Bucks looking for size in the middle (or are they?)
Scott Skiles sees it every time there is a jump ball, when eight NBA players circle around the two standing side-by-side, readying to leap for possession.
The 6-foot, 1-inch former NBA point guard knows you can win with a varied roster height-wise, but it has appeared to Skiles that the Bucks are literally on the short end of the stick.
"Almost every team is way bigger than us," Skiles said. "The players know that. At all positions, if we could get a little bit bigger ... but that's not easy to do."
Skiles then offered a qualifier.
"You can't just say 'We're going to get bigger' and get bigger (just) to get bigger – we've got to get quality," he said.
And therein lies the issue for general manager John Hammond. How do you add quality size? And how do you define it?
The Bucks had it in 7-foot center Andrew Bogut. But, in many ways, they didn't.
Bogut missed 24 percent (126 of 534) of Bucks games in his career. While effective, his line of 12.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game wasn't exactly overwhelming.
"The problem with us was we were playing more without a big guy having him on the roster," Hammond said. "He just wasn't healthy, couldn't keep him healthy."
Hammond agreed with Skiles that the team as a whole could get bigger, yet finding a true back-to-the-basket center that can actually play is a tough task.
"There are some undersized teams that are effective in the NBA," Hammond said. "There aren't many centers in this league. We think 'Oh my gosh we gotta stop this big guy.' That's not a night in, night out issue. It can be an issue at times. It's a great point – the bigger the better. We always talk about bigs.
"You say 'Why does Greg Oden get picked No. 1?' Size. Why does Andrew Bogut get picked No. 1? Because of size. You always want size in this league, but if you don't have it, a lot of teams don't have it, you can find ways to survive. You just have to be a little better, a little more committed and we're going to try to add some size along the way, too."
In the Eastern Conference, only the New York Knicks (7-1 Tyson Chandler), Indiana Pacers (7-2 Roy Hibbert) and Orlando Magic (6-11 Dwight Howard) have what could be classified as true centers.
Detroit's 6-11 Greg Monroe and New Jersey's 7-foot Book Lopez will mix it up inside at times, but the majority of teams in the East rely more on athletic, 6-10 or 6-11 forward-center hybrids like Kevin Garnett, Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Nene Hilario.
It's the type of player the Bucks already have in 6-11 Larry Sanders and 6-10 forwards Drew Gooden, Ekpe Udoh and Jon Leuer.
"You can play the game many different ways," Bucks owner Sen. Herb Kohl allowed. "Who plays center for the Miami Heat? I'm just making the point that it's not as though if you don't have a dominant big man, there's no way you can be good. There are different ways to play the game in the NBA."
That said, Kohl felt a true post threat might put the Bucks over the top.
"When you look at our team today, if you imagine this team coming back next year with a dominant inside player, you'd feel really good about where we are. I would," Kohl said.
"If you looked at this team with Bogut coming back, or mention any others that you might think about, you'd say all the other pieces are pretty well in place to be not just a playoff team but maybe a very good team. That's the way I feel about it. The one, two, three and four positions are pretty well covered. And we have a good bench. Some of you may disagree with that. I look at our team pretty critically because that's my responsibility.
"When we look to where we want to improve next year we want a real quality big man."
But what is that, exactly?
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It's funny the Bucks want to get bigger at every position but just willingly traded a 7 footer for a 6'3 SG to pair with 6'1 (with shoes) Jennings. Bucks continue to create their own problems and then adopt a "woe is me" mentality. Getting really sick of being happy with mediocrity. I'd like to see us draft Jeremy Lamb from Uconn and go after either Kaman or Omer Asik in free agency. I do not want to see us draft Meyers Leonard or Tyler Zeller in the first round. They are not NBA starting caliber centers they will both be career backups as they can't guard NBA size.
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