Important viral video viewing before we begin.
Cool. Now that that's out of the way, we can begin.
The season is finally here! The Bucks will be playing a game that is not against themselves!
The preseason begins with a stop in Cleveland, where the Bucks will square off against a divisonal foe, as well as a team that has the potential to replace the Bucks as the 8 seed group that the Miami Heat can feast on come April.
I had David Zavac from our friends at Fear The Sword, the Cavs SB Nation blog, join me to put this brief preview together for tonight's matchup.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
Bucks: The Bucks brought in 11 new players this summer, as well as an entirely new coaching staff. Hell, they're even having Bucks legend Sidney Moncrief join the television broadcast as a color analyst for the majority of road games. Everything is changing.
It's difficult to say what Bucks fans will see tomorrow, but coach Larry Drew has stressed that it will be different. This installment of the team will look to pressure the ball, both offensively and defensively. Each day, Drew has numbers plastered about the Bucks practice facility, in an effort to drill the team's goals into the player's minds. So far, numbers have included 43% (defensive field goal percentage), 4 (as in seconds it will take for the team to get the ball across half court, make or miss), and 46% (offensive field goal percentage). In short, Drew wants a mobile, fast, and smart offense with an active and pesky defense. It's not going to be polished by tonight, but that's what we'll be looking for come tip-off.
Cavs: A lot has been made of the radical changes the Cavaliers have made to their roster and coaching staff. So of course, going into our first preseason game, the starting lineup is exactly the same as it was to begin last season. The headliner here is of course Kyrie Irving. He is amazing. The hope is that he is ready to be a true superstar and earn his place among the top point guards in the NBA. He says he has been working on a floater and getting his body in shape to be able to both carry the offensive load and play defense as well. Time will tell.
Andrew Bynum was the big offseason name added, but he won't play. Jarrett Jack, however, will, and it will be interesting how he does leading a second unit that was probably rivaled by Portland and Portland only in terms of ineptitude. Earl Clark seems like a real NBA player, maybe, and he will be trying to steal Gee's starting spot. Ultimately, the Cavaliers fate this season will be determined by whether they can improve on the defensive side of the floor, as well as avoid the injuries to Irving and Varejao that hit them so hard last season. Oh, and some more development from Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson would help as well. If you haven't noticed, the Cavaliers are a ton of variables and no one has any idea what will happen. The ceiling is high, the floor is low.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks definitely have a lot of unknowns that will suit up tonight, but none more so than the 18 year-old kid out of Greece. Selected by the Bucks with the 15th pick of this year's draft without playing against any really formidable opposition, Antetokounmpo is about as big of an unknown as there is.
Having not played against any top (or even middle)-tier talent, Antetokounmpo showed the flashes of brilliance that had been talked about in the Bucks open practice at their inaugural fan fest this past weekend. Though he still has miles to go before completely tapping into that potential, Antetokounmpo has proven he belongs, whenever that may be. He'll see his handful of minutes in the preseason, with Carlos Delfino out (ankle) for the entire preseason. I can't say what you'll see out of him, but hey, it's at least something.
Cavs: Anthony Bennett is an easy one as the number one pick in the draft, but I will go with Tristan Thompson. The man is learning to shoot with a whole new hand. He will probably look totally awkward shooting, but his shooting always looked totally awkward. He is a maniac on the boards, though, and his tenacity on defense will probably be appreciated by new coach Mike Brown. Looking forward to seeing how his free throws look and if he gets any good looks in the flow of the game.
Bucks: Outside of the massive overhaul this team has had, the next biggest question has been whether Brandon Knight is a ''true'' point guard. His past numbers haven't been particularly sunny, but Larry Drew has been known to get the best out of his point guards (see: Jeff Teague).
I'm interested to see how he handles the position early on. He hasn't handled pick and rolls well in his first few seasons, but did okay during the scrimmage. Now against another team, it will be interesting to see how Knight processes defenses and adapts within the new offense.
Cavs: Anthony Bennett is a pretty big one, and given the investment the Cavaliers made by selecting him first overall, he might be the one whose answer means the most long-term for Cleveland. He was hurt all summer and admits he isn't in great basketball shape. His performance in an intra-squad scrimmage this weekend got blasted by Jason Lloyd, Cavs beat writer for the Akron Beacon-Journal. While many people question his defense at UNLV, Bennett has given interviews suggesting he was just fine on that end. While many people worry about extra weight he has put on over the summer, Bennett says he doesn't worry about it.
The guy is really skilled, and has a lot of traits that are hard to find. 250 lb. power forwards that are explosive and shoot from 3 pt range don't grow on trees. But Bennett has a lot to prove.
Bucks/Cavs: Ugly, ugly basketball. Fingers crossed for no injuries to anyone important.
Follow along with both Brew Hoop and Fear the Sword here, as we'll continue to provide updates, commentary, and probably lots of shared anguish and laughter, all right below in the handy twitter update tool.