The Milwaukee Bucks are in a bit of no man's land, with a tough bid to get into the playoffs ahead that seems almost entirely dependent on Andrew Bogut returning from injury and being effective. The club is 7-5 when Bogut plays this season and 7-17 when he doesn't. The team is built around Bogut. It's a bit difficult to make adjustments without knowing that he'll be around.
NEEDS & TARGETS
Interestingly, the Bucks don't have any gaping lineup holes, just small holes up and down the roster. Per 82games.com, Milwaukee is winning just one positional PER matchup: point guard (+3). The team is winning the shooting battle at the two guard spots, and the scoring battle only at the point and center. A Bogut return solves one problem, and the point guard pairing of Brandon Jennings and Beno Udrih do well, but the Bucks have a lot of salary tied up in those forward spots given the deficit in production. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden and Mike Dunleavy combine to make about $17.5 million this season; Stephen Jackson, on a $9 million salary this season, has played a third of the team's small forward minutes, too.
The problem is that Gooden is on a bad contract, Jackson on an awful contract, and there aren't a whole lot of assets in the Bucks' cupboard to use to upgrade the forward slots. Playing Jon Leuer more might be Milwaukee's best bet, but Scott Skiles doesn't seem terribly inclined to move in that direction.
Udrih hasn't been great this season, but is a decent option for the teams looking for an upgrade at the point. He's on the books for $7.3 million next season, which will give teams projected to be over the tax line or interested in messing around in free agency pause.
SALARY CAP SITUATION
The Bucks have a salary figure of $60 million, according to ShamSports.com. Milwaukee has $51 million in salary tied up for 2012-13, and Jennings will be eligible for an early extension in July (though that won't kick in until 2013-14).
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