By now we should all agree that Giannis Antetokounmpo has a very real chance of becoming the Brew City's first all-star in over a decade (especially now that he's finishing his Greek army obligation). But hey, why limit your Giannis ambitions to just being an all-star?
Apparently gamblers aren't suffering from a lack of Giannis optimism, as Bovada's initial MVP betting line features Giannis at "just" a 33/1 longshot to take home the league's highest individual honor. It's not to say we should expect Giannis to actually be in the MVP hunt, but the mere fact that only 10 players are listed with better odds -- and all of them are at least two years older than him -- says plenty about where Giannis might be heading as a player. Those odds are also close to two other sets of MVP odds that came out in early July, so it's not just a matter of one outlier sports book either:
So how could Giannis actually get himself into the MVP hunt? Well, regularly threatening triple-doubles and producing generally crazy stat lines would be a good start. The fact that no one in league history has matched over a full season what Giannis did post-all-star break (18.8 points, 8.6 boards, 7.2 assists and 1.9 blocks) has to be a major factor in Giannis showing up at all on an MVP odds list, and if he comes close to those he should be at least an all-star -- provided the Bucks are generally improved as well.
Of course, building on those numbers alone won't get him in the MVP race: it seems unlikely that anyone will take home MVP honors while playing for a team that wins fewer than 50 games, let alone one that misses the playoffs, and the Bucks certainly have their work cut out for them in that department. But could there be a world where Giannis drops 22 points, 10 boards, and seven dimes a night while leading the Bucks to an out-of-nowhere 50 win season? Don't count on any of that -- especially next season -- but in the month of August it's OK to dream a little, right?
Oh, and if you're wondering why Giannis hasn't signed his five year, $138 million max extension yet, bear in mind that he's been finishing up his Greek army obligation this week -- in addition to wrestling his Greek trainer for basketballs:
Henson voted best teammate by Bucks' peers | NBPA
The NBA Players Association held its first "Player's Voice" awards last season, and this time around they added an award for each team's "Best Teammate" -- as voted on by the players themselves. For the Bucks that honor goes to their best cheerleader, biggest smiler and all-around swell guy John Henson. Kudos, John!
Who wants Greg Monroe, and what, if anything, can the Bucks get for him? | CBSSports.com
Matt Moore offers up a comprehensive look at what's gone right and wrong for Moose in Milwaukee, including some potential trade destinations. Very well-researched.
NBA Trade Rumors: Fitting Greg Monroe beside Anthony Davis in New Orleans | The Bird Writes
Much like Moore, David Fisher takes a very calm, collected view of Monroe's strengths, weaknesses and potential fit with his hometown Pelicans. The only thing he doesn't address? What New Orleans might give up to get him, which is the inconvenient aspect of any Monroe homecoming scenario.
In D-League race, Grand Chute, La Crosse are out | Oshkosh Northwestern
A week after La Crosse was reportedly scratched off the list of potential Bucks' D-League suitors, Grand Chute is similarly bowing out. Nate Beck reports:
Jim March, Grand Chute town administrator, said the city recently retracted an offer that it hoped would lure the Bucks to the Fox Cities area. March said Grand Chute had thought it could welcome the team into a multi-use sports facility it hopes to build with tourism funds. Ultimately, though, the city concluded it could not construct a facility for the Bucks by fall 2017, when the Bucks hope to field a D-League team.
The Bucks eliminated La Crosse from the running, after the city submitted a bid to welcome the team to its 6,100-seat La Crosse Center, slated for a $45 million renovation. Art Fahey, director of the center, told the arena's board Tuesday that the Bucks were skeptical of hosting a farm team so far from Milwaukee; the city is more than 200 miles away from Bucks headquarters, while all other teams in the running are less than 100 miles away, the La Crosse Tribune reported.
The three remaining contenders are reportedly Sheboygan, Oshkosh and Racine, and here are their team nicknames (according to...uh, me):
Best team name for Bucks' D-League affiliate:— BrewHoop.com (@brewhoop) August 4, 2016
Despite my unscientific survey above, there seems to be more buzz about the Sheboygan and Oshkosh options -- which is fine, as I'm completely uninformed about the D-League merits of any of these cities/bids. But in case you're curious, former Buck Joe Wolf is leading the Sheboygan bid with plans to remodel the Sheboygan Armory, while the Oshkosh bid would involve converting an existing site along I-41. The Bucks are targeting their D-League team to begin play in the fall of 2017, so it sounds like we should hear a decision within a couple months.