Archive for Friday, May 5, 2006

Bucks accomplish goal, but work still remains

May 5, 2006

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— Michael Redd proved he could carry the Bucks for an entire season and reach the playoffs.

He'll need help if Milwaukee wants to go deeper into the postseason.

After re-signing Redd to a six-year, $90 million deal last offseason as part of a $200 million splurge in player contracts, the Milwaukee Bucks made good on their promises to revamp the roster and reach the playoffs.

But the Bucks didn't become winners - reaching the postseason with a 40-42 record - and were tossed out in five games by the model of steadiness, the Detroit Pistons.

"We won some games this year with Michael, but you can't win consistently," Andrew Bogut said. "(The Pistons) have a lot of guys that can take over a game, and we need to get that way."

That's why a 10-game improvement from last season remains so frustrating. Redd quietly averaged 25.4 points a game.

"You think of yourself as a team, but certainly Michael's had a fantastic year," coach Terry Stotts said. "Michael's been a consistent player for us throughout the year, and he's improved from last year."

Bobby Simmons, Mo Williams and T.J. Ford all averaged in double figures, but the Bucks' porous defense allowed teams to shoot better than 46 percent against them - worst among those in the playoffs.

Bogut became the fourth No. 1 pick overall in 21 years to appear in the postseason in his rookie year, joining Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Chris Webber. But he was frustrated with both his season, when he averaged 9.4 points and seven rebounds, and how the team was eliminated.

"I have a lot of room to improve," said Bogut, who hopes to return to Australia by the beginning of next week. "I was too inconsistent. One game I scored two, and one game I scored 20. I've got a lot of work to do, especially on my jump shot."

Redd tries to be a vocal leader, but it took a 13-year veteran to carry much of that weight, Bogut said.

"Ervin Johnson was our vocal leader and he didn't play a vital minute, so that's kind of tough on the team," he said.

Can Bogut be that leader?

"I really want to try and take over the reigns a little bit more," he said. "I think I can be that guy, but I have to earn the respect of my teammates and my coaches and better respect in the league before I can start doing those things."

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