Another week, another series of noteworthy news pieces breaking around the Milwaukee Bucks. The team bid farewell to cult-hero Spencer Hawes, waiving and stretching his contract to avoid paying any luxury tax. They revealed their full plans for a throwback game at the MECCA arena. And they may have, may not have been in on the ground floor of Kyrie Irving-centric trades before the former Cavalier was sent to the Boston Celtics.
A relatively quiet week in terms of headlines, but there still is plenty of room for analysis worth reading beneath the big stories. This week we'll find some of those underrepresented pieces. Today features work on the nature of qualifying offers, open and closed tryouts, how Thon Maker is a harbinger of the shifting center landscape, and even some John Henson news.
The NBA Positional Census: Center (The Ringer)
Malcolm Brogdon already made the cut as one of the Ringer's examples of where point guards are going in today's NBA. Now it is Thon Maker's turn.
In Jonathon Tjarks’s view, Maker is best viewed as a great beneficiary of the time period he's playing in. A seven-footer weighing in at a bit over 220 pounds would be eaten alive inside in any other era. Instead, opposing offenses are moving increasingly away from the basket and becoming ever-more guard-heavy.
Within that system Thon has the potential to thrive. He has uncommon foot-speed at his size, has shown the ability to defend pick-and-rolls whether sticking with the roll guy or shadowing a guard on a switch, and his offensive skills present plenty of upside.
Whether he can make one or two of those skills the “backbone” of his game will be the key to Maker cementing his place in today's NBA as an nontraditional (but increasingly traditional) center.
NBA 25 Under 25: Giannis, Brow, KAT and The Next Generation (Yahoo Sports)
If you're not competing for championships in the NBA, then youth should be your everything. Without young and (relatively) cheap talent the odds of your moving from the outside-looking-in to contending decrease dramatically.
Analysts and fans already acknowledge that Giannis Antetokounmpo is the top under-25 prospect in the entire NBA and that's a hell of a starting point to build from. What's more interesting in my estimation is the ranking of Jabari Parker as the 12th-best player under-25 in the league.
If you're a believe that Parker will return to his pre-ACL injury form, then the selection makes a bit of sense. But if he can't quite make it back to that peak, maybe the rankings turn out a bit differently by next off-season.
Bucks news: Jabari Parker provides update on knee rehab (ClutchPoints & Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Speaking of Parker, he recently talked to the media while presenting the team's upcoming MECCA game on October 26th against the Boston Celtics.
When asked about how he's progressing in rehabilitation, he told Matt Velasquez of the MJS, “‘You've just got to be there to see,’ he said with a smile. ‘Come visit me one day. I get lonely in that gym.’”
His last go-around with rehab brought out some of the best in Jabari, especially his positivity in overcoming a grueling physical and mental routine. He returned from that stint a 20+ point per game scorer (with some kinks needing working-out). Repeating that feat would be something of note all its own.
Sick and tired of running into mediocre competition in your rec league? Do you know you could be an NBA player if only someone was willing to give you a chance? Ready to relive your high school glory days? The Wisconsin Herd have heard (sorry) your pleas and will be hosting an open tryout in Oshkosh on September 23rd.
You'll have to fill out a registration form and pay $150 (non-refundable) to get in the door, but hey, if the Spurs’s Jonathon Simmons can turn that $150 into a $20 million contract, why couldn't you?
NBA AM: The Truth About Qualifying Offers (Basketball Insiders)
The NBA is at an odd place in its cap history: Cap spikes sent player contracts to dizzying heights, but the window for big paydays has seemingly closed. Stuck between a rock and a hard place are those players faced with accepting qualifying offers from their teams for a chance at reaching the idyllic promised-land of unrestricted free agency.
Qualifying offers (QOs) can be a player’s boon or bane. Once in awhile you get a Greg Monroe who opts for the qualifying offer and then parlays that uncertain season into a big contract, but most often you get fringe players taking a final gamble on themselves.
Back in the news because of Dallas’s Nerlens Noel taking a qualifying offer over reportedly $70 million guaranteed, this specific type of contract looms with the future of Jabari Parker in the air. Most signs point to an amicable extension, but knowing the history and function of a QO may by chance become a bit of helpful knowledge in the near-future.
I remember when the Hasheem Thabeet college hype got to unbelievable levels. There was even a Sports Illustrated for Kids comic strip featuring the big man playing for Connecticut. Now he's trying out for the Bucks in a free-agent camp put together last week.
Life comes at you fast.
Notable Social Media
Along with revealing the date of the MECCA game, the Bucks went ahead and showed off the throwback uniforms to be exhibited that evening:
If you wanted to tour the new sports science center attached to the team's training building, the Bucks have you covered:
All the talk of uniforms got Bucks Twitter savant @DavidDunn21 thinking, “Which Bucks uni would come out on top in a NCAA-tournament style series of tweets pitting era against era?” I guess we have our answer now:
1-1996 Deer Head— Elijah Price (@DavidDunn21) September 1, 2017
With the departure of Spencer Hawes, the Bucks have just enough space to sign someone to a veteran-minimum contract. Speculation abounds as to who could be brought in, but let's all be honest: It'll probably be Jason Terry. I'm not upset by that fact; it just robs us of some much-desired room for unwarranted speculation about journeymen vets who would look good in the MECCA throwback uniforms.
Now that all of that is out of the way, get out of here! Go out and enjoy your Labor Day (if you're reading from the U.S. or Canada, sorry rest of the world), and as ever: