Bucks Change Could Make For a Better Monroe, A Better Season

CHICAGO — Let’s keep things in perspective, it was only one game, one rather meaningless preseason game.

So, the Bucks’ preseason opener against the Bulls Monday night at the United Center in Chicago shouldn’t be construed as a harbinger for the regular season.

Yet, Bucks Nation had to be encouraged by two things in that game: the Bucks’ perimeter shooting and their defense, two facets of their game that contributed mightily to their bitterly-disappointing 33-win 2015-2016 campaign.

Newcomers Matthew Dellavedova and Mirza Teletovic, a pair of offseason acquisitions who both have a history of being top-notch 3-point shooters, showed why they were brought to Milwaukee: Dellavedova went 3 for 4 from long range, and Teletovic went 2 for 3 on treys against the Bulls.

The Bucks were 10 of 25 from 3-point range which, if that happens on a semi-regular basis during the regular season, should bode well for them.

And it should bode especially well for Greg Monroe, the Bucks’ veteran center who had little room to maneuver around the basket last season because Bucks’ opponents simply packed the lane, almost brazenly daring the Bucks to shoot from outside.

“We definitely have some new personnel now, guys who can shoot,’’ said the slim-downed Monroe, who dropped 10 pounds during the offseason and was extremely active against the Bulls in posting a robust line that included 15 points, nine-rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals in just 17 minutes.

“It definitely helps when you have shooters like that. There’s a lot more space on the floor and most any player would love to play in space. We have some things to work on, but definitely having these shooters now will help us a lot.’’

So will playing a modicum of defense. Last season, the Bucks hardly seemed to break a sweat on the defensive end of the court and repeatedly left shooters wide open in the corners.

That didn’t happen against the Bulls. The Bucks’ defense, especially by the reserve corps, was impressive. Michael Carter-Williams and Dellavedova came off the bench and were instant game-changers with their pesky man-to-man defense. They pressured the Bulls’ primary ballhandlers immediately after inbound passes and disrupted the Bulls’ offense.

Again, it was just one preseason game. But it was also a positive step for the Bucks in their attempt to rectify two of their biggest problems from last season.

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