Ah, All-Star weekend: the NBA's marquee event where the sport's stars gather to take part in an exhibition game while fans lament just how boring All-Star weekend has become. For Bucks fans these past two seasons, we've been able to put aside grievances about the non-competitive nature of the All-Star Game thanks to the presence of on Giannis Antetokounmpo - human highlight reel.
In his first All-Star appearance, Giannis burst onto the national consciousness with a combination of playing maybe a bit too seriously and the dunk gif to end all dunk gifs:
Last night, he followed up in his second All-Star Game by going out and putting together yet another lengthy series of highlights for your enjoyment this morning:
I greet annual “Giannis did WHAT at the All-Star Game?” incredulity with open arms.
Exploring the Bucks’ defensive improvement (Nylon Calculus)
There are a lot of interesting defensive metrics in here that try to get to the heart of what has changed defensively for the Milwaukee Bucks since the firing of Jason Kidd, but no clear-cut explanation comes through.
Milwaukee has benefited from an unusual cold streak on opponent threes, are fouling less and allowing fewer free throws per 100 possessions, and the type of shots given up are less and less corner threes. However, besides a propensity for a bit more switching, the scheme for the Bucks hasn't radically changed since Joe Prunty took over as head coach.
We'll have to wait and see if the better defensive trend over the past few weeks holds, or if we'll see more Denver Nuggets-lite performances from opposing offenses heading forward.
Giannis: “Threes can be the ace up my sleeve” (Eurohoops)
Yes, Giannis, embrace your jumpshot. Embrace the three pointer and fulfill your destiny in becoming the greatest all-around player to have ever suited up in a Bucks jersey (sorry, Kareem).
Giannis had a chance to chat with the folks over at Eurohoops while they were in Milwaukee, and he discussed the year that was for him, where he's at with the development of his on-court game (fingers crossed on the threes), and more.
Trust me when I say that reading this piece is a must. I've been curious about the relative quiet of Jabari in his second stint rehabbing a torn ACL, and it wasn't just my imagination at play. From the tone in this Bleacher Report interview, it is difficult to discern where he's at regarding his present life and what the future may hold.
He's only just come back from the injury, and so only recently reentered our attention spans, but it'll be worthwhile keeping track of Jabari as he continues his quiet return to the court.
Bucks are eager to get ahead of the game with analytics (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
My main question about analytics in today's NBA is in which directions it may innovate in the future, offering first-movers a three or four season window to take advantage of a quirk teams on the leading-edge of the numbers game notice before the rest of the league does.
In summary: When everyone has the “world's best analytics” department, how will teams differentiate themselves? Is it necessary to stand-out if your system means you make consistently great personnel choices? Are the Bucks equipped with the right staff and tools to make that leap?
I must lament the fact that I do not have a personal Giannis Antetokounmpo story, though it warms my heart to know that so many in Milwaukee do. Hell, the sheer number of people I know on Facebook with profile pictures feat. Giannis is indicative of the type of person Giannis is.
Now we just have to eagerly await for stories of Antetokounmpo assisting changing lightbulbs and helping grandmothers cross busy streets for him to solidify his place as “Milwaukee's Best Citizen”.
Xavier Munford has had an odd season: Finished a season playing abroad in Spain for FC Barcelona, traded from the Greensboro Swarm to the Wisconsin Herd, an integral part of Team USA's gold medal run at the AmeriCup games, and now a two-way player with the Milwaukee Bucks.
He's gotten spot minutes here or there due to injuries to Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova, but seemingly hasn't stood out enough in practice to garner real burn for the Bucks. I can't imagine he has much time left on his two-way to spend with Milwaukee, so enjoy the Munford ride for however long it lasts, Bucks fans.
Milwaukee Bucks are now worth $1 billion-plus: Forbes (Milwaukee Business Journal)
Not a half-bad investment, if I do say so myself.
Milwaukee's value increase was matched league-wide by an average uptick in franchise value of 22% from 2017 to 2018. Between the opening of a new arena, the start of the NBA's newest $24 billion broadcast deal, and an international star probably set to stay in Milwaukee for years to come, don't be surprised if the Bucks’ value continues to skyrocket.
From the Social Media Realm
In case you hadn't heard the good word already:
Matthew Dellavedova threw down the gauntlet, only for Marshall Plumlee to answer the call:
**CONTEST ALERT - DELLY'S CHIN UP CHALLENGE** Post your fiercest chin up video (including your favourite workout song) with the hashtag #Dellyschinupchallenge and tag @MatthewDelly for the chance to win a signed pair of game worn Delly 1s. Entries will be accepted through Saturday, Feb 17 at 10am EST USA. I'll pick my favourite and announce the winner that same day. And don't forget to tag your mates to enter! Let's see what you got!
There are a surprising number of gym videos where John Henson is clowning in the background:
It looks like someone yelled at Giannis to “be cool” before snapping this pic:
And finally, a happy belated Valentine's Day from all of us at Brew Hoop to you:
Now comes the hard part for the Milwaukee Bucks. After easing their way to a 9-3 record under Joe Prunty against relatively weak competition, the Bucks face a challenging schedule coming out of the All-Star Break.
This week features only two games, but neither opponent is an easy out: Milwaukee returns to play Friday in Toronto to play the top-seeded Raptors, and then they finish the week at home Sunday against the New Orleans Pelicans. I don't have a ton of faith that they'll prevail in either scenario, but a home victory over the Pelicans while Anthony Davis puts up a 60/20/10 stat line would be a nice way to kick-off the ceremonial second half of the regular season.
Until then, the Break is still on, and we’ve got plenty of content coming your way this week here at Brew Hoop. Stay tuned as we reflect on the season so far, set the Eastern Conference playoff table, marvel at memorable Giannis dunks, and much more!