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Monday Morning Media Roundup: November 19th, 2018

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The “Fainting Goats and Taking Charges” Edition

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

You know, the Bucks had me worried there for a second. All that “blowing teams out by 15-20” on a regular basis almost convinced me that these Bucks are something altogether apart from previous iterations. In the past, a dominating victory devoid of drama would be a treat reserved for every 25th game of the season. Now, they're almost routine; a disturbing development for fans more accustomed to the up-and-down ways of old.

Thankfully, the Bucks proved that they can let opponents get giant leads like the best of them after allowing the Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls to run up nearly insurmountable double-digit scoring differentials. That forced Milwaukee to claw their way back into things (leading to one disappointing loss and another exhilarating win). Those kinds of games aren't good for the heart, but they impart a comfort all their own that these Bucks have much in common with the Bucks of old.

All that being said, Milwaukee still stands at 11-4 with nearly 20% of the season gone. As always there is plenty left to be fixed (pick and pop bigs, anyone?) and optimism waiting to be tempered, and this week's articles reflect that sense. We'll talk defense, we'll talk fainting goats, and we'll talk Ersan.

Let's roundup!


The Milwaukee Bucks Have a Top Defense. They Need to Change It. (VICE Sports)

The thing I get caught up on about concerns with the defense is skepticism about how much change coach Mike Budenholzer will implement in-season. When you win 11 of your first 15 there isn't much impetus to conduct major shifts in tactics.

Still, it is somewhat alarming how quickly pretty much everyone has diagnosed what it is that breaks Milwaukee's defense: Pick and pop bigs or solid pull-up shooters. That's troublesome given the era of, uh, everyone-can-shoot basketball we're living through.

For the moment, anticipate lots of gritting your teeth against certain opponents, appeals to Bud's sensibilities, and hopes that it doesn't all come crashing down come playoff time.

Are Giannis and the Bucks already NBA title contenders? (ESPN+)

Warning: One must have an ESPN+ subscription to access this sweet sweet content, and I must lament that I do not possess just such a thing.

Figured I'd toss this in here for all those subscribers out there, and to note that title contention buzz is already in the air, if a bit prematurely. To make a surely long article short, yes, the Bucks are already title contenders. Deal with it, rest of the NBA.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Fainting Goat Strategy (Def Pen)

It wouldn't be another week in Bucks fandom without contemplating Giannis Antetokounmpo's turnovers-by-offensive-fouls that feel far too frequent.

Calls going against Giannis come in part due to his style of play. Namely, charging headlong into a defender who keeps his distance before planting his feet and taking an Antetokounmpo shoulder right in the chest. You learn to live with those possessions because Giannis is simply that great, but what if those calls against Giannis are more a function of defenses utilizing nascent thespian skills?

Yes, there may be a league-wide conspiracy that defenses having essentially given up hope of stopping Giannis, so they're resorting to just... falling over as quickly as possible? Here's hoping refs begin to take notice and give Antetokounmpo the friendly whistle we all know he deserves.

The NBA’s next big cash grab: Taking over your downtown (ESPN)

This is more a league-wide topic, but it is of particular interest to Bucks owners LED. That triumvirate has made plenty of bones in the world of hedge funds and investing, and their plans to erect an entertainment district around the Fiserv Forum have been public since nearly day one.

With team income diversifying it becomes necessary for owners to buy up and turn a profit on all the land around their stadiums. Interestingly, according to federal zoning the Forum sits just a block away from an “opportunity zone” where private investors can place their money while avoiding the need to pay capital gains taxes and the likes after 10 years. Just such investments would make plenty of sense for billionaires who own an arena with an operational life of roughly 30 years.

There's plenty we could dive into on this, so keep an eye out as further development of the “Wisconsin Entertainment District” continues.

Yes, Ersan has drawn more offensive fouls than anyone in the past 10 years (Bucks.com)

Just simple confirmation of a fact that we were already aware of: Ersan Ilyasova is the greatest charge-taker in NBA history.

Not only that, but he's seemed to have proven at least nominally worth the roughly $7 million he's making this season and next. In 22.0 MPG he's averaging 7.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists (alongside .489/.359/.810 shooting splits). Those numbers don't flash at you, but he's also reached a career high in TS% (.602), helps marginally increase the team's offensive rating (112.9 on v. 112.6 off) and hasn't been a sieve on defense.

There is always the worry that the end could be nigh for Ilyasova as he continues through his 11th NBA season, but for now everything is coming up Ers for Milwaukee.

The Social Media Section

Luka Doncic - The fourth piece Milwaukee didn't know it needed:

The latest in obscure lineup data you'd have never guessed:

Brrrrrrr...

Cleveland is the Milwaukee of Lake Erie and Charlotte the Milwaukee of the Carolinas. Many people have said this:

Poor Moritz...

Sigh...

And so the proverbial hatchet was buried:


Riley’s 2018-2019 Weekly Prediction Record: 7-8

You bet on the Bucks continuing their undefeated streak at home and this is how they repay you: By dropping one to the visiting Grizzlies and giving everyone a minor heart attack against the Bulls.

My once solid strategy of picking Milwaukee in every home matchup is now irrevocably shattered. That's a shame because this whole week will be spent in the Fiserv Forum!

It's a reverse West Coast trip with all four opponents hailing from the Worst Conference. Tonight kicks things off with the Denver Nuggets, continues Wednesday against the Trail Blazers, and closes with a back-to-back v. the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs.

I'm hoping the funk of last week has worn off and that the Bucks are ready to return to their wholesome winning ways. A 3-1 stretch feels about right with wins coming over the Blazers, Suns, and Spurs while the loss will come at the hands of a Nuggets team who will get revenge for their earlier loss to the Bucks.

Happy Monday!