From Giannis hitting a game-winner in the league’s biggest market to getting a game on the national TV stage to, well, Giannis again stealing headlines with a strong first showing in the initial All-Star Voting results, the Milwaukee Bucks are shedding their afterthought perception. Their recent success garnered a number of articles and discussions from national media pundits over the last week and a half, so we’ve rounded up the best of that lot for you to peruse.
This was the piece that kicked it all off, a sweeping profile done by the master of basketball profiling, Lee Jenkins. Jenkins’ piece covers Giannis’ dedication to the game, including wiping away the frustration of poor performances with late-night sweats at the Bucks practice facility following a loss. It touches on his humble beginnings, and how he carries his past with him through his drive and determination to improve. I can’t do it justice. Just go read it and pick up the Sports Illustrated with him on the cover for your archives. Lee Jenkins also hopped on RealGM Radio with Danny Leroux to discuss the article in further detail, along with the glut of transformative bigs in the league and other topics.
SBNation’s Zito Madu penned a touching homage to the bewildering wonderment of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s play, and how his innocent demeanor off the court is the rare player analogue for fans’ own experience while watching him play.
Jonathan Tjarks of the The Ringer goes deep on the Bucks-Spurs game from earlier this week for the Ringer with five main takeaways. Among them include the development of Michael Beasley under Jason Kidd and the emergence of Jabari.
Bill Simmons goes deep on the NBA’s current unicorns, players whose archetype is wholly unique and impossible to replicate. In a wide-ranging discussion about the three current unicorns, Joel Embiid, Kristaps Porzingis and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Giannis prevails as Simmons’ one true unicorn currently. He also offhandedly mentions that he’s in the number one spot on his next Trade Value column.
538’s Chris Herring dives into Milwaukee’s top-ten ratings in offensive and defensive efficiency as solid markers to indicate a scary team lurks beneath their 19-18 record. Here’s a great snippet about the Bucks’ defensive scheme that’s both intriguing and something I hadn’t considered robustly:
“So many interchangeable defensive parts moving, switching and rotating in harmony has a suffocating effect on an offense. Milwaukee’s defense has forced opposing offenses to throw more passes than all but eight teams this season after leading the league in the stat the past two years, according to an analysis run by SportVU, and has pressed opposing clubs into the last four seconds of the shot clock — where offensive efficiency plummets due to rushed shots — more often than any other defense this season, per Synergy.”
Steve Aschburner examines the diplomatic, controlled fire that burns with the Bucks second-round pick, recalling how teams have underestimated him his whole career. Brogdon’s ascent has been a welcome surprise for a Bucks team bereft of guard depth, and the article discusses Brogdon’s equally surprising standing among the current rookie class.
And for those of you who’ve decided to channel our ancient ancestors and prefer the sanctity of the spoken word, here are a few relevant podcasts:
Adrian Wojnarowski invited Bucks GM John Hammond onto his podcast to discuss his lengthy career in basketball and the NBA, while touching especially on Hammond’s scouting and eventual selection of Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick. For his part, Hammond is incredibly modest about the whole process.
Oh, hold on, how did that slip in there? That’s right, it’s a shameless plug for the finest daily Bucks podcast hosted by none other than Frank Madden and Eric Nehm. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast and rate it on Itunes if you like what you hear.