The biggest question facing the made-over Milwaukee roster is defense, something the Bucks have struggled with this season.
“We’re having some really nice, like five- to seven-minute stretches where we’re really locking things down defensively,” Skiles said. “And that’s the reason we’ve been able to win some games. We just haven’t done it for real long periods of time, which ultimately we’re going to have to do.”
“He’s been good in certain situations, especially when he’s been given a challenge to guard more of a main guy,” Skiles said. “And like a lot of the NBA players, if it’s somebody that doesn’t appear to be a main guy, there can be some slippage. But he certainly has that ability.”
“You can’t run without the ball,” Hammond said. “And I think Ekpe’s going to help us in that regard. We needed to increase and help our interior defense, and this guy is going to be a very good goaltender for us.”
Then there’s the departure of Jackson, who appeared to fall out of favor with Skiles and hasn’t been playing lately because of what the team described as a hamstring injury. Asked if he was relieved that Jackson’s situation is resolved, Skiles downplayed any sense of tension.
“It’s just one of those things,” Skiles said. “I wouldn’t go that far. It’s just part of the trade.”
“I really can’t put my hand on that,” Jennings said. “That’s a touchy situation between Jackson and Coach. But at the end of the day, he was still positive with everybody around the team, still a great guy in the locker room, a great guy to have around.”
“I’m thinking we can get 100-some points a night,” Jennings said. “It’ll be great _ and more TV time.”