Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 11/26/11
Bogut
MILWAUKEE -- Andrew Bogut can begin to make travel plans for a 21-hour flight back to Milwaukee from his native Australia as the NBA lockout is reportedly coming to an end.After nearly five months of on-and-off negotiations between NBA owners and the Players' Association, there is a tentative agreement in place to end the lockout that will have players soon reporting to an abbreviated training camp. The early word is that training camp and free agency will begin Dec. 9 and that a 66-game season will begin Dec. 25.For the Bucks, it's a chance to see if they can look more like the 2009-10 version of the team than the far less successful 2010-11 squad.Milwaukee struggled last season after raising expectations a year earlier when the Bucks nearly advanced out of the first round of the playoffs. In the 2010 postseason, even with Bogut watching from the sideline due to a slew of injuries he suffered in a horrific fall after a fast-break dunk, Brandon Jennings helped lead Milwaukee and the Fear the Deer' movement in a hard-fought seven game series against the Atlanta Hawks.But injuries to last year's team just kept coming as the Bucks finished 35-47 and out of the playoffs.With Bogut healthy for the first time since the April 2010 accident in which he broke his hand, dislocated his elbow and sprained his wrist, Milwaukee has a great opportunity to return to its 2009-10 ways. The 7-foot center played hurt all of last season and his offensive numbers dropped off considerably.But even with his injuries, Bogut led the league in blocked shots and was the driving force behind defensive-minded coach Scott Skiles' scheme. Though the Bucks struggled to score finishing last in the NBA at 91.9 points per game they were third-best in the league while allowing only 92.7 points per game.This will be also be a critical year for Jennings in his third NBA season. The speedy left-handed point guard did not take last year's losing season well but has been one of the most active NBA players throughout the lockout, playing pickup games and showcasing his skills in a variety of ways.But what may make the biggest difference for the Bucks are the changes they made to the roster after last season was finished. Shooting guard Stephen Jackson can now throw on a Bucks uniform for the first time, and the fiery veteran could be the difference for a young team that lacked a true vocal leader last season.Jackson was acquired on draft day in a move that sent John Salmons to Sacramento and Corey Maggette to Charlotte. Jackson is known as much for his on-court antics including a first-quarter ejection at the Bradley Center last season when playing against the Bucks as he is his play. But the 33-year-old is a proven scorer, averaging nearly 20 points per game over the past two seasons while with the Bobcats.There are several question marks surrounding the rest of the roster, though.Defensive standout forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is a restricted free agent and may have an opportunity to play more minutes for another team. He competed for playing time last season with Drew Gooden, Ersan Ilyasova and rookie Larry Sanders. Although Mbah a Moute has averaged only 6.7 points in his three seasons with Milwaukee, he can effectively guard opposing teams' best player, no matter the position. Last season, he guarded Pacers 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert one night and 24 hours later checked Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul.Ilyasova also may not return. Although the 6-foot-10 power forward from Turkey is under contract, he has expressed interest in returning to his home country to play professional basketball there instead of in the NBA.Shooting guard Chris Douglas-Roberts' career with the Bucks is likely over after just one season. Douglas-Roberts spent a lot of time on Skiles' bench after general manager John Hammond acquired him from New Jersey last offseason for a second-round pick.Barring the unlikely event that a new contract is signed, this will also mark the first season since 2000 that Milwaukee will be without sharpshooter Michael Redd. The max contract he signed in 2005 has expired and the 32-year-old is a free agent.There will likely be several roster moves made prior to the Bucks leaving the practice floor and getting into game action, but the trade to acquire Jackson was the big splash made by Hammond preemptively, knowing the roster would be frozen for several months.First-round pick Tobias Harris is a combo forward Skiles said is more of a small forward than power forward. Harris turned 19 years old in July and will not be expected to be a major force for the Bucks as a rookie.Second-round pick Jon Leuer, who played his college ball at Wisconsin, will also likely spend much of his rookie season watching from the bench.Two other new faces, point guards Beno Udrih and Shaun Livingston, will be major role players this season. Udrih can play both guard positions and is widely considered as a similar but more talented version of former Bucks guard Luke Ridnour.
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