- The organizers of the Olympic torch relay finally realized the best way to prevent protesters from getting at the flame as it makes its way to Beijing: give it to the tallest Chinese dude you can find. OK, so Yao Ming was apparently unavailable, but Yi Jianlian carried the torch without incident, joining Jackie Chan (another guy I wouldn't mess with) as the flame makes its way through Southern China.
- As noted previously, all signs point to Scott Skiles rounding out his coaching staff with some combination of Jim Boylan, Lionel Hollins, Kelvin Sampson and Joe Wolf. And as we predicted a couple weeks back, player development specialist Bill Peterson will be the lone holdover from last year's staff. UPDATE: The Bob Boozer Jinx has some good logic on why Hollins (probably staying in Memphis?) and Wolf (redundant if Peterson is around?) might not be in Milwaukee next year.
- Ah yes, one of the joys of summer: 82games.com giving us more stats explaining why the Bucks were so bad last year. The sortable offensive stats reveal that the Bucks took the second-highest proportion of inside shots in the league, something to keep in mind the next time someone claims the Bucks were too jumper-happy. The downside is the Bucks were 29th out of 30 teams in inside fg%, so it's not like taking shots in the paint did them as much good as it could have. The Bucks were also fairly miserable from three point range, finishing 25th in 3fg%, but at least they had the common sense to rank only 24th in shots from distance.
- The picture is of course even bleaker on the defensive end , where the stats suggest the Bucks' perimeter defense was mostly to blame for the worst defense in the league. Milwaukee ranked 27th in 3fg% allowed and dead last in 2pt jump shot% allowed, indicative of a team that couldn't stop penetration and kick outs or close out on shooters. The Bucks were better in terms of inside fg% allowed, ranking 19th, but they unfortunately allowed the third highest proportion of inside shots. In other words, while their interior defenders weren't total pushovers, opponents got into the lane with ease. And considering that inside shots are the easiest to convert, that's a big problem. The ball's in your court, Mr. Hammond.
- The Bratwurst has begun their comprehensive look at this year's draft. Brett likes what he sees from Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, and Derrick Rose, but he's not sure about the rest of the purported top eight. My completely unscientific sleeper pick: Indiana senior PF D.J. White.
- Michael Hunt asks a very reasonable question: remember when the Bucks were actually good?
To the question of whether this can become a good NBA town again, crickets chirp just before Joe from Oconomowoc calls the sports-blab show to beat on the baseball team. That's on the Bucks for making themselves irrelevant in the spring, just as it is on them to make people care once more round about the time the NBA gets serious.
- Tom Oates at the Wisconsin State Journal reviews the 07/08 Bucks through a championship lens.
- Very interesting note from DraftExpress' coverage of the Euroleague finals, where Greek point guard Theodoros Papaloukas led CSKA Moscow to another championship.
Theodoros Papaloukas has apparently not yet given up on the possibility of playing in the NBA this summer, and has even hired a new American agent to help him with that cause. He was reportedly extremely close to signing with the Milwaukee Bucks last year, but Mo Williams’ large contract didn’t leave enough money on the table for him to justify the decision. Papaloukas will be looking for a deal in the 3-year, 20 million dollar range this summer. Considering his age, the way he played this weekend and in the season as a whole, that looks like an extremely long shot.Especially given the tenuous future of Mo Williams in Milwaukee, it's certainly interesting to play "what if?" and wonder where the Bucks might stand had they let Williams walk (or gotten something in return from Miami in a S/T) and signed Papaloukas instead. The 6'7" Papaloukas is just two days shy of his 31st birthday, so he might not have been a long-term solution, but his dynamic court vision has made him arguably the most valuable player in Europe the past couple seasons. Not bad for a guy who comes off the bench.
- The Bob Boozer Jinx is the Free Darko of Bucks blogs. Just a bit out there, but in a good way.