Another week, another entry into the perpetually .500 story of the 2017-2018 Milwaukee Bucks. Don't believe me? Look at the order of wins and losses in their last nine games: WLWLWLWLL. The Bucks have graduated from going .500 over the course of a season and to perpetually going one step forwards and immediately taking a step backwards. It'd be impressive if it wasn't something more akin to a tragicomedy.
At least Giannis is still the leading vote-getter in All-Star voting for the Eastern Confer...
Nothing matters anymore.
The growth of the NBA as a global brand has kicked into overdrive thanks in part to the first wave of international stars like Dirk Nowitski, Yao Ming, and Tony Parker. Each brought unique ability to the game, with Nowitski ascending to all-time-great status while others have pushed basketball's reach beyond America's borders.
Now, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the pack, the NBA is experiencing its “second wave” of foreign hotshots. If Dirk blazed the trail to becoming the face of a franchise as an international player, guys like Giannis, Kristaps Porzingis, and Joel Embiid are simply widening the pathways.
Can these new guys rise beyond the shadows of their predecessors? Giannis sure thinks so: ”’We believe we can do it,’ Antetokounmpo told Yahoo Sports. ‘It’s not that bad of a responsibility. I love it.’” Keep on, Giannis.
Milwaukee's mediocrity is starting to seep into the national consciousness. So much so that even the Mothership has taken a crack at diagnosing the Bucks’s ills. The verdict: Eh?
It is acknowledged that Jason Kidd is a big negative against the Bucks favor, but it is also argued that, “this team also could use just a bit more talent.” Good thing Jabari Parker and/or DeAndre Jordan is going to be injected into the nightly lineup soon! That should solve everything.
I remember the 24-1 game well. In the weeks leading up to it, I recall listening to some ESPN podcast or another marveling over Golden State's hot start to the 2015-2016 season. Instead of evaluating Milwaukee's odds of doing the damn thing (can you blame them?), most pundits skipped right over the finish of the Warriors's long road trip.
And then the Bucks went out and did the damn thing. They improbably captured lightning in the bottle that night and somehow lived up to the ‘24-1’ t-shirts the team had handed out prior to the game.
Since, the Bucks have lost five straight to Golden State. But at least we had that night.
Do Wisconsin Herd hold Joel Bolomboy’s G League rights? (2 Ways 10 Days)
If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I had to go in and update last week's Roundup multiple times thanks to the chaos of the guarantee-date-deadline.
DeAndre Liggins was sent packing to greener pastures, Joel Bolomboy was unexpectedly made a full member of the NBA roster, and Xavier Munford moved onto a two-way deal. Or so we first thought.
Bolomboy would be quickly waived just an hour or two later to make room for Sean Kilpatrick to join the Bucks full-time, causing everyone to scratch their heads a bit. After a bit of speculation, a cogent explanation for the capanomics emerged via Twitter:
The Milwaukee Bucks converted and then waived Joel Bolomboy. They then signed Sean Kilpatrick to a standard NBA contract. This was as I speculated earlier this afternoon. All about gaming the system to try and keep Bolomboy as part of the org, while opening up a roster spot.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) January 7, 2018
This week, Bolomboy re-signed with the Herd on a G-League deal, proving the efficacy of GM Jon Horst's roster-spot madness. Long live Bolomboy!
The day Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Bucks ended the longest streak in American professional sports history (The Undefeated)
In honor of Milwaukee breaking winning streaks, here's a tidbit from The Undefeated's piece on the breaking of the Los Angeles Lakers's 33-game win streak in 1972:
“Hairston got wrapped up in Abdul-Jabbar’s legs under the basket. When Hairston got up, Abdul-Jabbar’s right hand flew into his jaw, which left Hairston motionless on the court for several seconds. Abdul-Jabbar received a personal foul. ”
From the Social Media Realm
You've probably already seen this, but relive the glory that is Sterling Brown's Mercedes filled with fresh popcorn:
Fare thee well, sweet prince:
Free agent guard DeAndre Liggins is signing a 10-day contract with New Orleans, league sources tell ESPN. Pelicans are using an injury exception to acquire Liggins, who was waived in Milwaukee.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 10, 2018
You too, Glove:
Sources: The Los Angeles Lakers are planning to sign guard Gary Payton II to a two-way NBA contract. Payton is expected to join the team in Memphis.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 15, 2018
Welcome aboard, new guy!
And to close your week, some light reading on most stoic Buck in franchise history:
Milwaukee @Bucks guard Tony Snell's generally a man of few words, so most people (media/fans alike) struggle to get to know him. Teammates & coaches love him. The great @LoriNickel gives us a look at who Snell is & where he came from: https://t.co/ijxDas3Efj via @journalsentinel— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) January 12, 2018
Things don't get much easier the Bucks this week with three critical games coming up against other middle-of-the-pack Eastern Conference opponents. The week begins in just a few hours as the Bucks line up for a mid-day tilt in D.C. against the Washington Wizards, return to play the Miami Heat again on Wednesday, and then the Bucks finish the week in a marquee (in both fanbases’ eyes, at least) matchup in Philadelphia against the 76ers on Saturday.
I don't like any of the pairings this week, especially Saturday's game against a franchise similarly trying to make the transition from rebuilding to contending. Something tells me John Henson and Thon Maker won't have much if anything to offer someone like Joel Embiid. I'm prepared to be frustrated by the experience, and for the Bucks to go 1-2 this week.
At least we'll have a palate cleanser today against the renowned tough guys Wizards. I won't go in hoping for fireworks between Bradley Beal and Matthew Dellavedova, but I also won't be surprised at the first hard-foul committed on Delly as he's dribbling the ball off his foot.