And just like that, your Milwaukee Bucks are BACK! From the ensuing throes of chaos that engulfed the team after a dismal loss to the Utah Jazz, the Milwaukee Bucks have won three straight and found themselves as the... eight seed in the Eastern Conference. Home sweet home!
Critically, the team has begun to level out their defensive woes, moving from the last third of the league in defensive rating up to 18th at 108. They'll need to continue to improve on that end of the floor as they remain a slightly-below-average offensive unit. At the moment, the roster is still trying to figure out who they “are”, especially since the inclusion of Eric Bledsoe just 11 games ago. That they've retained an 8-3 record over those 11 games is encouraging, and leaves a lot of hope that the coaching staff and players can stick to a singular identity as the season continues.
If a team ID is going to emerge, it should quick, especially with a noticeably more difficult upcoming schedule.
But those are problems the rest of the Brew Hoop staff can grapple with. Me? I've got a curated selection of Bucks-related news stories for your consumption. This week, the media marvels at noted Swiss army-knife brought-to-life Giannis Antetokounmpo, that shiny new building in downtown Milwaukee, and the continued surge of success for the Wisconsin Herd.
Five quick reminders that Giannis Antetokounmpo is absolutely devastating (Yahoo)
You like Giannis highlights, I like Giannis highlights, your cousin likes Giannis highlights, and Dan Devine over at Yahoo likes Giannis highlights.
Everyone likes Giannis highlights!
The Milwaukee Bucks and modern NBA basketball (ESPN) & Offensive Identity Crisis in Milwaukee (ESPN)
It may look like I'm simply outsourcing critically written pieces about Milwaukee basketball to Brew Hoop alum Eric Nehm, but it isn't my fault that he's churning out quality pieces day after day!
This past week, he focused his attention on the ever-important topic of how the team, both in current being and in the future, will fare in a quickly shifting NBA. The overriding focus? Efficiency. (Or the lack thereof)
Milwaukee's problems are two-fold: Their established system doesn't correspond with the three-happy ways of the league on either end of the court, and they've added or lost players since the start of the year, not to mention coach Jason Kidd's penchant for incessant lineup changes, thus denying any chance for familiarity with other players and their tendencies within the scheme.
Winning can paper over a lot of complaints. Maybe the Bucks are finally turning the corner, but I'll remain skeptical until further notice.
Milwaukee Bucks scale back size of building planned for entertainment complex near arena (Journal Sentinel)
Just when you thought the arena was coming together as a architectural piece of art, we get this devastating news. The worst part? The purported microbrewery that was to be part of the entertainment complex is no more.
A moment of silent, please.
Wisconsin Herd prepare for first game in Oshkosh (Oshkosh Northwestern)
This one comes late as the Herd already played their first game in their new home last Friday, but it is an interesting chronicle of the unique situation the Wisconsin Herd found themselves the first weeks of the season as a team without a true home.
For what is it worth, it looked like attendance in Oshkosh was robust and the crowd added a welcome atmosphere. Now we get to enjoy watching a fanbase organically grow from the ground up as they build around a out-of-the-gate success in the Herd.
Bucks might have a gem in waiting in Herd’s Young (FOX Sports) & James Young is driven on showing everyone he’s still an NBA player (2 Ways 10 Days)
No one could have guessed just how strongly the Herd would start the year, and you'd be equally hard-pressed to have predicted that players like Xavier Munford and James Young would be leading the way for the nascent team.
Young, at age 22 and with three years of NBA experience under his belt, has stood out as an unimaginably prolific scorer in the G-League in Oshkosh. He leads the league in scoring, averaging 27.5 points a game along with 5.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists, and it won't be long until NBA teams come calling with 10-day contracts when they're available in January. Whether he keeps his scoring acumen in the Bucks organization is up in the air, but it has to be valuable for team officials to have him in-house for evaluation and familiarity with Milwaukee's systems.
Perhaps he can step in as a much-needed offensive spark-plug later in the season?
The challenge of tracking days of service for two-way players (2 Ways 10 Days)
An aspect of two-way contracts that I keep thinking about: How quickly are the Bucks burning their eligible days with Gary Payton II and Joel Bolomboy? During a long NBA season, 45 days go by quickly, and there isn't a running count of how much of that time has already been used this season.
Unfortunately for the detail-oriented among us the NBA lacks an easily-accessible tracking system for who spends time where, and even then the rules defining what counts as a “day of service” are convoluted in their own way. For now, we'll just have to rely on the Bucks to use their limited two-way time wisely.
From the Social Media Realm
D.J. Wilson made his G-League debut with the Wisconsin Herd last Friday, and, at least from the highlights package, it seemed to go pretty well:
Fine, Giannis can win MVP, DPOY, and MIP this year. I'll begrudgingly allow it:
Just wrapped Bucks-Blazers. Man, when the Bucks look good, they really look good. Giannis is such a problem on defense right now. Legit DPOY candidate— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) December 1, 2017
The fine people of Twitter asked for it, and @DavidDunn21 delivered. Here is your Milwaukee Bucks Misery Supercut™:
This week, the schedule difficulty ratchets up a few notches. Instead of the Sacramento Kings of the world, the Bucks start tonight in Massachusetts against the red-hot Boston Celtics, host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, and then get chances at redemption against the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz on Friday and Saturday.
I've already accepted a loss against Boston, and I don't feel great about stopping a Pistons team that seems to be fully in-sync. My hopes thus reside in the Bucks and their ability to prevent the fanbase from melting in a cauldron of sadness and rectifying their embarrassing outings against Dallas and Utah. Can they do it? Potentially, but not probably. We'll keep expectations low and guess a 1-3 week ahead.
That'll wrap things up on a high note. I hope you had a nice weekend, hope you will survive the week ahead, and as ever: