If one of the primary goals of a team coming out of the preseason is to be ready with all hands on deck, the Milwaukee Bucks’ preseason was an epic fail.
Coach Larry Drew only held a light practice on Saturday and cancelled Sunday’s workout in order to let some of the battered bodies heal up a bit leading into Wednesday opener against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Small forward Caron Butler was one of the players who took part in Saturday’s session after missing the truncated preseason finale Friday night with a sprained ankle. Power forward Ersan Ilyasova sprained an ankle in the preseason opener on Oct. 8 and is still not practicing with the team.
Drew isn’t counting on Ilyasova for the opener, considering all he can do at this point is some shooting, although he is running in straight lines.
Forward Ekpe Udoh has knee surgery on Oct. 10 and isn’t expected back before the middle of November at the earliest. He didn’t play at all in the preseason.
Brandon Knight sat out the preseason finale with a sore hamstring and he’s not the only point guard who is banged up. Luke Ridnour is dealing with injuries to his back and elbow, but did practice some on Saturday after being held out of Friday’s game.
That final preseason game against the Toronto Raptors at the BMO Harris Bradley Center was cancelled with 5:58 to go in the first quarter after players were continually slipping and falling all over the new floor. Milwaukee was leading 14-9 when the game was called off.
A team from the NBA office is expected to be at the arena on Tuesday to determine why the new court became such a hazard.
It was the third time the new floor had been used and condensation from the ice underneath was one of the first problems considered. However, referee Danny Crawford said Friday night that didn’t appear to be the issue.
“There was no condensation at all, none whatsoever,” Crawford said. “[The officials] kept making eye contact out there and we saw the players were having issues with traction. Then when we had a few guys go down, we figured we should have a conference. And both teams wanted not to continue the game.”
The officials from the league will look into what might have caused the problem and will make a recommendation to the team. One option might be to bring the old floor back.
Yeah, it’s been that kind of preseason for the Bucks … the floor couldn’t even make it through it healthy. Milwaukee’s home opener is Saturday night against the Raptors, who will no doubt be thrilled if they come back to town and see the same floor.
Preseason Highlights, Lowlights
- The Bucks did finally get a win in the preseason, beating the Knicks on Wednesday 105-95. Butler had 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting before spraining his ankle late and O.J. Mayo was 8-for-14 and scored 22 points.
- Mayo led the team in scoring, averaging 13 points per game in the five games he played. Butler (10.7 points per game in six games) and John Henson (10 points per game in six games) were the only other Bucks to average in double figures, as Milwaukee averaged just 90 points a game in all.
- Larry Sanders never got his offensive game, such as it is, going in the preseason. He shot just 36.8 percent (14-for-38). In 23.3 minutes a game, Sanders had 11 blocks and 34 rebounds. He wasn’t the only Buck who couldn’t shoot straight. Knight was just 18-for-46 (39.1 percent), Khris Middleton was 15-for-44 (34.1 percent) and Giannis Antetokounmpo was 8-for-23 (34.8 percent). As a team, Milwaukee shot 43 percent in the preseason.
- The Bucks got hammered on the glass in the preseason, as they were outrebounded by almost six boards a game. Milwaukee averaged 39.8 rebounds a game, compared to 45.7 for their opponents. But at least the Bucks turned it over a ton (20 per game to 16 for their foes).
As expected, Olek Czyz, Stephen Graham and Trey McKinney Jones were waived Saturday morning to get the roster to the 15-player limit.
Graham, the only one of the three with previous NBA experience, scored 29 points in five games on 10-for-21 shooting. Graham played in Puerto Rico last season. An undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State in 2005, Graham last played in the NBA for the New Jersey Nets in 2010-11 and has also seen time with the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Bobcats. He played 10 games in the D-League in 2011-12.
Czyz scored 19 points in four games, shooting 8-for-12. The Nevada product, who played his first two collegiate seasons at Duke, was undrafted in 2012 and played in Italy last season.
McKinney Jones is a Milwaukee native who was undrafted in June out of Miami. He played just seven minutes in two preseason games and scored three points.
The three players earned training camp invitations, but Milwaukee already had 15 players under contract for this season.