Bucks’ Hammond looks to improve with draft
A year after riding a 22-8 finish into a thrilling, seven-game playoff series with Atlanta, the Bucks fell to 35-47 and are watching the NBA postseason on television like everybody else.
“The season was disappointing for all of us,” Hammond said. “I think the one thing that’s really important is that our players feel that. That gives us a great base moving forward that they’re going to come back motivated and ready for a good year.”
The primary factor in the Bucks’ tumble was a rash of injuries that plagued the team from the start of training camp. And one other thing.
“We lacked cohesion,” Hammond said Tuesday.
Hardly anyone on the Bucks’ roster was immune from the injury bug. Second-year point guard Brandon Jennings missed 19 games with a broken foot. Drew Gooden missed 41 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Carlos Delfino missed 32 games with a neck strain.
In all, Milwaukee had nobody play in all 82 games.
Of all the Bucks’ injuries, though, none was as problematic as the elbow injury Andrew Bogut suffered late last season. Bogut wasn’t ready to go when camp began in October and the injury left him at less than 100 percent for most of the year until he was eventually shut down on April 8.
He underwent arthroscopic surgery on April 13 to remove bone chips and scar tissue from his right elbow. Despite playing much of the year with various ailments, Bogut still managed to finish with 12.8 points and a career-best 11.1 rebounds a game while finishing sixth in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
“The surgery went extremely well,” Hammond said. “He had some floating chips in there. “The rehab he’s going to have to do this year as opposed to last year, I think he’s going to come back 100 percent ready to go.”
Hammond said he will come up with a plan to improve his team, which has needs at just about every position. The plan begins with this summer’s draft and Hammond says he’s not going into it with a specific need in mind.
“We’ll take the best player available,” he said. “But I think the greatest priority for me is for us to improve from within.”