1. The Bucks may not win a series, but valuable playoff experience for Giannis Antetokounmpo is still a big deal. (Milwaukee Magazine/Eric Nehm)
After this postseason, Antetokounmpo will be just one of just 37 players to ever play in 100 playoff minutes by the age of 21. He'll also be just the 25th player to ever start in three or more playoff games at that age. No matter how badly you may think his postseason has gone, the experience has value.
2. We've been seeing Jabari Parker for months as a spectator at Bucks home games, but he wasn't always so accessible -- even to his closest friends. (Chicago Tribune/Teddy Greenstein)
"I turned off my phone," Parker said earlier this week in an interview with the Tribune. "I didn't want people to feel sorry for me. And I didn't want to feel sorry for myself. (My friends), I told them I took a break. They understood."
The South Side native is now 15 weeks into rehab, able to shoot and take part in passing drills. He said it was his idea to travel for this Bulls-Bucks playoff series so he could "witness it upfront."
3. We knew that a projected $20 million jump in the NBA's 2016 salary cap would change the complexion of the NBA payscale, but another similar leap in 2017 only further underscores the importance of locking up young talent for as long as possible this summer. In short, don't be surprised if another team signs Khris Middleton to a four-year max offer sheet worth something on the order of $68 million -- and don't panic if the Bucks match it. (ESPN insider/Amin Elhassan)
This year -- 2015 -- represents the last time teams can experience how a deal signed today will represent massive savings 12 months from now. It's not just for max salary players either; because there is a salary floor in the NBA (the minimum total salary threshold every team must meet), teams will have to spend $60.4 million in 2015-16, $80.1 million in 2016-17 and $97.2 million in 2017-18. In other words, someone is going to have to get some of that money just to get to the floor. It's why players like Draymond Green and Khris Middleton -- terrific role players for their respective teams but not foundation superstars -- are absolute no-brainers at the max in 2015 for their clubs: The teams know exactly what they're getting and the cost certainty is there.
For reference, a max deal for Middleton this summer would pay him roughly 19% of the cap in 16/17 and 16% in 17/18 -- in terms of current cap dollars that's the equivalent of $11.7 million and $10 million, respectively.
4. A third place finish in coach of the year balloting speaks volumes about Jason Kidd's impact in Milwaukee, and the magnitude of the Bucks' 26-win improvement suggests their improvement shouldn't be fleeting. (ESPN Insider/Bradford Doolittle).
Of the 13 extreme turnaround teams (at least a 26-win improvement), the average leap was from 24 to 54 wins. But the average win totals for those teams over the following four seasons: 56, 54, 53 and 55. Of the 52 total seasons that comprised the four years after the turnaround for the 13 teams, not one was a below-.500 campaign. If the trend holds true for Milwaukee, not only can the Bucks expect to be even better next season, they can expect to be good for the foreseeable future.
No playoff team is attempting nearly as many mid-range jumpers as the Bucks so far. Consider that the Lakers, Knicks, and Timberwolves ranked one-two-three in the regular season in terms of attempting the most mid-range jumpers. That is not the right company to keep.
On the other hand, the Bulls have decreased these shots, focusing on higher efficiency shots at the rim and beyond the arc.