The Bucks haven't been big time headline grabbers throughout their 9-win season--at least not for good reasons--so it's only natural that the focus has increasingly been shifting towards the future: their expected activity level ahead of this month's trade deadline, the young prize they do appear to have in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and what might happen this summer in the draft and free agency. This edition of the links round-up doesn't sway too far away from that focus, catching you up on all the latest Bucks news from the past week or so.
NBA.com in Turkey | Ilyasova talks role, future
It may be tough to hack through the translation of Ersan's interview with a partner of NBA.com in Turkey, but our Dan Sinclair linked to a RealGM thread that gave it a shot and Bucksketball also took their crack at it. What we've been able to gather is that Ersan hasn't felt totally comfortable with the inconsistencies with this year's rotations and his role going forward, though the reality is that no one has played more while producing less than Ersan.
He also admitted that it was easier for him to get numbers and stay consistent when players could get him the ball out of pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop sets, acknowledging that he's not a shot creator himself. Interesting, true and an appreciated bit of candor, though it's also ironic to hear Ersan sounding nostalgic for the days of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. He is "only" 26, but Ersan also acknowledged that given the team's rebuilding efforts he may not want to stick around for the final two years of his contract--not surprising and a desire that the Bucks as an organization probably wouldn't mind accommodating.
Basketball Insiders | Steve Kyle: Who is looking to make a deal?
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders listed the Bucks as a team that will likely be ''on the move'' come trade deadline time. You can read the whole post in full if you'd like, but Kyler hit on a few interesting bits.
"Almost anything outside of Giannis Antetokounmpo or John Henson is going to get consideration."
Technically accurate, but it would be difficult to envision Larry Sanders, Brandon Knight, Nate Wolters, or Khris Middleton being dealt unless a rather tempting young player or pick presented itself (hint: that's not too likely). It seems especially unlikely that Sanders will be moved before July, if at all. Due to the salary bump coming from his forthcoming extension, his contract is more difficult to move due to the Poison Pill Provision, and it would just be plain silly to move Sanders now and hope that they get both the #1 pick in the draft and get a declaration to enter from Joel Embiid. That's a lot to gamble on just so you can rid yourselves of bad memories. Oh, did I mention that they'd be selling Larry at a low point in his value? Whatever, moving on.
"Point guard has been mentioned as a need the Bucks are trying to fill for the long-term and the Bucks could be one of the teams on the move for Dion Waiters."
So maybe Brandon Knight isn't going to pan out as the long-term point guard, but I'd be surprised if the Bucks tried to make a deal that brought in a point guard now, especially considering they have three ''point guards'' on the roster right now, a couple might be in their range in the draft and Nate Wolters seems to be worth experimenting with for at least the rest of the season. Dion Waiters might be an upgrade over the current shooting guards the Bucks have, but I don't think they'd want to give up anything serious for someone who may not ultimately be much better--and ultimately he isn't a point guard either. That's just my speculation, though it is interesting to see his name pop up.
There has been talk all year that Houston has eyes for forward Ersan Ilyasova. His numbers on the season have been less than stellar and he is owed a ton of money. It is unclear if the Bucks would take on one of Houston's ugly ''cash'' contracts to get out from under Ilyasova, but that is the one to really watch.
Houston and Ilyasova have been linked for such a long time. And while he would probably be a nice fit schematically, there isn't really much room for him (Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones are younger, cheaper, and...well, better). Also consider that Houston's only real ''ugly cash contracts'' are Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, who: a) the Bucks probably don't want if they like this youth rebuild thing, and b) would be more expensive than Ilyasova next year, if even for two less years after that. We'll see if another buyer comes calling for Ilyasova's services, but I'd guess Houston is not going to be the eventual landing spot.
Bucksketball | Jeremy Schmidt: D-League chatter
Our pal Jeremy Schmidt over at Bucksketball chatted with Gino Pilato of D-League Digest about potential pickups from the D-League that the Bucks could make. The Bucks would have to make a roster spot available by sending out more players than they took in in a trade or send a player to a team for a draft pick to free up that spot. Still, for those who were looking for a little more info on the D-League and some of their prospects, this is a good read.
Rob Mahoney | Sports Illustrated- 2013 Lottery re-draft
In his version of the 2013 lottery re-draft, Rob takes Giannis #1 overall on behalf of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The "potential best talent of this class" would be a great fit on a team that could have used him, but they took Anthony Bennett and the Bucks got Giannis. Seems pretty fair to me, what do you think? I think the Bucks came out of the real draft pretty okay.
Alex Boeder | Bucks.com- Antetokounmpomania
Our good friend Alex Boeder recaps the wild Wednesday night that was in a series of tweets and reminds us that this is why we are sticking through this painful season. If you somehow blacked out in a state of euphoria on Wednesday (very possible), then this is your spot to re-live it all again.
Tyler Lashbrook | Hickory High- A Giannis Pilgrimage
Fellow SB Nation writer Tyler Lashbrook (who you may remember from our second draft Q&A) wrote a very nice article for Hickory-High, in which he documents his first time seeing Giannis play in person against Memphis. It's become almost common for us to say, ''Oh, cool. Giannis did that great thing again" and not have much of a unique reaction to it, so it is always cool for someone who is seeing him for the first time play and react and remind us that he is still only 19 and doing these things already.
Rodger Sherman | SB Nation- Dr. G
The hilarious Rodger Sherman offers up a very simple nickname for Giannis: Dr. G. It's short, not nearly impossible to spell without practice, and pays homage to one of the all-time great playmakers. Plus it never hurts to see this again:
Andrew Gruman | Fox Sports Wisconsin- Antetokounmpo reunited with family
Hey. I dare you to read this short story by Andrew Gruman and not smile from ear-to-ear. What's that? You failed in not smiling? That's okay, I did too.