The first half of my discussion with Jeremy from Bucksketball about the upcoming playoff series between the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks is available over there.
Bucksketball: The Crawford/Horford pick and roll may be a recipe for success, but they'll probably often be guarded by Carlos Delfino and Kurt Thomas, two of the Bucks best three remaining defenders. Thomas isn't especially mobile, but he knows exactly how many steps to take to get where he needs to go. Thomas isn't wasting much motion.
Jennings certainly lost Bibby early on Monday and that can occasionally be an issue. Worse yet, is that it's not like he was hovering in a different passing lane or being crafty, he was just kind of there. Coach Skiles often pulls Jennings early, but it rarely has anything to do with his offense. Jennings has been a better on ball defender as the season's gone on, but I'd say there is certainly a concern with him staying focused on knowing where the ball and his man are. Bibby never hit another three after that initial spurt Monday night, that could be because Jennings got back to basics or it could be that Mike Bibby dimply won't hit every open three.
Speaking of Bibby, I don't get why the Bucks haven't attacked him with Carlos Delfino more. Delfino is a pretty good ball handler and, given his size advantage, certainly should be able to get open looks off the dribble with Bibby on him. Would you say Bibby is the weak link for their starters? You mentioned how playing next to the Anthony Johnson's and Mike Bibby's of the world have forced Joe Johnson into playing a different role on defense. Shouldn't the Bucks be attacking Bibby?
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will see a lot of time on Josh Smith I'd imagine. John Salmons is a pretty good defender, Milwaukee generally leaves him on JJ. Smith, as he is for most teams, is an awful matchup for Milwaukee. Mbah a Moute does his best, but Smith is so strong. If it comes down to one possession at game's end though, Mbah a Moute will check Johnson. But, Mbah a Moute is kind of brutal offensively. Kind of really brutal. That's what's been keeping him off the court since Bogut's been out. The Bucks need all the offense they can get on the court.
Hoopinion: The Bucks absolutely should attack Bibby. I really regret not keeping a complete list of unlikely players who scored by posting up Bibby this season. I'm talking Anthony Morrow, Jamario Moon type guys whose teams ran plays for them in the post simply because Bibby was on them.
In that ridiculous New Year's Day game where Nate Robinson single-handedly beat the Hawks, Nate only had the opportunity to drive the comeback because Wilson Chandler had something like 20 and 15 through three quarters because Woodson used Bibby on Chandler so as to hide Bibby from Chris Duhon. I can think of no better example of how the coaching staff views Bibby as a defender than "We can't let him guard Chris Duhon."
The Hawks are also a terrible defensive team in transition due to Bibby's lack of footspeed and Jamal Crawford's complete inability to get back on defense.
(Seriously, watch him after he or a teammate attempts a shot that misses. It's like his body shuts down completely. He just stands and watches until someone rebounds the ball. If it's the other team that gets the rebound, you'll see him switch back on and remember he has to go to the other end of the court. This happens over and over and over again. It's equal parts fascinating and frustrating that he has no visible instinct toward playing defense.)
Is that something Milwaukee will be able to exploit? They seem to have remained a good defensive rebounding team without Bogut and they force a lot of turnovers.
It'll be interesting if Salmons has to guard Johnson and be the first option on offense. That's a heavy load. If I'm not mis-remembering, Johnson backed down Delfino fairly easily more than once in the fourth quarter of the first game in Milwaukee so I'd understand Skiles wanting to use Salmons on Johnson as much ass possible. I suspect Ridnour and Stackhouse will be the guys who score or don't score the points that make the biggest difference in the result of each game. Curious if you have any thoughts about that supposition.
It seems to me that using Mbah a Moute and Thomas on Smith and Horford could be quite effective defensively but perhaps not a net positive due to their offensive limitations.
Bucksketball: Oddly enough, the Bucks can't get much done in transition. It doesn't really make much sense. They force turnovers, are a very good defensive rebounding team and actually play at a good pace, but they score very little in transition. It's possible they'll try and attack this if it's a weakness for the Hawks, given the offensive problems of late.
But I'm not certain there are any answers to Milwaukee's offensive woes without Bogut.