Is it just me, or does 2018 feel a lot like 2010? Ersan Ilyasova is back in Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings is maybe set to stick around, I'm eagerly awaiting the news that Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is set for a four-year, $40 million contract, and that Carlos Delfino nabbed a two-way contract.
John Hammond may be gone, but it looks like his protegé Jon Horst is more than happy to pick up where he left off. There's an old proverb that goes something like, “If it wasn't able to win a first-round series nearly a decade ago, try building that roster a second time to see if it'll work now.” I'd like to imagine Horst has that saying in calligraphy on his office wall.
But, as we wait with bated breath to see which late-2000s Buck is returning to Milwaukee next, there was plenty else going on around the team. The new arena is just about set to open, the coaching staff is gaining a new member, and we've got some Greek national team news.
A city divided: Bucks see new arena as downtown melting pot (Chicago Tribune)
While I'm appreciative of how forward the Bucks have been as an organization on a variety of social issues in the city of Milwaukee, it remains to be seen if they're able to put those efforts into overdrive now that they have a new home and a guaranteed future in the city.
Maybe that change continues with the aforementioned new arena. Team President Peter Feigin is touting it as a possible “meeting point” for residents of all backgrounds throughout the city and surrounding area. Color me somewhat skeptical thinking that the price of admission will be low enough to allow community members across the income spectrum to come together, but at least the team seems to have their hearts in the right place.
BayHawks Coach Josh Longstaff to Join Milwaukee Bucks’ Staff (Ridiculous Upside) & ATLand29 Josh Longstaff Interview (ATLand29)
A moment of silence, please, for the departure of assistant coach and noted Giannis-Antetokoumnpo-whisperer Sean Sweeney...
Thank goodness that nightmare scenario of a vestige of the Jason Kidd era sticking around is over.
It didn't take coach Mike Budenholzer long to find a replacement on the bench for Sweeney, and he's now got his guy in Josh Longstaff, head coach of the Erie BayHawks (The G-League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks).
I'd go into Longstaff's extensive basketball history, including his stints helping in player development for the New York Knicks, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the US Men’s National Team, but I'll leave that up to him: Below, you'll find an extensive interview former Bucks basketblogger-turned-Hawks-basketblogger KL Chouinard on his “ATLand29” podcast.
Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo breakdown (Hoops Habit)
We're now a week-plus removed from the selection of Donte DiVincenzo by the Bucks in the 2018 Draft, and the breakdowns are still coming in.
Most of them seem to be hitting a few major themes: He's a good-to-okay shooter from distance, he's got sneaky athleticism (ha ha), projects to hopefully hold his own on defense, and qualifies as a “winner”. I've got nothing else to add on this front other than to say I eagerly look forward to the start of Summer League in less than a week.
The inevitable DiVincenzo-to-DJ Wilson alley-oop will surely be tantalizing.
If you have any reservations about whether Donte flew up draft boards thanks to his semi-starring role at Villanova, the New York Times is here to tell you: Don't worry.
According to researchers from Harvard and Columbia, over the period stretching from 1997-2010, players who saw their draft stock rise after a deep tournament run generally went on to have productive pro careers.
I won't get too into the details, but it is an interesting conclusion. There's probably a multitude of factors that go into what makes a college player a successful pro beyond being on a championship-contending team, but if there isn't, maybe the Bucks truly did snag the steal of the draft in DiVincenzo.
A final note for all of you wondering what Giannis’ plans are for the rest of the summer (besides eating Funyans, of course). It looks like the Greek national team anticipates his joining them in September for the second round of FIBA World Cup qualifying games.
Here's hoping there isn't a second questionable situation resulting in a possible falling out between Giannis, the Bucks, the Greeks, and the rest of the world.
From the Social Media Realm
The odds of Michael Carter-Williams winning a championship before the Bucks sniff the second-round of the playoffs just skyrocketed:
Houston Rockets officials have a meeting set up today with Michael Carter-Williams, league sources say.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 1, 2018
George Clooney as eventual Bucks majority owner confirmed:
George Clooney’s @Casamigos, which sold to Diageo this week last year in a deal that valued brand at $1B, is the new Official Ultra-Premium Tequila partner of the Milwaukee @Bucks and their new arena @WisconsinESC, which will have grand opening Aug. 26. pic.twitter.com/buDbjlthYW— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 29, 2018
This one is for all you fear-mongerers out there:
Milwaukee's Summer League team is set to be STACKED:
Glad to see the Bucks are (finally) taking closer look at Christian Wood. Still an intriguing talent, absolute G-League stud: 23-10-2b. NBA athleticism, crashes boards, puts ball on floor (decent euro), improving outside shot. Question is keeping him engaged. Worth two-way deal. https://t.co/oviusUdrAl— Tim Wray (@TRW24) June 28, 2018
I have no idea how Donte plans on playing lateral defense in the NBA. He looks a little too wide in the hips for my tastes:
Finally, a reminder that while David Gruber is happy to fix all your lawyer problems with one call, he isn't afraid to nail a jumper in your eye:
Woah! Never knew David Gruber played D1 ball at Delaware: https://t.co/ZGCP9ewj9K— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) June 27, 2018
Well, now all we can do is wait around and see what happens with Jabari Parker and whether or not Charlie Bell is willing to come out of retirement for one more go at things.
With all of the maneuvering going on with Brandon Jennings’s guarantee date yesterday, don't be surprised to see the Bucks put together some sort of trade deal that will have Jennings thrown in as salary filler. Could that mean Jabari Parker is on his way out? Will the Bucks be able to get off an albatross contract like Matthew Dellavedova's without a ton of pain?
Stay tuned and find out.