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Previewing Wizards vs. Bucks: Get to know the new, up-tempo Bucks

After close losses to the Cavaliers and Celtics, the Wizards try to pick up their first win of the season at home against the Bucks.


Who, when and where: The Wizards play the Bucks at 7:00 PM EST at the Verizon Center. The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet.

Are they good? So far, they've done pretty well, taking down the Celtics in Boston and defeating the Cavaliers in their home opener. In other words, they've already beaten all the teams that have beaten the Wizards. If they're not good, at least we can deduce that they're at least better than the Wizards at this point.

What are their strengths? The Bucks have lit it up from downtown so far this season, shooting 40.4 percent from three this year so far. A big part of that is Mike Dunleavy who is 9 for 11 on the season so far. He's singlehandedly making up for Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, who are a combined 8 for 28 this season. Although you can't expect Dunleavy's percentages to remain high forever, he needs to be taken seriously. The Bucks have also done an outstanding job at protecting the ball. They've been top 10 the last three seasons and although they're 14th in the league right now, that should get back to level they expect as the season wears on, thanks in big part to Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis who are both great at limiting turnovers despite high usage rates.

What are their weaknesses? Right now, the Bucks are struggling at creating offense for their bigs, as BrewHoop noted in the recap of the Bucks' loss to the Grizzlies on Wednesday night. The only big averaging more than six points per game at the moment is Larry Sanders. Samuel Dalembert and Joel Pryzbilla have helped to shore up the defense somewhat, but they're not providing much offensively, as you'd expect. The surprise has been the play of Ersan Ilyasova has struggled mightily this year after signing a $40 million deal during the summer. Larry Sanders' growth has been a welcome surprise, but he's still averaging 6.9 fouls per 36 minutes, so they can't rely on him to log heavy minutes on a consistent basis just yet.

What might people not know about them? The Bucks have put together quite an unusual profile so far. They're the rare team that defends well and can do so while playing at a high pace. We'll see if that keeps up through 82 games.

How is Brandon Jennings doing as he begins his contract year? The early returns have been pretty impressive, but he's still showing some signs that make general managers hesitant. He opened the season up with a 21 point, 13 assist performance against the Celtics and followed it up with 13 and 13 against Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers. Memphis really took him out of his game, however. He needed 20 shots to get 19 points and only had 5 assists as the Bucks picked up their first loss of the season.

So can the Wizards win? Let's put it this way: The Bucks have already beaten the Cavaliers and the Celtics, who both beat the Wizards. Logically speaking, the Bucks should be favored here, but the game is D.C. and the Wizards should be plenty motivated after two good efforts against Boston.