The Milwaukee Bucks currently hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which means that if the NBA playoffs started today, they would face the Miami Heat in a best-of-seven series. That's the same Miami team that won it all last year, owns a 19-game winning streak going into Wednesday night's game at Philadelphia, and employs LeBron James, arguably the most dominant athlete in major sports.
"The two games that we played Miami so far, we matched up well against them," Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings was quoted as saying in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bucks Blog last week. "If you ask me, that's who I would want to play in the first round. Miami."
To make such a bold statement, Jennings must be feeling pretty good about his team's play these days. Since acquiring guard J.J. Redick from Orlando in late February, the Bucks are 6-3, and Jennings' stat lines are noticeably different. Before the trade, Jennings routinely put up 18-20 shots a game and averaged in the neighborhood of six assists. Since the trade, he's shooting fewer than 12 times with over 13 assists per game. With some of the scoring burden removed by Redick, he's playing the game like a pure point guard, distributing the ball instead of shooting it.
There's just over a month and 20 games left in the regular season, plenty of time for Milwaukee to surpass Atlanta and/or Boston in the standings and draw New York, Indiana or Brooklyn in the first round, much better match-ups than Miami. But perhaps we should wait to see how the Bucks do against the Heat on Friday night at the Bradley Center before scoffing at Jennings' playoff preference.