As I write to you this morning, I can't help but feel a lot like Will Ferrell's character in “Taladega Knights”: I simply don't know what to do with my hands.
I've vacillated as much as anyone about Milwaukee's prospects for this first year under coach Mike Budenholzer, but who among us could have predicted a 6-0 start? It isn't just some perfect record, either; the Bucks are routinely dispatching opponents with a scheme that robs them of their will to compete. Where the Bucks once had to bump and grind their way to a painful 95 points, they're now freely flowing to 115-120 with ease.
The early successes of the new regime will serve to better illuminate the crimes of the old, but winning cures all ills, and with time I believe it'll wash the bad taste of the past few seasons right out of our mouths. Now the going is about to get a whole bunch tougher, but if this year's Milwaukee Bucks have proven themselves to be anything it is resilient.
I don't feel a need to go too deep on this beyond the cursory update, and perhaps this will be the last of it as the team collectively moves on from a worrying moment during the game v. the Orlando Magic.
A few days removed from the incident, I'd hope that the medical staff has checked him up and down while running whatever bevy of tests they need to in order to feel comfortable. If Giannis isn't 100% heading into this week he should feel no pressure at all to rush back into things. The season is long, and odds are the Bucks will topple the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics with ease even if Giannis isn't ready to go.
Bucks’ new 3-point-heavy offense makes them legitimate challengers to Celtics, Raptors in Eastern Conference (CBS Sports)
With as shocking an arrival as the Bucks have had to start the year, there's been a relatively muted response from some of the major media outlets. Perhaps its a matter of “once bitten twice shy” and a desire to wait for the Bucks to “prove” themselves. Maybe ESPN is getting out a map of the US now to figure out where the hell a “Milwaukee” is. Standing head and shoulders above the competition is CBS.
Reid Forgrave gave a little spotlight to the Bucks and just how ridiculous their early-season statistical profile looks. The numbers have been gone over ad nauseum, but get ready to see things like “41.8 3-point attempts” and “39.8% of points from three” with increasing regularity if the Bucks of now are also the Bucks of the future.
Hats off to you, CBS, for stumbling upon what many here already knew: An overwhelming force is growing out of its embryonic state right before our eyes.
Five Takeaways From the NBA’s Opening Week (The Ringer)
If you're looking for Bucks-only content, you'll have to scroll down about three-quarters of the way to find the subsection properly titled “The Bucks Have Found Their Guiding Light”.
Kevin O’Connor's bit of analysis is interesting, especially his highlighting that (despite shot chart similarity) Milwaukee is playing a very different style of ball than the three-and-post-happy Houston Rockets. Part of that has to do with Giannis’ unique talents, but a larger portion is direction from the top down emphasizing ball movement and off-ball action to heighten chances that a possession ends with either an open three or a relatively easy shot attempt around the rim. Not only does it make for effective basketball - it is also flat-out fun to watch.
Bucks Podcast: They’re going to go undefeated, right? Maybe not, but so far, so good. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Just wanted to throw this out there because, like the rising and setting of the sun, another week has passed and a new Bucks-centric podcast has come back to life. The “Milwaukee Bucks Podcast” is run through MJS and regularly features the paper's beat reporter Matt Velazquez.
Matthew Dellavedova should start over Eric Bledsoe (Sir Charles in Charge)
Delly is a hell of a drug, kids.
The Social Media Section
The Packers may have taken the L, but Bucks co-owner Aaron Rodgers made sure to get the W with his pre-game attire:
John Henson - Signature Sneaker Salesman:
I always knew Mr. Obama was a Bucks fan deep down beneath that Chicago Bulls veneer:
Fellow Brew Hooper and Kool-Aid enthusiast Kyle Carr tracked me down in the Target Center last week so I could flop on my first crack at live-streaming:
Donte DiVincenzo continues to get plenty of national TV airtime:
Be sure to tune in tonight to watch Ersan Ilyasova and his Milwaukee Bucks take on Greg Monroe's Toronto Raptors:
RIP the rest of the league:
Riley’s 2018-2019 Weekly Prediction Record: 5-1
It was bound to happen, though I'd hope I could get past at least two weeks before I stumbled: I projected the Bucks would lost against the Minnesota Timberwolves - a team they decidedly did not lose to. So, my perfect record is now extinct.
This week could go a long way to shaping the early-season narrative that will trail the Bucks. Are they for-real challengers for the tippy-top of the East? Or are they a paper tiger that falls to pieces against stiff competition?
Things start tonight with a clash of the only two undefeated teams in the league (!!!) with a visit by the Toronto Raptors. Then the team hits the road for a Thursday visit with the Boston Celtics. Finally, after surviving the who's who of the East the week closes at home in a Sunday afternoon game against the lively Sacramento Kings.
With Boston a bit slow out of the gates, I'm relatively confident of wins against the Celtics and Kings. Unfortunately, tonight feels like a trap-game where the Bucks are “exposed” (emphasis on the quotation marks) as a lesser squad to a Raptors team basking in the limelight.
Here's hoping I come back next Monday at 7-2 and the Bucks, inexplicably, head into the fourth week of the season at 9-0.