An Yi-normous Lineup Change
By Dan O'Donnell
The Journal-Sentinel's Charles Gardner is reporting that Bucks rookie Yi Jianlian and returning veteran Desmond Mason will start on opening night alongside Michael Redd, Mo Williams, and Andrew Bogut.
Assuming Yi sustains the flashes of offensive brilliance he showed in the preseason, Mase re-acclimates himself to his new (old) teammates quickly, and Redd again scores 25-plus a game, this has the potential to be a high-octane, high-powered offense capable of putting points on the board in bunches.
Defense? We don't need no stinking defense! While none of the Bucks' starters is a particularly good defender, the club does have stoppers like Bobby Simmons (assuming he's healthy), Charlie Bell (assuming he's happy), and Charlie Villanueva (assuming he's learned how to play defense) coming off the bench.
All told, this is a team that will likely need to score 110 points per game to win, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility that they can and in fact do become a force to be reckoned with in the wide-open Eastern Conference.
Not surprisingly, though, the national wags don't see it that way, since they're far too busy salivating over the Boston Celtics. ESPN's preseason power rankings put the Bucks 18th, while Sports Illustrated has them 11th in the East. Then again, SI also picked the Packers to finish 6-10, so maybe that's a good thing.