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Bucks Finish In 6th Place, Will Face Atlanta in First Round of Playoffs

Eric Amenda

After all the wins and losses were tallied up, the Milwaukee Bucks finished the 2009-2010 NBA season with a 46-36 record, an improvement of 12 games over last year. Coming into the season, Milwaukee wasn't given much respect and was projected to be amongst the bottom feeders in the Eastern Conference when the season ended. But with the leadership and vision from both GM John Hammond and Coach Scott Skiles, and players like center Andrew Bogut and rookie guard Brandon Jennings, the Bucks proved many people wrong and found themselves in the Playoffs for the first time since 2006.

Milwaukee began the marathon 82 game NBA regular season by coming out of the gates hot as they went 8-3 in their first 11 contests. Then over the course of their next 34 games, the Bucks cooled down and posted a less than ideal 12-22 mark as they stumbled into the month of February. And that was the point in the season where the struggles came to a screeching halt and this young Bucks team really took off and never looked back. Coupled with the pickup of veteran Jerry Stackhouse in mid January, the Bucks made a deal just before the February 18th deadline and acquired Bulls forward John Salmons in a three player deal. Milwaukee has gone 22-8 since the trade for Salmons, and have been playing some electrifying team basketball that over the course of the last few seasons, had gone missing.

But perhaps the biggest reason for the Bucks turnaround this season has been the vast improvement of center Andrew Bogut's play. Bogut came into the season as a middle of the pack, average center but quickly made his presence known and burst onto the scene as a front line dominant NBA big man. At the time of his horrific arm injury at home against Phoenix, which sidelined him for the remainder of the season, Bogut was a legitimate double-double threat every time he set foot on the court. For the season he averaged 15.9 points per game, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.5 blocked shots and impacted his team far beyond the confines of the basketball court.

Potential rookie of the year point guard Brandon Jennings is another reason why the Bucks are much improved and playing exciting basketball. Jennings, the young buck out of Oak Hill Academy, who played over seas in Italy last season, was drafted by Milwaukee with the 10th pick in last June's NBA draft. The lightning quick guard provided the Bucks with an instant scoring threat and that threat never faded the entire year as he posted 55 points in just his seventh NBA game, the highest point total by any one player all season.

The Bucks have had their fair share of ups and downs this season, which is to be expected with such a young team that is in the process of rebuilding and turning their franchise around. But what no one, not even the most optimistic of Bucks fans could have dreamt, happened. The Milwaukee Bucks overcame all the pressure and adversity and criticism and persevered and accomplished what they set out to do when the season began.


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  2. Man the Bucks just don't have enough without Bogut but this is a great learning experience for Jennings. I have no doubt that one day Jennings will be the guard everybody would love to have in the playoffs.