Milwaukee Bucks 2008-09 Fantasy Preview

All previews follow the same format, I’ll be going in depth only on the players worth owning in a standard 12-team league, followed by players who you might consider as injury handcuffs/deep sleepers. As always, it starts with the most valuable player on the team:

Much to the surprise of Michael Redd, does more than JUST score.

Much to the surprise of many fantasy owners, Michael Redd does more than just score.

Michael Redd (SG)

Helps: Points, 3-pointers, FT%, Steals

Hurts: FG%

Redd gets something of a bad rap as a one-dimensional player, but he is much more. His biggest value is as an elite-type scorer who pours in 3-pointers, but he also provides a fair amount of steals and is becoming a better passer, averaging a career-high 3.4 assists last season.

Also an exceptional free-throw shooter (.845 career FT%), Redd’s FG% (.452 career) is not has harmful as other perimeter-oriented scorers. His scoring dropped to 22.7 points per game last season and is not likely to rebound with the addition of Richard Jefferson.

The departure of Mo Williams could make Redd more of a facilitator, which could increase his overall value as a more balanced fantasy player.

When to take him: In the fourth round.

Andrew Bogut (C)

Helps: Rebounds, Blocks, FG%

Hurts: FT%

After opening his big fat mouth, and then getting schooled at the Olympics, Bogut returns as the focal point of Milwaukee’s interior attack. He is pretty much the standard center, scoring in the teens, averaging a near double-double, blocking a couple shots a game and shooting a high percentage from the floor.

That’s not to say Bogut is average. He provides these categories better than most and his development over his first three NBA seasons make you wonder what’s in store for the future. It could be true stardom and an emergence into one of the league’s elite big men.

As it is, Bogut is a solid number one fantasy center and one of the stronger sources of rebounds and blocks you can find.

When to take him: In the fifth round.

Richard Jefferson (SF)

Helps: Points, FT%

Don’t be fooled by the hypnotic nature of Jefferson’s perfectly round head, he is not even close to being a complete fantasy player. Although he posted a career-high 22.6 scoring average last season, Jefferson’s numbers elsewhere continue to dwindle.

Jefferson averaged less than a steal per game for the third straight season and managed just 4.2 rebounds per game. How are those numbers possible for someone that athletic?

Expect his scoring to decline slightly since he will be the second option on a team with no truly great passer while his other mediocre numbers stay the same.

When to take him: In the late sixth or early seventh round.

Charlie Villanueva (SF/PF)

Helps: (potentially) Points, Rebounds, 3-pointers, FT%

There is a lot of hype surrounding Villanueva entering the season, because he drove many fantasy owners to despise former Bucks head coach Larry Krystkowiak. Despite routinely producing well while in the starting lineup last season, Krystkowiak continued to play Yi Jianlin and screw with Villanueva’s minutes.

Now Krystkowiak has been fired and Yi was shipped off to New Jersey, apparently leaving the power forward position to Villanueva alone.

As a starter last season, he averaged 14.9 points and eight rebounds per game while shooting .821 from the line. Overall, he posted averaged of 17.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.1 3-pointers and a shade under a steal and a block per 36 minutes.

With increased minutes (think around 30 per game), expect closer to his numbers as a starter with an increased opportunity for blocks and steals. It’s entirely possibly he can help in all the categories noted above, which would make him a steal.

If you’re playing in a league of only players who have alopecia, he is by far the number one pick.

When to take him: In the ninth or 10th rounds, because he is still something of a question mark.

Luke Ridnour (PG)

Helps: Assists, Steals, FT%

Hurts: FG%

After a maddening season in Seattle splitting time with Earl Watson, Ridnour is now the most likely candidate to be the starting point guard for the Bucks. He is far from perfect but has an upside somewhere around eight asists and 1.5 steals per game and may slip way past the rest of the NBA’s starting point guards in most drafts.

There is a reason for that, of course. He is an awful shooter (.416 career FG%) who does not make 3-pointers and his excellent FT% is offset by the fact that he hardly ever gets to the line.

But Ridnour will be surrounded by scoring options in Redd, Jefferson, Bogut and Charlie V. and is a sure bet to post high assist totals if he wins the starting job.

When to take him: As of now, he is a 10th rounder. If he becomes the clear-cut starter, the ninth round is a better bet.

Ramon Sessions (PG)

Helps: Assists, Steals, FT%

Hurts: FG%

Milwaukee’s acquisition of Ridnour broke the hearts of many that had extreme man love for Sessions, who averaged 11.5  points and 11.3 assists in 10 April games while filling in for an injured Mo Williams. Alas, the Bucks did not buy into the idea that he is their point guard of the immediate future.

If Sessions gets anywhere around 25 minutes per game, he can still be very helpful in assists and steals on your fantasy bench. His percentages are shaky and he does not contribute at all in 3-pointers, but as far as pass-first backup point guards go, he’s top notch.

Also keep in mind that Ridnour has been banged up three of his five NBA seasons and – at about 175 pounds soaking wet – may wear down, giving Sessions a golden opportunity.

When to take him: In the 11th round.

THE REST:

There are not too many other Bucks to even consider drafting in standard leagues. Charlie Bell and Damon Jones are good for 3-pointers only. Tyronn Lue is a mediocre backup point guard but has an outside shot at the starting job if Ridnourisn’t healthy and the Bucks don’t have enough faith in Sessions.

Be sure to check your league rules for specific position eligibility rules.

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Filed under Draft Strategy, Season Preview, Team Preview

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