I wish I could tell you this Monday morning that it was all just a bad nightmare. The Milwaukee Bucks didn’t actually go down by 25 points last Thursday to the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of their first round series. I hoped I could come back here this morning and tell you that, instead, they somehow did the impossible and won the danged thing in seven games and that the series against the Cleveland Cavaliers was set to begin.
Unfortunately, we gather this morning to commiserate in the reality that Milwaukee’s season is over. The team has been vanquished to the off-season, and along with them, we find ourselves equally in the void that exists between playing actual games and the NBA Draft.
So, this week is about licking our wounds, looking back on the season that was, and facing the future boldly and with confidence. And, of course, surviving the work week.
How Close Are the Bucks to Contending? (The Ringer)
Kevin O’Connor will graciously provide our first non-Brew Hoop season recap/off-season preview. His key word of the year? “Almost”. Apt, I say.
He sees Milwaukee’s problems as four-fold: Needing to find a star partner for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Giannis accepting shooting help through the summer, building roster depth, and figuring out who to re-sign. Of course, in typical Ringer style, he goes deep on each of these topics, making this a worthwhile read.
On the Clock: Q & A with Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond (NBA.com)
Another season under John Hammond, another so-so set of results. One could argue that, really, Hammond has never had a team as well set for the future as this one. You could equally argue that we’re nearing a decade-plus under his tenure as general manager without a ton of success to show for it.
Either way, I ask you enjoy this interview Hammond gave with the conclusion of the season discussing selecting Giannis a couple years ago, how that paved the way to bring Thon Maker to Milwaukee, and much more!
Bucks Exit Interviews (Milwaukee Bucks)
Yeah yeah, I know, it is a Facebook video. For whatever reason, the Bucks made it nigh impossible to find the video of exit interviews on their official website, so I’m going to force you all to use another platform to view the video.
Notable exceptions? Giannis, Greg Monroe, and Khris Middleton. You’ll still get the usual platitudes from the guys who did get in front of the media, but this will probably be the last time to savor our time with these players before they go off on their summer vacations. Savor these final few moments, people.
Bucks, a Youthful Bunch, Are Facing a Bright Future (New York Times)
Hey, look! We made it into the New York Times! I had no clue that the Times even knew much about the NBA beyond its city limits. Well, I suppose I should just be glad that we got a little bit of a non-sports-periodical highlight, no?
For a general-review piece on the season that was, author Scott Cacciola does a good job summing up the most important themes. Looking back, there were a lot of positives to take away. Maybe that will blunt the sting of defeat, even a little bit?
The Unlikely Story Of Spiros Velliniatis, The Coach Who Discovered Giannis Antetokounmpo (Vice Sports)
VICE has finely filled the niche of long-form journalism covering topics that sometimes don’t find their ways onto the pages of traditional providers like ESPN, FOX, Sports Illustrated, etc. They continue that trend here with an investigative piece on Spiros Velliniatis, the guy who apparently put Giannis on the map.
If anything, the story provides some much-desired filler in the story of how Antetokounmpo went from the streets of Athens to the bright lights of NBA stardom. Chock it up as another piece helping put together the puzzle that forms a complete picture of Milwaukee’s most important star in a generation.
NBA Sunday: Still Waiting For Jabari Parker (Basketball Insiders)
Finally, we get to discuss a bit about Jabari Parker and what his return to competitive basketball could/should entail. The Bucks have been forced to create a gameplan that plans for Jabari’s absence. That, of course, has led to questions about how much the team should be ready to adjust once he returns (given his health history, it is unclear just how much the team will be able to rely on him as a solid fixture from here on out).
There are a lot of important questions surrounding Parker in Milwaukee; namely, whether he should get an extension this off-season or if Milwaukee should hold pat until he reaches restricted free agency and let the market decide his worth. Regardless, the Bucks will wait patiently to see just what a two-torn ACL Jabari looks like before radically adjusting the way they play.
Well, I suppose this roundup can be my form of closure on the season. In a way, this is a goodbye, but only to the season that was. Alternatively, this is naturally just a friendly “see you soon” to our favorite franchise. It hurts to have been so close to success, only to come up short, but, hey, we’ve only got a few months until the team gets another crack at the postseason, right?
I’ve got no real predictions this week, though I will give you one guarantee: The Bucks will (probably) pick at 17 in the upcoming draft. How’s that for prognostication?
I sincerely thank all of you who have consistently read this pseudo-column since we began a few weeks ago. We at Brew Hoop thank you for your time and interest, and wish you a wonderful summer! Come back soon as we dive into draft previews, coverage of free agency, and to find the answer to the question at the fore of everyones’ minds: Will Mirza Teletovic still be a Buck this time next year?