Giannis and Larry hit the practice court, Pistons think Jennings is worth the risk

Mike Stobe

PLUS: Sanders discusses Luc Mbah a Moute with Kings media, and looking at the players eligible for early extensions this summer.

Bucks.com | Paschketball Video - Giannis and Coach Drew
Jim Paschke had a chance to talk with Giannis Antetopkounmpo and head coach Larry Drew during some of Giannis' first days in Milwaukee after signing his rookie contract. There are a few good quotes in there: Giannis was disappointed with his performance in the European U20-Championships, where Greece finished 5th with an 8-2 record. Larry Drew continued to gush about the unique skills Antetokounmpo brings to his position, combining fluidity with athleticism and size. Jim Paschke, it seems, still needs a few more days to iron out the pronunciation of his last name, but don't we all?

The best part, though, has to be the presence of Larry Sanders in the video, taking a hands-on approach to Giannis' workout with the Bucks' training staff. Is Larry the first veteran to take an interest in a rookie's early days with the team? Of course not. But that doesn't make it any less encouraging to see Larry offering pointers and showcasing techniques for his new teammate. It's especially important given the massive transition Antetokounmpo is facing, not only moving from a mid-tier Greek league to the highest level of competition in the world, but living and playing in a country he's never experienced before. For a team supposedly dogged by chemistry issues in recent years, this sort of camaraderie-building is great to see.

JS | Giannis Antetokounmpo ready to settle down to work

Charles Gardner has more coverage of Antetokounmpo's time in Milwaukee, including a few words from Sanders himself:

And the youngster already has received a few tips from Bucks center Larry Sanders and gone to dinner with new Bucks guard Gary Neal, fresh off an NBA Finals appearance with San Antonio.

"He has a lot of potential and a lot of things you can't teach as far as length and size," Sanders said. "His ability to be a sponge and absorb everything he can is really what is going to take him over the edge.

"He has all the attributes to be a great player."

NBA free agency: Jennings signing is a risk, but a good risk - Detroit Bad Boys
Our SB Nation Pistons counterpart discusses the Jennings signing in the same terms as everything else about Jennings gets discussed: Possibilities. But they rightly highlight the number of ways in which Jennings represents an upgrade over his predecessor, saying curtly "[he] isn't as bad as you've heard." There's also this little thought experiment:

Let's play a quick game of alternate reality. Suppose yesterday Dumars pulled off a sign and trade of Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton, and Slava Kravtsov for Jrue Holiday. That'd be pretty nifty, considering he cost the Pelicans Nerlens Noel and a first rounder in next year's wildly anticipated draft. Well, last year Jennings shot the ball less than Holiday and for a better TS. His assist to turnover ratio was much better, their steal rate was identical, and Jennings' Synergy numbers were better on the pick and roll. Where Holiday has been on the decline in the key efficiency figures the past three years, Jennings has shown signs of progress. Brandon Jennings is the superior player. And he's on the hook for about $17 million less.

While I might take issue with a few of the conclusions in that paragraph (Jennings' development seemed to plateau last season, and I doubt many would call him outright "superior" to Holiday), it's a fair assertion that Jennings' flaws have been overblown, or that he was undervalued because of the bad situation that developed in Milwaukee. Still, Bucks fans have seen and heard enough of this sort of talk to be immediately skeptical, and only time will tell if Pistons fans end up feeling the same way.

Knight Booster | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE DETROIT PISTONS
Thanks to the Detroit Bad Boys post above for passing along this article featuring an extended interview with Brandon Knight's college coach John Calipari. Calipari extols Knight's character and work ethic, telling Detroit coach Mo Cheeks: "There’s no one that’s going to outwork him, no one that’s going to spend more time, no one that’s going to be on top of preparation and the knowledge of what he needs and what he has to have than Brandon."

Calipari also talks a bit about Knight's ability (or more accurately, struggles) with the pick and roll, admitting that a lack of experience in college is partly to blame for his slow adaptation to the P&R-heavy NBA. Calipari's Kentucky teams have run a dribble-drive-based offense since he took over, relying very little on typical small-big pick and roll plays. But he doesn't doubt Knight's scoring ability, something Calipari sees as vital for any point guard to succeed in basketball these days.

Who deserves a contract extension? - ESPN NBA
ESPN's TrueHoop Network goes 5-on-5 to discuss some of the players eligible for early extensions this summer. Larry Sanders gets a "yes" vote from every panel member, who all agreed that Milwaukee shouldn't do anything to risk Sanders getting away. Ricky O'Donnell came to the same conclusion writing for SB Nation last week, estimating a second contract somewhere between Taj Gibson and Serge Ibaka. If the Bucks can get Sanders locked up for anything close to Gibson's $8.3m average salary it seems certain they'd pounce, but at this point such a price seems unlikely.

Defense defines Luc Mbah a Moute according to former Milwaukee Bucks teammate | Cowbell Kingdom
Larry Sanders talks to Jonathan Santiago about what the Kings can expect from their new forward.

Wisconsin Media Day Recap! 08/04 by Kielbasa Kings Sports Extravaganza | Sports Podcasts
Jake and Scott were nice enough to have me on their show to talk a little Bucks, from the Brandon Jennings era coming to a close to John Henson's shot at a featured role next season. NBA talk starts around the 13-minute mark.

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