The 2010-2011 season was a lesson in the adversity of growth for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks. With every game, every steal, every shot and every defensive stop, Luc showed progress.
Despite a multitude of misfortune, the Bucks missed the playoffs by just two games. In a season that punished many of the Milwaukee players both physically and mentally, Luc was one of the team’s most reliable performers. He was able to play in 79 of the 82 games during the season and as No. 12’s playing time increased, so did his contributions to the team both offensively and defensively.
It was already well known that Luc Richard ranks among the NBA’s elite on the defensive end. But if the NBA learned one thing about Luc this season, it’s that his defense doesn’t slump. On many occasions, No. 12 willingly took on the challenge of guarding the best players on the opposing team and continuously forced them into tough shots and mistakes.
It didn’t take Blake Griffin long to understand how strong Luc is on D. « He’s a great defender, » the rookie said.
The Prince racked up eight double-doubles this season equaling his career total prior to this year. Hard work on improving his range developed Luc Richard’s offensive game. Defenders must now account for Luc’s ability to put the ball on the ground, in addition to shooting the 18-foot jumper.
In his three year career, Luc has been never been thrown out of a game and has only been charged with two technical fouls. No. 12’s maturity, and his ability to lead by example even when the going gets tough sets Luc a part.
The Bucks played three games on Sunday this season. In those three games, Luc Richard averaged 15 points and 7.3 rebounds. It was just something about Sunday as Luc also increased his minutes to 36.7 minutes per game.
GAME OF THE YEAR
Luc’s best game came on a big stage with his Bucks taking on a Knicks team that had recently acquired a second superstar in Carmelo Anthony. Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop broke down Luc’s big night:
The Prince hassled Amare Stoudemire into a contested 14-foot brick of a jumpshot on New York’s first offensive possession of the game, foredooming Stoudemire’s wayward 11-28 shooting night. Mbah a Moute literally had a hand in stopping all three of New York’s relevant offensive players. He frustrated Stoudemire, blocked Billups, and breathed all over Anthony. Mbah a Moute also chipped in with an atypical offensive performance — notably making 13-13 at the free-throw line…Mbah a Moute actually has a quick first step off the dribble, and he is the Buck most prone to make a strong (if not always fruitful) drive to the basket in the halfcourt — now that Maggette no longer plays. In a team-high 45 minutes, Mbah a Moute racked up 19/8/1 along with three steals and three blocks. Brilliant. »
IN HIS OWN WORDS
With some big performances, like the one against the Knicks, throughout the season, Luc could see his hard work on his game paying off.
« I think my shot is so much better with all the work I’ve put in, » he said. « Now it’s just a matter of shooting the ball with a lot of confidence. I said before it’s not going to happen overnight but you can slowly see it happening already. »
Luc plans to continue to feed his offensive skill set as his career goes on.
« And I think that’s pretty good for me in terms of my career, » the Prince said regarding the development of his offensive game. « I’m going to continue to get better at it to become a better player. »
IN THEIR WORDS
Those around Luc and his peers in the NBA are constantly giving No. 12 credit for all that he does. No. 12’s game is appreciated around the league:
Bucks GM John Hammond:
« Luc Mbah a Moute is a guy that’s been an important piece to our organization. Not only is he important for what he does on the floor, but for what he does off the floor. He’s a great man that [coach] Scott [Skiles] can depend on every night to go out and defend. »
Bucks coach Scott Skiles:
« Luc can surprise you with his lateral movement and his ability to contest shots. »
NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin:
« He’s a great defender. »
Bucks center Andrew Bogut:
« He’s our best perimeter defender. Kobe’s going to score 20 just because of the amount of shots he gets up. We just need Luc to keep contesting every shot and make sure [Bryant] knows he’s there every shot. »
Bucks assistant coach Jim Boylan:
« We kind of broke down Luc’s shot and reconstructed it a little bit, » he said. « Now we’re back here working on it and staying consistent with our effort. We’re trying to be perfect every time we shoot the ball. Luc has been an unbelievable student. He’s been really fantastic, absorbing it and trying to bring that stuff to his game. »
AS SEEN BY
Those that follow the Bucks through their grind and write about the NBA were impressed by his defense, his offensive growth and his ability to step up when his team needed someone to carry the load.
