Bucks-Bobcats Preview

The rosters look different for both the Milwaukee Bucks and

Charlotte Bobcats, partly due to a draft-night trade involving each

team.

It remains to be seen if those changes will translate to more

victories.

Charlotte hosts Milwaukee in each club’s season opener Monday

night as both seek a return to the postseason after a one-year

absence.

In a three-team trade with Sacramento during June’s draft,

Charlotte acquired seventh overall pick Bismack Biyombo and former

Buck Corey Maggette before drafting Kemba Walker – who led

Connecticut to the national championship – with the ninth

selection.

Milwaukee got Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston from

Charlotte, along with 19th pick Tobias Harris.

Owner Michael Jordan’s Bobcats decided to overhaul their roster

after a 34-48 season, already having traded Gerald Wallace to

Portland in February.

Coach Paul Silas hopes Maggette can bolster the scoring, a

category in which the Bobcats ranked 29th in the NBA in 2010-11.

Mostly, though, Charlotte is looking for young guards D.J. Augustin

and Gerald Henderson to continue their solid play from the second

half of last season as the rookies develop.

“That’s what you need are guys who are going to go at it all out

because let’s face it, we’re not the most talented team in the

world right now,” Silas said. “We have certain aspects of our team

that we can really accelerate and that’s what we have to do.”

Augustin averaged 15.3 points after Silas was hired to replace

Larry Brown on Dec. 22, compared to 12.8 before his arrival. He and

Walker have seemed to bring out the best in each other during camp

– something Jordan anticipated.

“Mike looked at Kemba and saw himself,” Silas said. “Mike said,

‘This guy has it.’ He said if he can lead (Connecticut) to the

championship then he has what I have – and that’s the determination

to do it.”

Walker hopes to bring that winning attitude to a Charlotte

franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game in its seven seasons of

existence.

“I’m very competitive in whatever I do. I don’t like to lose,”

Walker said. “And growing up and watching Michael Jordan play I

know he didn’t like to lose. That’s the same kind of mentality,

that whatever-it-takes mentality.”

Milwaukee hopes a Charlotte castoff in Jackson can help provide

the scoring it greatly lacked in 2010-11.

The Bucks (35-47) averaged an NBA-worst 91.9 points and shot a

league-low 43.0 percent last season. Jackson averaged 18.5 points

in 67 games for Charlotte last season after topping 20 in each of

the previous three with the Bobcats and Golden State.

With Jackson alongside Brandon Jennings and a fully healthy

Andrew Bogut, coach Scott Skiles thinks the Bucks can be a more

dangerous team.

“We feel like we’ve got a lot of versatility there, and

theoretically, a deeper team’s going to be a better team,” Skiles

said. “It’s always a better team, but this year, it’s going to be

more important.”

Bogut suffered a horrible arm injury in April 2010, and he

played through the lingering pain most of last season to average

12.8 points and a career-high 11.1 rebounds. The former No. 1

overall pick feels he’ll be more prepared this season, especially

with the extended time off due to the lockout.

Bogut had a broken hand, dislocated elbow and sprained wrist

from the initial injury.

“The trauma of the injury, the nerves and the ligaments and the

muscles sustained, it was a tricky process trying to mentally get

back on track,” Bogut said. “The blessing in disguise was the

lockout.”

The Bucks ranked third in the league last season allowing only

92.7 points per game, but lacked the scoring to be more

competitive. Jennings, who averaged a team-high 16.2 points, said

he hopes they can surprise teams over the course of the 66-game

season.

“We’re always the underdog,” Jennings said. “I think that’s the

best thing about it, not to get so much attention and just sneak up

in there, be one of those teams that sneak up in there.”

The home team has won each of the last 10 meetings between

Milwaukee and Charlotte.