Coming in this morning, I think one word sums up the mood of the fanbase at-large: Discontent.
Feelings are running high, and can you blame someone for feeling that way? The Bucks have a borderline MVP, and... that's about it. There are valid arguments that all is not lost: Khris Middleton isn't a bad piece for a competitive team, Jabari Parker will be returning at some point which should augment the offense in some manner, and Malcolm Brogdon continues to be a steadying hand in the guard rotation. Once you get beyond those rays of hope the reasons for optimism crater.
I don't need to go over all the low-lights. They're obvious and they're painful to continue to bring up, and also because our own Mitchell Maurer did his part to lay them out and fix them in-turn. Go there if you want serious analysis for what's ailing this team and where viable fixes can be made.
Over here, on this Monday morning, you'll find me simply laughing. Laughing not because I find the state of the franchise funny, although it is comical. Laughing not because I'm happy with the state of things, as they're quickly approaching unacceptable. No, I'm laughing because it is either chuckle or sob, and I will not start my week teary eyed.
Open Floor Podcast: Is Jason Kidd's Offense Holding Giannis Back? (Sports Illustrated)
If you're firmly entrenched in the camp that advocates for head coach Jason Kidd's expulsion, you've probably been hoping and praying that the national media would eventually wise up to what was going on in Milwaukee.
Well, the star of Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to shine bright; perhaps bright enough to illuminate the dysfunction the franchise is dealing with at the moment. And so we shall begin to see articles, podcasts, interviews, think pieces and so much more come out addressing the future of Kidd at the Bucks’ helm.
The first ones to get a crack this week? Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver at Sports Illustrated on the Open Floor Podcast.
The Unspeakable Greatness of Giannis Antetokounmpo (New York Times)
I, for one, am glad Marc Stein, of ESPN-fame, has found a new home at the New York Times. He's always been wonderful when he gets a chance to zoom in on a topic of interest, and this week we get to benefit from that lens being pointed directly at Giannis Antetokounmpo.
I'm not going to spoil the piece by regurgitating what's in it. Instead, I suggest you give it a chance and enjoy it on your own terms.
From the national perspective we now move to the local with this piece by Eric Nehm. While Stein is valuable for providing a bird's-eye viewat the state of things in Milwaukee, Nehm has the opportunity to illuminate things from the inside given his access and daily interactions with the team. And so we get this article chronicling what he's deemed Giannis's “obsession" with basketball.
Namely, this is a story about a player who cannot stop thinking about basketball (a trait steeped in basketball lore) and how he, with the help of certain teammates, is doing his best to find an outlet beyond the game to find a balance in his professional life. Interesting stuff.
Jason Kidd isn't known for providing the most stimulating interviews, but a one-on-one sit-down is always an interesting venue that leads to a bit more of a conversation than your typical media scrum allows.
One thing of note to pull from Nick Friedell's talk with Kidd? Jason doesn't understand why NBA stars aren't regularly playing 40+ minutes a night the way stars of his era were wont to do.
That should do wonders for Giannis's knees, no?
This is an interesting compare-and-contrast between two of the league's more prominently point guard-less franchises. With Giannis and Nikola Jokic at the helm in Milwaukee and Denver respectively, neither team appears to be in a rush to upgrade their weak guard rotations. Those two are forces to be reckoned with; so much so that the teams look set to mold themselves fully around their talent.
Perhaps going against the NBA's guard-heavy grain will prove to be a zig that decisively counters the general zag. But as Shaun Powell of NBA.com notes, getting a big-centric offense off the ground solely on those players’ ability is difficult to do effectively, and so it isn't a surprise the Bucks and Nuggets are some of the top contenders for Eric Bledsoe. Having Giannis is deadly. Having Giannis with a point guard who forces defensive attention his direction to play in tandem with might be something a notch or two above deadly.
NBA PM: Don’t Forget About Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (Basketball Insiders)
Of all the storylines that will come together during the duration of the season, I'm most interested to see the tale of Khris Middleton's rising/falling stock value with Bucks fans and the national audience.
Suffice it to say, there are plenty of fans displeased with Khris's early-season struggles on both ends of the floor. Will he be able to turn around his offensive woes? If he continues to miss, can he find a way to contribute elsewhere at a level that keeps the hounds at bay? We're very early in the season, but patience appears to already be running thin.
Giannis Says “Flashy Cities” Aren’t for Him (The Ringer)
I've always been adamant that Milwaukee is more like Miami and Los Angeles in the winter than people give it credit for. The main bodies of water adjacent to each city don't freeze over, all of them must have what I assume to be healthy bowling communities, and people live in the general vicinity of each town regardless of season.
Milwaukee’s edge over the “flashy cities” of the NBA?
Giannis is going to stay in Milwaukee for the fish fries. You heard it here first.
It definitely seemed a bit ambitious of the Wisconsin Herd to declare that their new arena would be ready just months after groundbreaking earlier this year. That's a lot of work to cobble together in a short span of time.
Well, it appears as though the time estimates were indeed a bit overly optimistic, and the new home for the Herd is not ready as the G-League season begins. Games must be played, Oshkosh or no Oshkosh, and so the Herd will start the year playing at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
The weirdest part of it all? Only one of the first three home games will be open to the public with “costs” associated with opening the building to fans cited as the leading reason why the Herd will be playing in front of empty seats.
What a strange way to start the Herd's first season.
From the Social Media Realm:
So, uh, when do we start talking about Kostas Antetokounmpo as a target in a future NBA draft?
Hey, look, more national media members criticizing Milwaukee's struggles!
We are RIGHT on track for the familiar “they have to get Giannis more help” and/or “the league needs to get him somewhere with more help” https://t.co/Zx133cioDK— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) November 1, 2017
Nike is going to be releasing “City” jerseys for each NBA franchise, and it looks like Milwaukee is going cream:
John Henson: Shot blocker, sweatpants aficionado, and great with kids:
Write me down as a fan of whoever it is on the far-right who decided to neither wear a “Wisconsin Herd” hoodie, nor wear team regulation pants (Editor’s note: That would be none other than James Young of Bill Simmons fist-pump fame):
Hopefully he isn't this guy:
Wisconsin Herd F Cliff Alexander has been suspended for five games w/o pay for violating the terms of the league’s Anti-Drug Program.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) November 2, 2017
Your Wisconsin Herd, everybody!
I came into last week's prognostication pessimistic, and I was rewarded for my negativity. My 1-2 expected record was outdone by the Bucks who decided to go 0-3 in their games of the week.
Things don't get any easier in the immediate future for the Bucks: They'll resume play Tuesday evening in Cleveland against the Cavs, travel down to Texas to play San Antonio on Friday, and then end the week at home hosting the Los Angeles Lakers.
Write me down for expectations of 1-2 in those three games. However, I'm going to predict a loss against the Cavs, an unexpected win against a San Antonio team that may be the only team in the NBA who likes shooting twos more than Milwaukee, and then a disappointing loss to a young Lakers team.
As I wind down this morning's roundup, I just looked up the weather today in Milwaukee: Mostly sunny with a high of 41 degrees! You know what that sounds like? An excuse to go out and have yourself a...