this season.
Carlos Delfino: Delfino played in Europe in 2008 after four seasons in the NBA. He should be able to help out right away with the Bucks, either at guard or the small forward position.
Article first appeared on 9/21/09