Here is the most important advice one can live by when it comes to taking in Summer League games: Sometimes it looks good, sometimes it looks bad, and all of the time you should take the performance with a grain of salt.
The Bucks had a much sloppier performance tonight against the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix matched that play for the most part for the better part of three quarters, but were able to break themselves free a little bit and went on a run led by Seth Curry (26p, 7-9 shooting, 5-7 threes), Dionte Christmas (12p/8r/5a), and Miles Plumlee (6p/12r/1 ridiculous block on Jabari).
Phoenix was aggressive offensively, attacking the paint and forcing the Bucks best defenders to chase shooters around screens. It was a simple offensive blueprint for the Suns, but it started to click when they were able to start knocking down shots. When they weren't able to execute in the third quarter, Milwaukee was able to get the ball out in transition--where they appear the most comfortable right now--and stretch the late. Eventually, they were able to ease back into a rhythm and keep the Bucks from running effectively, allowing them to come back and snatch a game they deserved to win.
Nate Wolters (16p/4a) led the way for the Bucks, while Giannis Antetokounmpo (16p/6r) and Jabari Parker (11p/11r) followed up their encouraging debuts with less thrilling performances. Antetokounmpo and Parker combined to shoot 8-of-26 from the field, and both looked like they were trying too hard to improve on their first game instead of just playing in the flow of the game. It's nothing to worry about, though. If they were held to a standard of consistent success every night, they wouldn't have been sent out to Summer League. Everything will be okay. I promise.
- It's hard to tell if this game was significantly worse than the opener or just way less hyped and more grounded in reality. Either way, it was a nice check back into proper perspective, as we can't really expect from the world from two 19-year olds just yet. It's still fun to watch Giannis do crazy Giannis things though, isn't it?
- Parker definitely had a less flashy performance, and struggled to find a rhythm all night. He got comfortable settling for long jumpers early and often, and he wasn't able to establish himself against a much weaker opponent in Elias Harris. With Parker right now, it seems like he should start off in the post or at the elbow and be told to attack before he starts bringing his range further out. He's certainly capable of performing at high levels inside and outside the paint, but it's probably easier for him to use his bulk inside if he wants to get off to quicker starts.
- When Nate Wolters isn't on the court, it appears that this Summer League team is in for a world of hurt. Jordan Taylor struggled mightily for the second game in a row, and early in the game he had the ball stolen from him by Archie Goodwin while he was at a standstill dribble. It's hard for the Wisconsin fan in me to say anything bad about one of our own, but uhh...woof.
- As positionally redundant as Johnny O'Bryant is at this point on the Bucks roster, he does show an intriguing bit of talent in the low post. He's very raw, but he reminds me of Brandon Bass in the way he bangs around down low while still being able to step back and at least have a chance at knocking down a jumper. I wouldn't say he's a lock to make the regular season roster, but I'd be willing to wait it out with him, even if it makes little sense going forward.
- Nate Wolters has enormous calves.
- As I stated earlier, the Bucks had some trouble containing the attack of a quick guard like Archie Goodwin. Tomorrow they'll face off against Trey Burke and Dante Exum. It'll be another exciting draw, and hopefully the Bucks can rebound quickly and pick up one win before they enter tournament play.