ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — If everything goes according to plan, the Milwaukee Bucks won’t be wasting much time in the backcourt this season.
Wednesday’s training camp number of the day was four, as in four seconds. That’s the amount of time Bucks coach Larry Drew wants it to take for his team to bring the ball from the backcourt to the frontcourt regardless if the opponent made or missed their shot.
“We’ll be charting how fast we do get the basketball across,” Drew said. “We want to keep constant pressure on the defense, make or miss. We also want to have time to explore all of our options within a set. If we can get that basketball over in four seconds it gives us 20 seconds to operate, which is a lot of time to explore all of our options out of a set.
“That will be something we put a lot of attention to when it comes to putting in our offensive sets. When we talk about fast break and we talk about scoring easy baskets, that number ties in.”
Drew wants the Bucks to be one of the top fast-break scoring teams in the league. His teams in Atlanta improved from 17th to 6th to 3rd in fast-break points, as the Hawks only trailed Denver and Houston in the category last season.
Mlwaukee was 15th in basketball in fast-break points last season at 13.3 per game, while Drew’s Hawks were at 17.3.
“I don’t think we did the type of job that we wanted to do, but we did become a team that we recognized the fast break and we got it up quick to look to attack,” Drew said of his teams in Atlanta. “With this team I want to do that, but I also want to get it out quick and go with it. I think we have the speed to do it.
“It’s just a matter of developing good habits. You see it a lot when a team misses, you get the rebound and go. But when a team makes a basket, the tendency is to lethargically step out of bounds and take your time to get it up. We want to get away from that.”
Drew’s philosophy is to have the closest player inbound the basketball as opposed to designating a certain player to do it each time. He also won’t designate the point guard as the only player to bring the ball up the floor, as Drew wouldn’t mind any capable player getting the ball and going.
“We don’t want to be a predominantly dribble-up team,” Drew said. “We want to advance the ball on the passes, as well. We talk quite a bit about just getting it up as quick as we can. If guys are open we want to alert to advance the ball on the pass.”
An uptempo style is one a majority of players embrace, as most love to get up and go on offense. Milwaukee feels it has the athletes to be able to run with the best of them.
“We get to play fast and have a lot of opportunities to put the defense on its heels,” Neal said. “Four seconds, hopefully we’ll be able to play that way the whole season because that would be great. With the offensive weapons that we have that will be a lot of fun to watch.”
Four seconds doesn’t mean shooting the basketball in four seconds, however. The Bucks plan to look to score in transition, but also feel getting the ball up the floor quickly will allow them to run their half-court offense more efficiently.
“We don’t want to come down and just jack up any kind of shot,” Drew said. “We want to be very mindful of what the situation is to make sure we get a good shot every time.
“What it does is it really keeps constant pressure on the opposition. When teams scout us, I want something in that scouting report to say something like ‘Guys, we have to get back make or miss because they really push it up our backs.’ We have to develop good habits in doing that.”
Depth chart: There were no surprises in the first-team lineup during practice Wednesday, as Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo, Caron Butler, Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders were on the court together.
Reserve small forward Khris Middleton suffered a sprained ankle and had to sit out the final portion of practice. That allowed rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo to join the second team with Luke Ridnour, Neal, John Henson and Ekpe Udoh.
The third team featured Nate Wolters, Trey McKinney-Jones, Stephen Graham, Olek Czyz and Miroslav Raduljica.
Forward Carlos Delfino sat out the entire practice, while center Zaza Pachulia participated in the non-contact portion.