We’re entering that final stretch before the ceremonial mid-point of the season. The Bucks stand at a record of 23-30, sit just a few games outside of playoff contention, but also equally stand on the precipice of a lost season. Fate hasn’t been sealed one way or another, but the loss of Jabari Parker for the season throws another wrench into any postseason aspirations the franchise had.
Outside of those underlying stories are an array of interesting tales ready to be told. In this week’s M3 Roundup, Thon Maker steps forward into the spotlight, a portrait of Jabari Parker the man becomes a bit more clear, and we look at what the D-League may mean for Oshkosh’s future outside of basketball.
Thon Maker is the Bucks’ Secret Unicorn (Bleacher Report)
Howard Beck has long been known as one of the top NBA writers, and he turns his attention to Thon Maker in this in-depth piece. He met up with Maker in December, and in so doing, uncovers a bit of his past, the fit of the present, and the potential of the future for Milwaukee’s beloved rookie.
There’s a lot to love in this one, and you begin to get a better picture of Thon off-court. It only gets you that much more excited to see more minutes go his way as the season goes on. With Jabari Parker out for the long-term, Maker may get more chances than ever before to improve with in-game reps. Beck makes it clear that every step, every rebound, every shot is just another piece being added to a promising and as yet uncompleted puzzle.
The Awakening (The Ringer)
The timing wasn’t exactly what we’d describe as “ideal” around these parts, but Jordan Conn does his best to understand the enigma of Jabari Parker the man. Raised on a relatively strict schedule in an effort to balance school, basketball, and the commitments of his faith, his life was one dedicated to the near-singular goal of reaching the NBA.
His move from Chicago to Duke precipitated an intellectual and personal evolution, and Parker found himself beginning to find a voice for his ideas. Upon reaching the NBA, he began to loosen the binds that held him back both on and off the court. As success mounted in games, he became more vocal about his opinions on race in a variety of contexts through many mediums. While he’s sidelined once again with injury, the newfound voice of Jabari Parker will continue to mature, and may persist to be an outlet for him as he works his way back to the court once more.
Leading man: Giannis Antetokounmpo adjusts to added responsibilities (Journal Sentinel)
We’ll get a little local with this one. Losing Jabari Parker will undoubtedly have an impact in wins and losses, but it most immediately means a bigger load on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s shoulders. Part of his recent struggles can be attributed to the fact that he is, in fact, a mere 22-years old. Another part is the responsibility assigned to him by the franchise as a leader of others.
Maintaining the proper equilibrium without exhausting himself will be top of mind heading forward. If anything, however, the fact that he can put together impressive nights in spite of the heightened expectations and needs for leadership should be a bright spot in an otherwise foggy season.
Economic impact of a Bucks’ D-League team in Oshkosh (WBAY - Green Bay)
You may have heard that the Bucks announced last week that the D-League would be coming to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Thanks to the private financing behind the building of an arena for the team, Oshkosh proper looks set to benefit from an increase in revenue brought into the city.
The town hopes to create an economic district around the new arena with 24 nights of use scheduled annually for the D-League season. That gives arena supervisors a whole range of dates to fill the arena, and thus Oshkosh itself, with fans and visitors.
Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo, all 6-feet-11 of him, is reviving the franchise (Los Angeles Times)
Another week, another national publication giving Giannis his well-deserved due. The beauty of the early days of Giannis’s time in Milwaukee were just how readily he embraced the small-market franchise. It is almost a match made in heaven: A team praying for someone to save them from the dark of NBA mediocrity, and a player whose entire existence is dedicated to pursuing basketball greatness. To leave a legacy as the man who brought Milwaukee to prominence is something pushing Giannis, and we’re all that much more lucky to have him for it.
This is a quick hit piece gathering a slew of reactions from pros around the NBA to the news that Jabari Parker will have to miss another 12 months of basketball due to tearing his ACL. His impact reaches throughout all tendrils of the NBA, and if anything, he has the backing of his compatriots rooting him on back to success.
And so, we’ve come to the close of another M3 Roundup. Yes, things look a bit bleak with Jabari’s future in so much doubt, but that shouldn’t stop you from basking in the glow and attention Milwaukee will receive this coming weekend with Giannis in New Orleans for the All-Star Game.
There’s still a lot of basketball to be watched, so I send you off today with high hopes that this week provides entertainment in ways we haven’t seen in a few weeks for Milwaukee.