Is there any more “off-season-y” activity than going through the upcoming season's schedule and determining wins and losses on a game-by-game basis? I'm not even mocking those who may have done it, because I did it too.
Since we're in the glow of off-season excitement regarding the team's chances, I can't help but convince myself that a hefty number of the season's opening games are winnable. Like my colleague Kyle Carr said in his initial schedule analysis, getting through that first western road trip will be critical. A winning percentage of ~66% by the time a six-game home stand arrives at the end of November would bode well for the Bucks’ season.
Unfortunately, we've got to wait until October for the rubber to hit the road, so let's spend the time between marveling at Giannis Antetokounmpo's date with destiny, national lamentations about the Christmas Day NBA schedule, and my boy Brook Lopez raising expectations.
I admit to not subscribing to the concept called “fate”, but if others find inspiration and self-belief in such a mindset, then more power to them. If “fate” is what drives Giannis Antetokounmpo to become one of basketball's all-time talents while in Milwaukee, then I double-down on my support.
His statement above came in a short interview with EuroHoops, and I can't help but find this statement sobering: “Do you know when there is pressure? When you do not have to eat. That’s pressure.” Godspeed, Giannis.
While many across the NBA landscape may be tut-tutting about the reality that Giannis Antetokounmpo is now the Eastern Conference’s top dog, we can solidly count Brook Lopez as not one of their number.
Brook discussed how Giannis is, “the best player in the East” (emphasis his), fitting into coach Mike Budenholzer’s five-out offensive system, his time spent in India, and the downside of being close to his twin brother Robin Lopez in Chicago and more with Hoops Hype.
Another minor detail you’d maybe miss on first glance? Lopez owns a home in Orlando. I’m not saying Magic assistant GM John Hammond got Brook to Milwaukee, but I’m saying just look into it.
The NBA really blew its Christmas Day schedule this season (Washington Post)
When I saw this headline, I was ready to grease my pitchfork and light my handy-dandy torch. But, upon reading Tim Bontemps’ position, and sighing with relief, he presents some solid points.
First, it should be made clear that he holds no grudge against Milwaukee’s long sought-after inclusion on the NBA’s premier early-season day. The Bucks’ opponents, however, are another matter altogether. Whether the New York Knicks will be a dumpster fire is an open question, but unicorn Kristaps Porzingis probably won’t be back from ACL rehab by Xmas, and the rest of the roster is a bunch of interesting-to-yeesh young players. Milwaukee probably comes away from Madison Square Garden with a W, but creaming the Knicks may not be as enjoyable watch for the rest of the nation.
Other games include the Thunder at Rockets, 76ers at Celtics, Lakers at Warriors, and Blazers at Jazz. I’m not sure if I completely agree with his assertion that those five games are underwhelming; besides the Knicks, every team has post-season aspirations and at least some intriguing storylines to get behind. Omissions like Toronto at San Antonio are pretty glaring, but I’ll withhold full judgement until the complete season schedule is released.
(Note: The above was written prior to the schedule release on Friday. I've yet to change my mind about any of it, though)
Milwaukee Bucks reportedly interested in acquiring Kent Bazemore (Peachtree Hoops)
It seems like coach Mike Budenholzer is still fully committed to transforming the Bucks into the Atlanta Hawks North. First came Ersan Ilyasova, then (FIND GUYS NAME), and now it seems Kent Bazemore is a potential target.
Per Kelly Iko of USA Today’s Rocket beat:
Source: Kent Bazemore’s list of suitors also includes Milwaukee, who recently contacted the Hawks but initial trade talks didn’t get very far. Kent loves Atlanta, but would be open to a move to HOU/MIL since he knows both coaches well and would be joining a contender.— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) August 7, 2018
Bazemore, owed ~$18 million this season and with a $19.3 million player option for 2019-2020, is an intriguing name for a wing rotation as relatively thin as Milwaukee’s. The issue comes up against what exactly the Bucks would have to offer Atlanta to tempt the Hawks. Any deal would undoubtedly need to include the likes of either John Henson or Matthew Dellavedova for matching purposes, but Milwaukee lacks substantial sweeteners that the front office would be willing to part with.
A trade probably isn’t imminent given the ambiguous language used in putting Milwaukee’s name into the ether, but the possibility is one to keep in the back of your mind as the season progresses.
This pop-quiz was easy: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Duh, ESPN.
Per the “Worldwide Leader”, Giannis received “19 points” and zero first-place votes from a supposed expert panel in predicting this year's likely MVP race. You could certainly make the case for guys like Anthony Davis, James Harden, or Kevin Durant, though I do take issue with crowning LeBron James #1 given the, uh, “talent” on the Lakers roster which surely won't hold them back from a 45-win season.
Sleep on Giannis at your own peril, world.
From the Social Media Realm
Get your Pat Connaughton official team jersey before they're gone!
Giannis getting into the holiday spirit:
Malcolm Brogdon busy doing good guy things in Malaysia:
Happy to see 2K continues to make Giannis a literal noodle person:
“Bucks co-owner seen directly meddling with coaching staff decisions”:
Thon Maker continues to wear gold-flaked sneakers:
This entire video feels like an oddly-edited criminal investigation action flick from the 80’s:
Another off-season Monday, another week bereft of things worth giving a prediction about. I plan on keeping a running tally this upcoming season on just how well I do prognosticating Milwaukee's week-to-week record, if only to prove my superior foresight. Otherwise, I anticipate us getting no fewer than two tweets this week showing off Giannis' lats.
A final note: I've noticed in the past couple of weeks that some readers have taken offense to my bashing of baseball and/or football. In order to be fair, I'll have you all know the other sports I even tangentially follow are soccer (go Houston Dynamo!) and MMA. Have at it haters.