I think I speak for everyone this morning when I ask: Who the hell are all these guys in Milwaukee? Names like Kendall Marshall, James Young, Brandon Rush, and Gerald Green are all pretty well-known among NBA circles, but it seems quite unbelievable that the Bucks have brought all four into the fold in just a matter of three short weeks.
I'm thinking some current Bucks may be confused by all the new faces at Media Day.
Not only have we seen an influx of players in the recent past, but there has been an exodus going on simultaneously which has seen Jalen Moore, Bronson Koenig, and JeQuan Lewis (all members of the 2017 Summer League roster) waived to make space for the new guys. Whether those names remain linked to Milwaukee is unclear, but the team heads into the season loaded to the gills with veteran free agents instead of unproven rookies.
Transactions aside, there's always more Bucks news to digest. This week we'll hit upon the antics featured in the chase for Giannis Antetokounmpo's next shoe deal, a whole Herd (I'm sorry) of new coaching additions up in Oshkosh, the state of two-way contracts, and much more.
Best Case, Worst Case: Milwaukee Bucks (The Ringer)
I refuse to take the writer of this article seriously; they falsely stated that the best-case scenario for Milwaukee this upcoming season would be a solid showing in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Doesn't he watch any basketball? Obviously the best-case would be winning an NBA championship! Duh!
The worst-case has to do with political intrigue within the ownership group spelling trouble for stability and continued success for the Bucks. Meddling owners? In Milwaukee? Never!
Giannis Antetokounmpo's profile both in the U.S. and globally continues to rise, and a critical signal of that boosted image is the voracity with which rival sports apparel brands are competing to sign the fifth-year star to an exclusive endorsement deal.
Nike (Giannis's current endorser), Adidas, and Chinese company Li-Ning are all in the running to garner the final go-ahead, though Nike may be best positioned due to the existence of a clause in Antetokounmpo's current deal allowing them to match any offer within a 20-business-day period.
The efficacy of signature player shoes is often debated; sometimes the deal proves to be an unfathomable boon (see: Michael Jordan). Other times things may fizzle if the player can't maintain the popularity they had when joining a sports brand. Giannis seems set to figure into the former group, especially to an international audience, so don't be surprised when he gets an annual dollar amount worthy of his status.
Stepping into Thon Maker's shoes; Is 50 wins a realistic goal for the Bucks?; and Greg Monroe talks offseason with ESPN Milwaukee (ESPN Milwaukee podcasts)
The fine folks over at ESPN Milwaukee got the chance to chat with a few Bucks this past week as the team took part in the Bucks Foundation golf outing.
Greg Monroe sounds excited about the progress/continued chemistry the team will having after a stable (roster-wise) offseason, head coach Jason Kidd still loves himself some philosophical platitudes in interview mode, and Thon Maker is still eating upwards of six full-sized meals a day in a bid to up his caloric intake.
What’s The Deal With The Bucks And Their Two-Way Contracts? (Ridiculous Upside)
The introduction of the G-League's two-way contracts have been the cause of much rigorous discussion as to the usefulness of a quirky addition to the NBA's latest CBA agreement. Milwaukee jumped on the tool just a few days into this season's Summer League, signing Bronson Koenig and Jalen Moore to both slots allotted to the team.
As we stand this morning, however, neither are with the franchise having both been waived for varying reasons. Oddly enough, the Bucks are the only NBA team without a two-way player under contract at this point.
Speculation abounds as to who the team will pursue to two-way deals, though odds-on favorites include James Young and Gary Payton II, both players who will be joining the team on non-guaranteed deals in training camp. Each qualifies under CBA rules and may serve as useful worst-case options if the team needs depth as the season wears on.
Having a G-League team should prove a boon, but clearly the Bucks are still figuring out best practices when it comes to the NBA's minor league.
It was a busy week up in Oshkosh as the Wisconsin Herd continue to bring together the pieces for their inaugural season. First, they announced the filling out of the coaching staff with a group that is deep in smaller-conference collegiate coaching experience, and then they held open tryouts for local basketball talent looking to earn a roster spot for the upcoming G-League season.
Results from those tryouts haven't been announced, but the Herd continues to resemble something akin to an actual minor-league team with each passing day. That's good news, especially since their season gets underway on November 6th against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Did you really think the sage of Steve Novak (did you know he played in Brown Deer?!?!) was at a close when he was waived from the team last season? Think again.
Novak, whose Wisconsin-roots probably top the list of his basketball-relevant attributes at this point, will be joining Buck-great Vin Baker as part of the analyst team on FOX Sports Wisconsin's “Bucks Live” pre- and post-game coverage.
How he'll fit into the dynamic of a TV broadcast will be interesting, though perhaps more interesting will be the knowledge of the dynamics within a Bucks locker room he was quite recently a part of. That perspective alone will make Steve a welcome addition to the FOX coverage crew.
From the Social Media Realm
One year ago, Giannis Antetokounmpo signed his lucrative extension with the Bucks and held a press conference shortly thereafter:
And a year later, Giannis finally got a credit card worthy of his physical stature:
From a few weeks ago, but it looks like Tony Snell is doing everything in his power to get the likes of Dwanye Wade and Jimmy Butler to come (back) to Milwaukee:
Oshkosh-based sports reporter John Doran took part in the Herd's open tryouts, and his highlights are truly eye-opening:
Here's are the latest posts from newest Bucks Kendall Marshall and Brandon Rush:
I wonder if Gerald Green would be able to put together a Bucks logo in a similar vein to his shamrock look from last season:
This week’s conclusion doesn't really need much in the way of thought: Training camp starts tomorrow, the 26th, and pre-season basketball kicks off for Milwaukee a week from today when the Bucks head to Dallas to face the Mavericks.
Also on the prediction front, I'll go ahead and toss out the suggestion that Gerald Green is the player most likely to come out of the imminent competition for Milwaukee's final 15th man roster spot. Kendall Marshall probably lacks the athleticism and scoring threat desired in even a third-string point guard, Brandon Rush has been part of plenty of teams, but hasn't ever really broken through, and Green may have the edge thanks to his experience playing recently with the Celtics and may stand in as the Michael Beasley sometimes-offensive-spark plug option off the bench.
It will be a few weeks before the team has to reckon with that situation, though. Until, bask in the glory of Media Day interviews, glimpses of training camp footage which feature Greg Monroe sinking three-pointers for 10 seconds, and the general return of Bucks basketball into our lives. And, as always: