Well, Saturday night has to be giving us all a bit of a pickup heading into the week ahead, right? The Bucks came out and shocked damn near everyone by putting on a convincing clinic to topple the Toronto Raptors, 97-83. With home-court advantage firmly in their hands, Milwaukee will try to make it 2-for-2 on Tuesday night as the first round of the playoffs continues.
With that success comes yet another lavishing of praise and attention on the team, and that means we’ve got plenty of national headlines to poke through regarding the Bucks. In this week’s edition, Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay Packer fame makes his much-anticipated debut, the national media tries to figure out what went wrong for the Raptors, and the rookies continue to impress.
Toronto Must Find An Answer To Milwaukee's Suffocating Defense (Sports Illustrated)
Jason Kidd’s time as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks has been... interesting, to say the least. Perhaps one of the more controversial aspects of his tenure has been the on-again, off-again nature of the defensive scheme that’s been in place the past few seasons. One week, they’re prone to give up 30 odd open three-pointers, and the next week they’ll consistently keep opponents at an acceptably low offensive rating.
On Saturday, they did give up the threes we’ve been accustomed to seeing, but got lucky in that the Raptors struggled to convert. Even so, the interior-based nature of DeMar DeRozan’s game means that defense in the paint is ever so crucial. The Bucks and their length came through in that regard, and a continuation down that path spells danger for the Raptors.
I haven’t exactly been keeping track of which national media members have published their votes for the various NBA awards, but if Zach Lowe is any bellwether for the media’s mood, things are looking up for Malcolm Brogdon.
One would assume most voters may discount Joel Embiid’s season thanks to its short nature, and it’ll probably come down to valuing Dario Saric’s big stats as the go-to guy in Philadelphia or Brogdon’s steady influence for a playoff-bound team (votes were cast last Friday).
For Lowe, the consistency and impact shined through brighter than the counting stats, and for that, we can notch at least one first-place ROY vote for Brogdon!
Could ESPN be any more timely with their articles? We’ll have a more in-depth look at the progress the various players on the roster have made this season once the year comes to a close, but if you’d like a primer in looking back on Thon Maker’s rookie season arc, search no further.
The best part of Thon’s quotes? Just how shocking it was for him to be thrust into a starting (albeit limited) role midway through the season. It was his expectation that this would be a garbage time and weight-room focused campaign, and has been beyond pleased to be able to have an impact nightly.
One can only salivate at what he’ll look like coming back after a full offseason of work.
I’m a fan of this article if only because it highlights just how quickly the national discussion can turn after a good showing in the playoffs. There isn’t much in the way of analysis here, but it is exciting to see the author embracing just how wild the narratives around the Bucks may get with further post-season success.
NBA Finals here we come? Not yet, but after a showing like that in Game 1, we can make-believe that anything is possible, right?
Milwaukee Bucks say they have plenty of customers for luxury suites at $524 million arena (Journal Sentinel)
Oh, and who could forget in the midst of all this euphoria that the arena continues to take shape?!? Part of the initial design for the new arena focused around decreasing the number of upper-level seats, increasing the size of the lower-bowl, and featuring a variety of suites in between the two zones.
Well, apparently the Bucks aren’t going to have much trouble finding people to fill that mid-zone, at the very least. They’re looking for leases ranging from seven to ten years in length, and are almost 3/4 of the way there to selling out those sections. There hasn’t been much word about a naming deal for the new building, but there appears to be potential for an active market once the time comes.
Aaron Rodgers wants to sign with Milwaukee Bucks (247 Sports)
It was almost inevitable after Tony Romo of Dallas Cowboy-fame suited up as an honorary member of the Dallas Mavericks that any other states with NBA/NFL franchises could potentially copy the PR move. And apparently, at least for Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers is willing to step in and provide a boost in mid-range shooting ability if called upon by the Bucks.
Whether Rodgers finds himself on the bench in the future during a meaningless game isn’t a sure thing, but he’s been seen around Milwaukee and elsewhere sporting a variety of Bucks gear, so at least we can count him as a fan.
His one condition to joining the Bucks in the future? They’ve got to bring back Drew Gooden to be his shooting coach.
And so our first playoff-edition of the roundup comes to the finish line. With luck, this won’t be one of the few times we find ourselves here, but for now, let’s just enjoy the ride.
As the season progressed, I fancied myself a prognosticator and gave you all predictions for the games in the week ahead. The playoffs are harder to predict, but I can tell you I’m quite sure the Bucks will play Game 2 in Toronto Tuesday evening before returning to Milwaukee to play Games 3 and 4 on Thursday and Saturday respectively. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Bucks struggle to replicate complete success in Game 2, and I believe we’ll be going into Game 5 with the series split 2-2.
You’ll have to wait until next Monday to revel in my success (or failure), but until then, we wish you a happy NBA playoffs, a happy first-round series, a happy 1-0 start to the week, and as always: