Is there anything sweeter than coming through the first week of regular season play with a 2-0 record? Two games a first seed does not make, but Milwaukee's ability to absorb a number of body blows from two of the East's possible playoff-teams-to-be and still grind out wins is a far cry from the win one, lose one ways of just a year ago.
A compare and contrast of some (way too early) numbers from this year’s first two games vs. last year’s:
3PA: 2017 - 56 attempts; 2018 - 81 attempts
3PM: 2017 - 18 makes (32.1%); 2018 - 31 makes (38.3%)
AST: 2017 - 42 assists; 2018 - 53 assists
ORtg: 2017 - 107.6; 2018 - 111.3
DRtg: 2017 - 113.7; 2018 - 102.6
Small sample-size issues aside, we've now got actual pudding through which we can find tangible proofs. The team still seems to stumble a bit in the third and fourth quarters of games, inevitably falling back into old habits of years gone by, but time and experience should work such knots out. General trends are all in the positive, though, so early worries are just that: early. Watching this team grow from an embryonic state into a full-fledged modern machine will be a distinct joy this year.
Just your friendly reminder that his year's Bucks team is a different beast altogether from those of the past 20-30 years. There have been highlights of teams that could take it all the way (2001, anyone?) and lowlights of the worst season in franchise history (dreadful 2013). Those past teams lacked something this year's roster has: A superstar surrounded by complimentary talent.
You will forgive me for buying into the early hype and raising my expectations for this season and the next. Bet on the Bucks taking this year to understand what they are, and returning next year an even leaner threat to the league.
It's common knowledge that, had the franchise been unable to secure a new building, the Bucks’ time in Milwaukee very well could have come to a swift end. With the Fiserv Forum up and running that doomsday scenario has lifted for sunny days and a bright future.
What I find most interesting about the process that went into designing and building the new arena is the number of venues ownership/management visited as inspirations. With a focus on “basketball-specific” facilities, they would visit 20+ venues to understand what works and what doesn't. Indiana's Fieldhouse appears to have been a leading light, and given the number of rave reviews of attendees to Pacers games I feel it's only a matter of time until the same is said of the Forum.
You know your team is making waves if the SB Nation mothership turns her spotlight on you.
Matt Ellentuck is just catching up to the reality we've all been living for the past three months, but better late than never. Winning the East is certainly setting the bar pretty high with the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors looking quite good to start the year. However, if health breaks Milwaukee's way and does the opposite for others, damn near anything is possible.
Don't be like “jojochingo” and reply with a dismissive “Nope. No they can't.” Don't be that guy.
Meet Milwaukee Bucks Rookie Donte DiVincenzo (Milwaukee Magazine)
I, for one, fully embrace Donte DiVincenzo's decisions to purchase a new Jeep with his #NBACash. Gone are they days of being a viral sensation with $4 total to his name between checking and savings. Welcome is the era of Jeep Grand Cherokees, Ragu endorsements, and getting your car filled to the brim with popcorn.
Many people have said Milwaukee is the Delaware of the Midwest, so Donte should feel right at home in our fair city.
Greek Freak taking it up a notch: Giannis Antetokounmpo looking to become more 3-dimensional (Yahoo!)
Giannis made a really good point in this article in regards to previous seasons acting as a playmaker: “Previously, sometimes I feel like when I threw it to a big guy, it didn’t feel right. I trust my teammates, but sometimes you feel … like, if you have John Henson in the corner and Khris on the wing, you have to throw it to Khris. But this year if you have Pat in the corner and Donte on the wing, both passes are right … it’s easy now.”
That’s a long quote, yet I think it is indicative of what the key difference this year will have over previous ones. Giannis will no longer have to do literally everything to drag the team forward. Having reliable teammates in the right spots will make his life easier, thereby reducing heartburn incidence rates across Wisconsin and around the world.
From the Social Media Realm
We've already got the vaunted Dirk social media shoutout:
Brook Lopez is a certified sniper:
Giannis will justifiably draw most of the attention as the Bucks upgrade their offense this year, but an interesting subplot to me is where they position Brook Lopez. During the preseason, he spent a lot of time at the corner. We can see it in his shot chart and the video below. pic.twitter.com/N3x1DcDS62— Positive Residual (@presidual) October 15, 2018
Get your Khris Middleton-themed gifts for the holidays!
Congrats to Christian Wood for making his home debut! Has to feel good for a guy who ground his way to a roster spot:
Wow thanks for the ovation when I checked in the crowd was lit, I’ll continue to work my ass off so I can get on the floor more great first home win !!.. #JustWait— Christian Wood (@Chriswood_5) October 20, 2018
John Henson: Three-point specialist:
The Rook making waves:
Marginal trade updates:
As part of the Meeks trade, the Wizards, in effect, changed protections on the 2020 2nd-rd pick they already owed Milwaukee from a previous trade from top-55 protected to 46-60 protected. If the pick doesn’t go to Bucks in 2020, it becomes a 2022 2nd rounder, per multiple sources— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) October 16, 2018
Be sure to stop in when our own Kyle Carr is dropping post-game takes that'll burn planets to a crisp:
Riley’s 2018-2019 Weekly Prediction Record: 2-0
Listen to me every Monday, believe a Monday later. I went into the season optimistically and the Bucks repaid my faith with two nice wins. A weekend of rest means lots of games to play and lots of games to predict.
Milwaukee's workweek starts tonight at home against the New York Knicks. Then an early-season national TV test arrives with the Philadelphia 76ers in town on Wednesday. Things wrap up with a short jaunt to my neck of the woods to play the Minnesota Timberwolves before the Orlando Magic arrive in Wisconsin Saturday evening.
Nothing would give me more joy than to lay a beat-down on the Philadelphia “might as well be cubic zirconia” 76ers, and the Knicks and Magic are both mired in various states of rebuild. Write me down for a 3-1 week and the Bucks continuing a tradition like no other and losing on the road with me losing my mind in the stands. Can't wait...