As we wake up this chilly October morning, we can have our hearts warmed by the fact that there are plenty of things to be happy about with the Milwaukee Bucks. They own a 4-2 record, sit near the top of the Eastern Conference standings, and they continue to have Giannis Antetokounmpo.
It is that last point that we'll be spending plenty of time on this morning. After a sizzling hot first week of play, it took media outlets far and wide just a few days to catch up to the out-of-control train that is the Giannis Show. We'll forgive them for sleeping on the league's most-indescribable talent, and hey, at least they're rectifying their earlier quiet. Whether it be The Ringer, the Washington Post, or even GQ, we've got them all featured here.
I'll delay you no longer.
Making a Most Valuable Player (The Ringer)
Giannis's fiery start to the season caught the entire NBA's attention, as it should have. We’ve all seen the ridiculous per game averages, we've all seen highlight play after highlight play after highlight play, we've all heard the praise heaped upon his early play by coaches, players, media, and fans alike, and we've all gotten at least a little involved in the early-season Giannis-for-MVP push.
If Giannis is to really make a case for MVP, he's going to need to maintain production either at or maybe a bit below where it has been through two weeks of the regular season. The Bucks are playing in a wide-open Eastern Conference, but that doesn't mean wins will come easy. Getting a top-four seed may prove beyond Milwaukee's means this year, and if that's the case, a Giannis MVP may look a lot like a repeat of the blueprint that led to Russell Westbrook's crowning last year.
Precedent is there for an undeniable talent to be rewarded for his gaudy statlines. Giannis just has to go get it.
When the Word of Giannis is making its way into the pages of GQ, you know you're dealing with a transcendental star. And why not? As Nathaniel Friedman states, Giannis plays in a way that is almost the complete antithetical to the way the modern NBA appears to be heading which makes it that much more fun to watch for die-hards and casual fans alike.
Instead of augmenting his game to finally find that almost-holy-grail-esque jump shot to facilitate a pace-and-space offense, Giannis instead acts as a sort of gravitational well that opposing defenses have no choice but to be sucked towards. Why settle for a somewhat efficient three when you can get an almost guaranteed two every single time down the floor?
Maybe one day Antetokounmpo will have to change as his body ages, but for the foreseeable future he's going to keep playing his style of NBA ball, three-pointers be damned.
Vegas likes Giannis Antetokounmpo for NBA MVP. The only issue: He plays for the Bucks (Washington Post)
Don't get too offended by the title of the article. All author Neil Greenberg means is that a deflated win total may sink Giannis's chances for an MVP this season. This argument is nothing new.
What is new is that the Milwaukee Bucks have also stumbled into the folds of the Washington Post. How about that?
Nothing to see here, just a bunch more praise for how Giannis has seemingly improved leaps and bounds again after last season. The only difference this time is that ESPN's Zach Lowe is the one singing the tune of Giannis Antetokounmpo, our savior and eventual overlord.
A bit of listening for you this morning, once again involving Zach Lowe, but with a bit wider of a discussion on Bucks basketball. He and guest Kevin Arnovitz discuss everything from the inevitable talk about Giannis, to how the team has looked tactically on both ends of the floor, and the divisive topic of what (if anything) Milwaukee should consider giving up to the Phoenix Suns for Eric Bledsoe.
These Are The NBA’s Most Dangerous Two-Way Contracts (DIME Magazine)
I put this piece here for two notable reasons:
- It highlights Gary Payton II and Joel Bolomboy, Milwaukee's two two-way contract players, as one of the league's most-promising pairs of go-to guys in the G-League
- It informed me that Nate Wolters, yes, that Nate Wolters, signed a two-way contract with Utah Jazz after spending a few seasons overseas.
Having Payton and Bolomboy, both NBA-caliber players in some fashion or another, as the anchors for the Wisconsin Herd's inaugural season should make for some exciting play. If they're able to come up to the NBA on occasion and provide some needed fill-in minutes, then that's all the better.
The Scars That Shape Jabari Parker (Sports Illustrated)
A couple of weeks ago Sports Illustrated published a longer-form video documenting what Jabari Parker has been up to during his rehab process after tearing his ACL for a second time.
Now they've followed up with an in-depth piece by Rob Mahoney that helps fill in some of the details we don't catch off-camera in that first video.
Trust me when I say it is an article worth your time reading, if only to get a perspective on what it is like for these professional players to work their way back from what could easily be catastrophic or life-changing injuries.
In the paint: Meet the Milwaukee man who went to a Bucks game dressed as Milhouse (Milwaukee Record)
If you were wondering who that mystery man dressed as the Simpson's Milhouse was during the “Return to the MECCA” game last week, wonder no more as the fine folks at the Milwaukee Record were on the case.
What a week to be a Bucks fan.
From the Social Media Realm
What does an off-season for Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon look like? NBA TV has got the inside look:
If you're in the market for some new Bucks-centric backgrounds for your phone/computer/living room walls, I've got some prints you might be interested in:
From the world of Locked on Bucks and ESPN Milwaukee comes our very own alumnus Eric Nehm with his assessment of what he's deemed the “Antetokounmpo Adjustments”:
If you hadn't already heard, we're not going to be seeing much of Greg Monroe in the coming weeks:
Jason Kidd said in postgame that Greg Monroe will be out for two weeks.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) October 29, 2017
Which is a shame, because I was getting used to stuff like this:
Moose when he sees Aron Baynes on the schedule pic.twitter.com/3TsEJYVrEW— Adam McGee (@AdamMcGee11) October 27, 2017
I'm proud to announce that, after two weeks of regular season action, I've gone a sterling 5-1 in my predictions. I stumbled last week coming in a bit too optimistic thinking the team would go 3-0 on their way to the top of the Eastern Conference. I've learned my lesson... or have I?
This week Milwaukee opens things up hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, then fly immediately to Charlotte to take on the Hornets Wednesday evening, and then finish the week's activities Friday in Detroit against the Pistons. Write me down for a 1-2 mark (L v. OKC, W in Charlotte, and a L against the Pistons) as doom and destruction consumes the entirety of Bucks fandom once more. Looking forward to it!
My final uplifting note for you this Monday morning: Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 35 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists a night through five games.