John Hollinger, ESPN:
« He can guard any spot one through four. Mbah a Moute remains the league’s most underrated defender, not to mention its most versatile. Against Dallas last season, he guarded Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry in the same game; neither player did jack against him. »
Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball, on Luc’s offensive game:
« Mbah a Moute has come a long ways since his rookie season offensively. He attacks the rim very hard and uses his athleticism and touch around the hoop to finish as well as anyone on the Bucks. He is always competing and finds himself in the right places more often than not when the Bucks have the ball…
His defense no longer needs much praise, it’s a given every night he’ll be a headache for the opposition, but his offense has really come along nice. From 15-feet in, Mbah a Moute is as reliable as anyone on the Bucks. »
Dan Sinclair, Brew Hoop
« Luc is a serious hustle guy who rebounds with his body and gets good position on the offensive boards…he’s extremely active in the flow of the offense and spots seams in the defense really well, always seeming to cut toward the basket at the perfect time. I really hope Milwaukee keeps him. »
Charles Gardner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The third-year forward continued to be one of the league’s premier defenders, taking his usual turn on the top scorers while also going against taller power forwards nightly. Due to injuries, he started 52 games, primarily at power forward. He has improved his midrange jump shot, although opponents still play him for the drive and lay off his jumper. He has a quick first step and can get around bigger post players to score at the rim
Alex Boeder, Brew Hoop, on Luc’s hot run in late March and early April
« The Prince’s defense never slumps. And now he’s scored in double-digits in nine out of his last ten games — reaching that distinction for the first time in his pro career. »
Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball on Luc’s hot March
« Mbah a Moute has run off six consecutive double digit scoring games, the longest such streak of his career. Given that the Bucks virtually never run a play for him, this has been a pretty spectacular run for the Bucks power forward. It should come as no surprise that Mbah a Moute has averaged 2.5 offensive rebounds per game over this stretch, and capitalized on the majority of those opportunities with scores. »
« LRMAM isn’t the type of guy to get his proper due defensively. However, Luc Richard has been one of the most versatile defenders while guarding just about every position on the floor and helping stop pick-and-roll plays with his quick feet and expansive wingspan. »
Jake McCormick, We’re Bucked:
Luc Mbah a Moute has gradually learned how to compliment his defensive strengths with a decent mid-range jumper, athleticism around the rim, and the ability to accelerate and maneuver into the paint to grab an offensive rebound after starting the play along the perimeter. His improvements on offense have added some value to his game, and the Bucks would be wise to bring the 24-year-old Mbah a Moute back for at least another couple seasons. After all, great defenders are never out of place on a great defensive team, especially when they learn how to stay useful on the other end of the court.
Luc’s 2010-2011 season can be summed up in a few crucial numbers:
1 Luc started one game at center this season. In that only start, not only did he contribute–scoring ten points and picking up 15 rebounds–No. 12 also showed his versatility and his ability to easily guard four or five spots on the floor.
9.2 Points per game Luc scored after the All-Star break during his 2010-2011 campaign. His improvement after the break is a testament to his work ethic.
14 Luc played his best basketball in the month of March as the Bucks played 14 games. No. 12 averaged 10.3 points per game–his highest total of any month.
26.5 Number of minutes per game No. 12 played during the season. It was the highest total of his three-year career.
40.2 The percentage of Luc’s rebounds (420) that came odd the offensive glass (169)
52 Games started by Luc this season. He’s now started at least 50 games in each of his three season in the NBA.
52.8 Luc’s field goal percentage against divisional opponents. His stellar shooting against his divisional foes was six percent higher than his total field goal shooting percentage.
103 Luc’s defensive rating in 2010-2011 tied for the best of his career.
6,073 That’s the number of minutes the Prince has played in his short career. In three seasons, Luc is averaging 78 games played per season–evidence of both his dependability and ability to take care of his body during the grueling seasons.