Henson primed for breakout season, Giannis growing up, Butler slimming down?

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Plus, digesting Antetokounmpo's impressive first performances, and crazy ol' Bill Simmons thinks the Bucks are THE GREATEST.

PBT Roundtable: Who is poised for a breakout season? | ProBasketballTalk
John Henson's excellent per-minute numbers (over 16 points and 12 rebounds per 36 minutes) from last season make him a popular pick among projected "breakout" players this year. When the PBT staff sat down to discuss the players ready to make a leap, Henson was one of the first guys brought up. Kurt Helin summarized the importance of developing an effective pairing with Larry Sanders:

He gets his buckets around the rim — that was true during Summer League and so far this preseason — and ultimately if he is going to co-exist with Larry Sanders up front he has to get a face-up midrange game, but his energy and talent are undeniable. He’s going to get a lot of run this season and that should mean good numbers and a chance to develop the midrange jumper.

Michael Hunt: Antetokounmpo learning on the job | JS Online
Hunt offers a peek at the daily routine and challenges facing the Bucks rookie in a new league in a new city in a new country. Little things we spend little time thinking about (he still can't go out to a bar for more than 2 years!) are very real hurdles in the path of a teenager adjusting to life in the NBA. We can be happy that Giannis is living his dream--there isn't a basketball player in the world who doesn't fantasize about playing in the NBA someday--but there's a life to be led off the court as well, and it takes some getting used to:

"To tell the truth it's boring. I'm alone over here and I don't have a lot of things to do. The times when I have fun is when I come here."

I think there are a number of us who would happily come and hang out with you, Giannis. Just say the word.

"Here", by the way, is the Bucks' practice facility, where Giannis has been hard at work since he arrived. There's no blueprint to suddenly becoming a teenager in America, but the coaching staff have laid out a clear path for Giannis as he looks to grow as a player. Already the coaches have identified strengths and weaknesses in his game and are working to get him up to speed as soon as possible.

"He is capable of grabbing the rebound and taking it the length of the court," [Bucks assistant coach Nick] Van Exel said. "He has to get to the point where he is comfortable doing that here. I tell him all the time, 'Look, sometimes when you get that ball off the rebound, don't be afraid to make a play.'

"What he's doing now is dribbling it across half-court and just passing it to the guards. We want to see him make plays because he has that capability. If he's able to do that, it strengthens our ballclub."

It also makes the rest of us very excited and happy and oh man when is the next preseason game?

Woelfel: Butler looking to shed pounds | Racine Journal Times
Caron Butler settled nicely into his supporting role with the Los Angeles Clippers, but he won't be afforded the same luxury in Milwaukee. As a featured player for the Bucks, Butler knows expectations are higher and he's taking the initiative to prepare himself. In this case, that means pulling the belt a notch or two tighter:

"Last year I played at 230," Butler said. "So I’m looking to play at 220 this year. "By losing that weight, I can be a little quicker and take less pounding and wear and tear on my body."

Woelfel also caught up with head coach Larry Drew to ask about the roster development and how he assessed the situation at present:

"We’ve kind of had a feel-out process until now, but I’ll be meeting with each player and tell them what I expect from them, what their roles will be," Drew said.

No word on whether Drew had come up with a role for Ekpe Udoh yet.

What matters from NBA preseason - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN
As we've said, Antetokounmpo's early highlights have caught the attention of many national writers. David Thorpe heaps praise on Blocrates (the nickname I've adopted for the moment)...or at least on his potential. But it's big-time stuff according to Thorpe, rebutting earlier predictions that Giannis "might not make an impact in the NBA for 3 years" by saying he might be viewed as max-contract-level player in that time.

So year, we're not the only ones who are excited.

Bucks remain unranked in Bill and Jalen’s previews and YouTube commenters are confused | Bucksketball
FORTY YEARS OF DARKNESS! EARTHQUAKES, VOLCANOES! THE DEAD RISING FROM THE GRAVE! HUMAN SACRIFICE, DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER! MASS HYSTERIA!

/// This has been a summary of reactions to Bill Simmon's presumptive claim that the Milwaukee Bucks are a top-15 team in the NBA. ///

Golliver: Best-case, worst-case scenarios for every Eastern Conference team | SI.com
I don't think I agree that the Bucks entire range of possibilities this year is confined to the 8 or 9 seed, and nobody really wants to say it or write it or think about it anymore, but we all keep hearing it and reading it and driving ourselves crazy because we don't have enough Giannis highlights to occupy our time.

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