2008 with our new coach!
Working for the weekend
Bucks spend the first weekend of camp preparing for busy week
by Adam Rose / special to Bucks.com
October 4, 2008
MILWAUKEE -- The 2008 training camp is less than a week old, but a survey of Charlie Bell and Jon McGlocklin shows they're impressed with what they’ve seen so far. Bucks.com visited with Bell and McGlocklin for their impressions and also sat in the with the media as Scott Skiles gave a status update on what’s happening in practice these days.
We’ll start with Scott Skiles discussing what the weekend practices will be like as the Bucks prepare for their first exhibition game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Bradley Center (Monday, October 6 with a 7 p.m. tip-off).
“We won’t stray too far from what we’re doing right now,” Skiles said. “We just want to firm up habits. Keep the effort level high where it is and stay on top of things if there’s slippage.
“We have four games next week. You can get a lot done in a practice gym, of course, but those exhibition games are really invaluable. You’re suiting up against another team finally and we’re looking at tape. We’re looking at other players and other teams. It’s different. Those are more teaching tools.”
Since defense has been the main topic from the day Skiles was hired, it might have been refreshing for him to field a question on the team’s offensive gameplans for the season and how things are progressing on that front.
“We’re trying to do what everybody’s trying to do, play to the guys strengths and stay away from their weaknesses,” Skiles noted. “We’ll run some things that we ran in Chicago and then we’ll run some things unique to the guys we have here. I don’t think you can just take an offense with you everywhere you go. Unless you have a team that’s very similar. It has to be tailored somewhat if not all the way to the talent you have.”
Skiles told the media that the team has been installing its offense at the start of each practice and right now they have enough in to play a game. He still expects to add more before Monday night, but he’ll evaluate things following the Minnesota game.
“We’ll put in a little more before the first game and we’ll see how it goes,” Skiles said. “We’ll see how it’s working and we’ll add or subtract accordingly depending upon what we think is fitting with our personnel and how things are going.”
As far as how many sets are needed, he pointed out that it all depends on the team and personnel. Skiles noted there are some good teams that run about five things just as there are other teams that run 60 to be successful. He’ll evaluate how successful things are on Monday and decide to add or subtract from there.
As for his expectations for putting the ball in the hoop this year, Skiles answered that question with the following: “It should be a pretty good scoring team, but that’s not what I want our focus to be.”
That probably sounds good to all the Bucks fans who have been hoping for an improved defense this year. Along those same lines, Jon McGlocklin and Charlie Bell’s comments about camp through the first several days will also sound good.
Bucks.com asked Jon McGlocklin what his impressions were of the practices he has attended thus far. McGlocklin commented, “I love it. I love the organization, the command that Scott and the coaches have. It’s great. I think it’s a good camp.
“The players are focused and in-tune. Some of the things that you notice are the veterans talking to other guys about different things on the court. Things like – set the screen this way or do this and that. I’ve already seen a lot of that.”
Because McGlocklin was so impressed with camp thus far, it’s probably no surprise that this is what he was expecting from Skiles all along.
“I expected the kind of organization, detail and enthusiasm that you see from Scott and this system,” McGlocklin said. “This is what I expected so there’s no surprise there. We knew what we were getting with Scott Skiles and you see it out there. There’s a crispness to it. As a player I liked being able to come in – no matter how many hours that you’re going to go – that you know what to expect and that you’re going to go hard for that time rather than stopping and standing. He doesn’t do that. He keeps it going and as a player that’s something that I appreciated mentally and physically.”
Now that we know what Jon McGlocklin’s thoughts are as a former player observing camp, we can compare his impressions to Charlie Bell, who is in his fourth training camp with the Bucks.
Bucks.com asked Bell what, if anything is different from previous years. “More intensity,” Bell said almost instantly. “ I think guys are really getting after it on the defensive end. Guys are really playing hard. You can really see that we’re working hard as a team.”
He also complemented the balance of practice and Coach Skiles’ ability to push players to get more out of them, but not overdoing it (as Skiles mentioned in our previous camp report).
“Coach is doing a great job of recognizing when guys are tired,” Bell noted. “He’s pushing us, not over the limit, but to the limit. Everybody’s having a good time with each other and it’s been fun.”
As Bell commented, players have been having a good time and enjoying camp while taking care of business on the court. Their enthusiasm is creating some excitement with those who have observed their practices.
Jon McGlocklin has been with the Bucks since day one and showed some real enthusiasm when he told us “I’m excited about what we have in terms of leadership here in the coaches. I’m excited about the trades and the type of players we have. I think we’ve got a chance to get back into the hunt.
“I think the Jefferson trade was critical. The greatest trade we made was for Oscar Robertson. After that, I think the Jefferson trade falls in there in the top three or four. That, along with the other players we have, I’m real hopeful for this season.”
Charlie Bell told us that his practice court highlight is “the defense, how everybody’s helping each other. We’ve been doing a lot as far as team defense. If you’re teammate gets beat, you need to be there to help them. I’m really impressed by the way guys are helping each other.”
Excitement is running through the Bucks training center as the routine is about to shift from going up against teammates in practice each day to getting the job done during the preseason schedule. Monday’s game is just the next step as coach Skiles and his staff build on favorable, early returns. -