Odds & Ends: Bucks, Williams, Beasley, Raptors

Here are some notes from around the NBA on a quiet Thursday night…

  • Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examines the Bucks and their chance at becoming one of the league's pleasant surprises this season. He says the team is sharing the basketball, swarming on defense and scoring triple-digit points on a regular basis. In fact, the loss of Andrew Bogut to a broken ankle could be a reason why the ball is moving so well on offense. All this despite Stephen Jackson's touchy situation. "And it is my understanding that he has requested a trade," writes Hunt. 
  • Deron Williams is staying positive in New Jersey, according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. The Nets have been hit hard by injuries lately, even playing with just eight players in uniform on Wednesday against the Pistons. "But, you know, hopefully we get some guys back here soon," Williams said of his depleted team. "What can you do?" This is a sign of progress for Williams, who used to pout and show his frustration on the court. Williams' rosy perspective could be something of a positive sign for the Nets, who will be looking to retain the 27-year-old point guard when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. He's still considering his one-year, $17.8MM player option.
  • Michael Beasley might have a reputation for being a detrimental black hole, but the numbers tell a different story, according to Rob Parker of the New York Times. "The Wolves are not, as has been suggested, better without Beasley; the Wolves’ offense may be a bit more fluid when he sits, but the skill that produced Beasley’s volume scoring last season is still present and still valuable," writes Parker. An analysis of on/off data from this season shows that the Timberwolves benefit from having Beasley on the court. The 23-year-old forward should hope NBA teams see this — he's a restricted free agent after this season.
  • The Raptors are struggling, so coach Dwane Casey is going back to the basics. For one thing, he's focusing on the team's poor 2-6 record at home. While taking away comforts would be one way to shake up his players, "there really are no visible extras this team enjoys," writes Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. Ganter also notes that Amir Johnson's recent struggles might be tied to personal issues off the court.

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