A very large part of me wanted to sit down and write a requiem in honor of our fallen broadcasting brethren, Gus Johnson and Telly Hughes. The former I didn't mind nearly as much as other fans did, though I completely understood those who didn't find his approach to calling a local broadcast like any other ho-hum NCAA tournament game endearing. Regarding Telly, it is a shame he was let go since he seemed like a nice guy and has been a fixture of broadcasts for many years. I can't claim to remember him ever having broken a story bigger than “the Bucks need to focus on playing better defense,” but his job was limited in nature and he did it as competently as asked for. Hopefully he lands on his feet elsewhere sooner rather than later.
I'm not very torn up, though; less Gus theoretically means more Marques Johnson, and more Marques Johnson is never a bad thing in my humble opinion.
Local broadcasting workplace structure aside, now seems as fine a time as any to see what other stories might be sucking up the precious NBA off-season air. We've got Eastern Conference All-Star discussions, a bit of winners & losers, over/unders and Giannis dunk targets.
The athletic brain drain going on between the Eastern and Western Conferences has been a much-discussed topic for what feels like roughly forever. This past offseason didn't help matters much with LeBron “King” James making the move from Cleveland to Los Angeles, and now it will undoubtedly be up to Giannis Antetokounmpo to captain the East All-Star team.
Question is, who will suit up alongside Giannis?
Color me skeptical regarding guys like Kawhi Leonard and Gordon Hayward being automatic locks due to unclear paths returning from injury, and imagine the shock and horror on my face when Mr. Uggetti claimed it “not a far-fetched proposition” that five Boston Celtics could be on the team. Sure, that same feat happening for the Atlanta Hawks a few years ago was cute, but another team taking up 1⁄3 of a conference's All-Star slots would be a travesty.
Besides, what's to stop Giannis, Khris, Eric, er, Tony, and errrrrrrr Thon/Brook from having All-Star worthy seasons? This is the storyline remaining sight unseen.
Over/unders aren't exactly the most empirical way to predict a season's outcome, but bookmakers in Vegas don't simply pluck a value from the sky, either.
Milwaukee's 46.5 mark would leave them with the fifth seed behind the dominant Atlantic Division trio of Toronto, Boston, and Philadelphia and also the Indiana Pacers. That seems at least plausible, and your takes may vary whether the Bucks are destined once more to underwhelm their way to a seven seed or, God help us, a place atop the Eastern Conference.
I'll get into it later, but... is that latter possibility really all that unrealistic if most things break right for Milwaukee?
Winners and losers from the Eastern Conference’s offseason (Washington Post)
Quibbling with the team evaluations here by Tim Bontemps requires defining what, exactly, you're looking at when determining what splits a lean win to a lean loss. If I was asked if the Bucks became a better team since the season ended in June, is any answer other than a solid yes forthcoming?
Bontemps’ rationale that self-imposed restrictions on 2019 cap space are a road-block to true dominance, but even that can be solved with the right deal (a Malcolm Brogdon-sweetened trade, perhaps?)
Anyways, mentioning the Detroit Pistons as a slight winner made this entire article null and void in my eyes. There aren't many less-menacing big threes in the league than whatever Blake Griffin is now, Andre “Rebound” Drummond and the injured husk of Reggie Jackson.
With Telly Hughes officially on the outs the Bucks moved fast to unveil his replacement: Louisville, Kentucky native Katie George.
From the very light research I've done on her time working the sports desk at a local TV news station in Louisville, I appreciate that she's had experience talking about difficult topics roiling the athletic program at the University of Louisville (doubly so with her having played volleyball there as a student). She's also great with four foot tall video-bombers:
Motherhood should not be a concern of mine for quite sometime. pic.twitter.com/RO3rAgSxcn— Katie George (@Katie_George05) October 13, 2017
As long as she doesn't stutter asking the players “what they need to do in the second half”, I'm happy with the hire.
Op-Ed: Herb Kohl — New arena brings out the best in our city (Milwaukee Business Journal)
WARNING: Paywall on this one. It seemed right to post this here, in case anyone with a subscription missed it.
I'm sure Herb had nice things to say about how great a chance the new arena will have to revitalize Milwaukee physically and culturally and also how the ownership style of Edens, Lasry, Dinan et al. doesn't differ much from his own.
Missed opportunity by Alex Boeder to simply write Aron Baynes 82 separate times.
From the Social Media Realm
The description for this video made it sound a lot cooler than it ended up being:
Two things: 1) Hopefully Greeks everywhere aren't sweating the fact that he's not rocking a Hellas team kit 2) Giannis, I know “neutral” tones are hot in interior design right now, but that doesn't mean EVERYTHING has to be grey:
Welcome aboard, Katie!
In moving forward, I’m happy to announce I’ll be joining the Milwaukee @bucks as their new sideline/digital reporter. With the opening of the new state-of-the-art Fiserv Forum and the return of a star-studded roster it’s definitely an exciting time to join this NBA franchise.— Katie George (@Katie_George05) August 17, 2018
And so long, Telly:
bucks fans right now like pic.twitter.com/EAgf3DbI1I— Justin's Secret Bucks Memes (@justinsuperbuck) August 17, 2018
The fact that this gimmick somehow worked out will never not be funny to me:
Here's a beige alternate jersey concept just because I wanted to put it here:
As is tradition, I close this week with a Giannis dunk compilation video (courtesy of YouTuber ‘DownToBuck’...):
The final topic I want to touch upon is the battle that is shaping up for the 15th roster spot heading into training camp. Tyler Zeller is the odds-on favorite thanks to sunk-cost fallacy and also relative ability as a catch-all center fill-in. You can't discount the possibility that Shabazz Muhammad (decent scoring wing who somehow plays well next to Giannis), Christian Wood (another interior option who impressed with his offensive aggression in Summer League and clearly caught the eye of the coaching staff), or even long-shots like Travis Trice and Jordan Barnett may lay a claim if things go right for them in camp.
Such an approach to the extreme margins of a roster is the right small-step strategy that, while minor in scope, signal continuing positive change in the team's management. Sure, the Bucks gave this a try last year with Gerald Green, Joel Anthony, James Young, and others - ending up with 480 agonizing minutes from probable Jason Kidd protege DeAndre Liggins - but I implore you to hold the faith on the tag-team of Mike Budenholzer and Jon Horst (unchained). Being 15th on a roster is theoretically a place reserved for those who won't see the court unless extreme conditions apply. An 82-game season will never feature smooth sailing so getting the training camp battle right may be the difference between salvageable crises and holes that not even an Antetokounmpo can climb out of.
Just a little drama for the start of your weeks.