After a year and a half away from the NBA, T.J. Ford is back for the Milwaukee Bucks.
How sweet it is.
Not only for Ford, who missed all of last season and the second half of his rookie campaign with a career-threatning spinal injury, but for the historically bad Bucks.
They’ve suddenly become the NBA’s surprise story of the year and hottest over bet, winning four of their first five games on the strength of the league’s second-best offense.
Most of the credit, goes to Ford.
“His ability to penetrate and dish to the open man is outstanding, and he can also get the ball out and go on the break as well as anyone in the game,” says Covers Expert David Malinsky.
That makes the rest of the Bucks players get out into the open floor adds Malinsky, “since they know that he is going to create easy scoring opportunities for them.”
Milwaukee has taken full advantage. By averaging 103.8 points per game, the Bucks have played over the total in five of their first six games, with Ford averaging nearly a double-double (15.3 points, 9.0 assists) per contest.
He’s actually only recorded three, but his return to a fresh-faced Bucks squad is unquestionably the biggest reason Milwaukee is scoring at will.
The last time the Bucks finished the season over the century mark in scoring was back in 2001, when Ford was a freshman at Texas.
“It really all comes down to the health of T. J. Ford,” says Malinsky. “He did not lose a step at all while he was sidelined, and his quickness is amazing – he actually made Allen Iverson look slow when they met in the opener, which is not easy to do.”
Ford helped the Bucks erase a 14-point halftime deficit in an eventual 117-108 overtime win over Philly, recording 14 assists and scoring 16, while Michael Redd finished with 30.
Maybe, but one thing we know for sure is Redd’s play, along with the rest of the Bucks, has improved immensely with Ford running the show. Redd sits fifth in league scoring, averaging 26.3 points per game – nine points more than his career average.
"It`s amazing just how fast he is. He`s just phenomenal," said Redd. "He puts so much pressure on the defense that it opens things up for us."
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