I can hardly believe it, but we're less than two weeks away from the open of Bucks training camp on September 25th. The NBA offseason can drag on, especially when you start to get into late July and August, but it feels like we've paid our proper dues and can finally rev back up for the return of competitive basketball.
With Bucks far and wide returning to Milwaukee soon, it is as good a time as any to tap into a couple of season previews, Sports Illustrated's top 100 player list, and, you guessed it, extensive (summer) Ersan Ilyasova highlights.
Top 100 NBA Players of 2019 (Sports Illustrated)
This whole list is worth reading because we're A) Stuck in the middle of September and B) Need ever more fodder to use in ongoing offseason player evaluation debates. Milwaukee comes into the list with four Bucks making the cut:
- Brook Lopez - 99
- Eric Bledsoe - 53
- Khris Middleton - 28
- Giannis Antetokounmpo - 6
I'm... actually not that upset by any of the rankings. The only thing I'd quibble with would be the possible inclusion of the likes of Malcolm Brogdon, but I get why he didn't make it.
In order to crack the top five, Giannis would have to leap over LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, James Harden, and Anthony Davis. You'd be hard-pressed to dethrone any of those guys in favor of Antetokounmpo, especially in a raw “who is the best player” argument. But, given his meteoric rise since coming into the league, it won't be long until he's atop the list.
Connaughton eager for new opportunity in Milwaukee (The Eagle-Tribune)
Who doesn't love a little extra Pat Connaughton content?
Pat, who has been spotted all around town working out with the team, hosting backpack handouts in South Bend, Indiana, and, uh, wearing Portland t-shirts, could be either an oft relied-upon contributor or a regular feature on the bench.
Now that he's experienced cold rejection in his initial stint in free agency, perhaps Connaughton will come in ready to take a role in the rotation. That, or discuss trends in hair styles with DJ Wilson.
30 Teams in 30 Days: Milwaukee Bucks enter new arena with ingredients to contend in East (NBA.com) & Milwaukee Bucks 2018-19 NBA Season Preview (Basketball Insiders)
We've officially reached “NBA season preview” season, and we've got two generally upbeat outlooks on the season that is to be.
Of course, as much as we'd like you to believe that any of us on the outside looking in have a clue in predicting in how well any team will do, it's mostly just a crap-shoot with some hints at the margins of what could be. Doesn't mean getting a taste of what the national mindset about your team is heading into the year isn't helpful, though.
Players from around the world travel to Oshkosh for a chance to play with the Wisconsin Herd (Oshkosh Northwestern)
The only notable player to have gone from local G-League tryout to actual NBA production (that I know of) is Jonathon Simmons of the Orlando Magic. Simmons rose through the San Antonio Spurs’ system and played so well he earned himself a life-changing contract with Orlando.
It's a long-shot to think that any of the 50 players who attended open workouts with the Herd in Oshkosh could replicate that success-story, but I do find the sheer possibility intriguing. Now we just have to wait for a Brew Hooper to give it a try and join the Herd.
I wasn't even aware that the partnership between the Bucks and WTMJ was up for renewal, but it only makes sense for the state’s pro basketball team to remain on the same network as the Packers and Brewers.
What is notable about this deal? The creation of a “Bucks Weekly Show” that will run for an hour each week. If you would have told me even five years ago that there'd be enough interest in the team to justify WTMJ putting together that kind of program, I'd have called you nuts.
Central Division Offseason Review (RealGM Radio - Podcast)
A discussion from a few weeks ago that could be useful if you're looking to burn up an hour of your time. Danny LeRoux and guests Nate Duncan and Dan Feldman get together to break down the offseason that was for the Central Division, offer analysis on acquisitions and departures for each team, and predict the division standings for the 2018-19 season.
A teaser for you: One analyst went so far as to predict that Donte “Big Ragu” DiVincenzo will end up the best rookie in the Central this year. That take has my skin burning from the heat.
From the Social Media Realm
Did someone say... ERSAN ILYASOVA FIBA QUALIFIER HIGHLIGHTS?!?!
Since we're on the topic, let's look in on John Henson's probable body transforma...
Congrats to Jim Paschke!
I know the league is obsessed with the Small Ball Revolution, but Kevin Hart as a rotational PG seems a bit extreme...
This tweet had me dying of laughter. Poor Delly...
Delly looks like a fan that Giannis and Khris brought with them https://t.co/hGvUCmpSZR— Rohan Katti (@rkattijr) September 16, 2018
It goes without saying that the one thing worth spending any amount of brainpower prognosticating about is the number of pictures of #JackedGiannis we'll get before and, importantly, during training camp. Right now it feels like the over/under should sit at 3.5, and I'm really on the fence. He's probably good for one more dramatic pose on his personal Instagram account in the next week, and the wildcard will be all the action shots of him in practice. Put me down for the under, but with extreme reluctance about my decision.
Otherwise, here's hoping the weather is cool wherever you are, that your fantasy football team isn't completely in the tank two weeks into the season and that Ersan forever splashes every step-back jumper he takes.