Say what you will about the summer Bucks, but at least they're...consistent?
The downside of consistency: Wednesday night's 100-71 thrashing by the Spurs was the second completely uncompetitive game in a row for the Bucks, who remain winless in four games and look just about ready to pack it up and go home.
But yes, there was some good news, too. Once again, Giannis Antetokounmpo messed around as a primary ball-handler for much of the night and did his force of nature thing, scoring 20 points (8/13 fg, 3/6 threes, 1/1 ft) while adding seven rebounds and two blocks. Oh, and he did this:
Giannis also had six turnovers and no assists, so maybe the whole "point guard" thing is going to need some work. But there's no better time to experiment than in Vegas, and that's basically the tradeoff the Bucks have made. While their offense hasn't been particularly imaginative--high pick-and-rolls, some occasional high post action and lots of isos--it's given Giannis and Jabari Parker room to test themselves in new situations and against different types of opponents. Bad for wins and bad for fans of team play (the Bucks have yet to crack 10 assists in any of their games), but good for development purposes (ie what really matters).
As for Jabari, he still looks a bit off kilter. Multiple offensive fouls and a blown dunk after a beautiful spin move sort of summed up his night in many ways, though thankfully he did manage to pick things up after halftime and finished with some respectable scoring numbers (3/7 fg, 10/13 fg, 16 points, 4 rebs) as well as some not-so-respectable possession stats (7 turnovers). You never complain about 63% true shooting, but everything else needs to plenty of tightening.
Otherwise Nate Wolters was fairly peripheral with Giannis doing much of the initiating, while Johnny O'Bryant had some hard-working moments down low. Oh, and Ben Brust hit the backboard (but not much else) in garbage time. Off Wisconsin?
- Over at Bucks.com, Coach Sean Sweeney said after the game that the staff had pushed Jabari to attack the basket more in order to draw fouls, and apparently he was listening. After earning 11 free throws against Cleveland, Parker managed a total of just four against the Suns and Jazz. He's now 20/28 for the week (71.4%) in addition to 18/47 from the field (38.2%) and 2/11 from deep (18.2%)
- I'm not sure I've ever been more confused about what lineups I'd like to see from the Bucks come this fall, though I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way. The fact that Giannis suddenly looks capable of creating shots has me pondering the possibility of putting him in the backcourt with Brandon Knight--despite the fact that I never liked him as an oversized shooting guard last year--while Jabari generally seems to play a bit smaller than I imagined. I don't mean the latter as an insult; though he's struggled at times with interior defenders' length, he seems very comfortable attacking pretty much anyone off the dribble, and his combination of strength and quickness is damn encouraging for a guy who could stand to get a bit trimmer. So while I previously thought a Giannis/Parker forward tandem was the way to go, maybe a jumbo lineup with that duo at the 2/3 has just as much potential? I don't know--tell me what you think in the comments.
I'll never leave the team and the city of Milwaukee till we build the team to a championship level team..— GiannisAntetokounmpo (@G_ante34) July 17, 2014
It needs a lot of work but me and the guys we are ready to take the challenge.. #HateLoosing #BecomingAleader @Bucks— GiannisAntetokounmpo (@G_ante34) July 17, 2014
I even got @G_ante34 on that booty do wave! https://t.co/zuEqqPrAUA— Sam Okafor (@SamTakesOff) July 11, 2014
The Bucks have lost their last seven Summer League games with an average scoring margin of -12.0. The tanking thing is going way too far.— Preston Schmitt (@pdschmitt1) July 17, 2014