The Bucks followed up their historic home victory over the Golden State Warriors with one of their most disappointing performances of the season against the hapless Lakers, thus eliminating any sort of lingering momentum to be taken from their victory over the previously unbeaten Warriors. The Bucks followed up their poor performance against the Lakers with another mostly forgettable performance against the Clippers before again going toe-to-toe with the Warriors, though ultimately falling short in the end. Despite losing to the Warriors, the Bucks were able to pull out a comeback victory against the Suns to restore all hope in the season. Some hope? A little hope? Well, if you need a refresher on the Bucks playoff chances, head over to last week's podcast.
With less hope for a magical playoff run, a focus necessarily shifts toward to the current roles of Michael Carter-Williams, Jabari Parker, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, especially after the recent Lowe Post with Zach Lowe and Kevin Arnovitz. While discussing the benching of Antetokounmpo for the Clippers game, Arnovitz said:
"My understanding is -- and this is sources inside the Bucks that I spoke with an hour/hour and a half before the game during warmups and everything else -- it is Giannis is playing with his head down. And there is a sense right now, a little frustration among staff and teammates, that he's looking to score rather than be a playmaker. That there is a certain selfishness that has sort of invaded his game. I think as they've struggled -- and I don't think there is any ill intention, everybody loves Giannis -- I think it's the sense that 'Wait. Wait. Wait. Everyone is looking for someone to get them out of this. Oh, Is that somebody me?'
"I don't think it's this raw selfishness. I don't think it's this 'J.R. (Smith), why are you shooting?' kind of thing. It is more of...he is just playing like a horse with blinders on right now in terms of just personal pursuit to score rather than kind of being the playmaker that everyone wants him to be. So, I do believe that to the extent of there being an issue, that that might be it. That was just sort of a lot of the conversation that was going on pregame."
What does selfishness mean for a player averaging less than 12 shots per game? Does the responsibility for the struggles of Antetokounmpo and Parker, and conversely recent success of Carter-Williams, lay at the feet of a poor offensive scheme engineered by head coach Jason Kidd? Have the Bucks gone about developing Antetokounmpo and Parker correctly? We discuss all of these questions and much more in the first part of our weekly podcast. Subscribe via iTunes here.
Stay tuned for more this week -- we'll have Part II of our podcast on Christmas Eve.