I always wondered how Julius Caesar felt on the floor of the Roman Senate as he came to an untimely end at the hands of supposed supporters. Now, with the news that Thon Maker has requested a trade away from Milwaukee, I think we all can roughly approximate the shock behind the apocryphal phrase, “et tu, Brute?”
One can’t particularly blame Thon: NBA players trying to carve a place for themselves in the league need minutes to do so, and Thon has been unable to find minutes. Unfortunately, the issue isn’t a lack of play because the coach dislikes him, or the team feels obligated to play higher-earners before a guy on a rookie deal. The problem stems from the fact that Maker has struggled to show any consistent production when given minutes. When you’re competing for a championship the margins are so extremely thin, thus coach Bud and the Bucks can’t afford to simply feed game time to him for the sake of it.
It’s up to GM Jon Horst to thread the needle on the first visible crack in the team’s internal foundation. Your guess is as good as mine regarding Thon’s value to rebuilding teams, but his desire for a regular rotation spot could put a strain on finding a suitable partner. All that said, the Bucks have a little over a week and a half until the Feb. 7th trade deadline to resolve the situation. Let’s see if Horst can work his magic one more time.
First it was Sports Illustrated, now it’s ESPN giving Eric Bledsoe the in-depth treatment.
This time around Malika Andrews puts a spotlight on the aftermath of the infamous series against Boston a year ago and all the ways Bledsoe has responded to the perceived disappointment. Many of the changes he’s undergone are in areas we all see: Better shot selection, utilizing his body to shut individual opponents down, and pairing well with Giannis Antetokounmpo offensively.
You’ll always have to wonder how much of his production is sustainable over the life of his next contract v. typical “contract year” stat jumps. For now, I’ll settle for his rising to the occasion in the playoffs instead of wilting in the glare of the moment.
It’s time for everybody’s favorite game-show: WHO. IS. THE. SECOND. OPTION?!?!?!
I shan't dare wade into these murky waters, though I’d like to throw out the innocuous suggestion that both Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton have had moments of really good basketball without cementing themselves as a traditional #2 to Giannis.
If you’re forced to pick an All-Star between the two the case for Bledsoe seems a bit stronger given his relative consistency and hard-to-quantify play on defense. Still, Middleton’s averages are roughly in-line with his career-highs, so there’s an argument to be made in his favor as well.
For Milwaukee Bucks players, assignments with Wisconsin Herd bring NBA success (Oshkosh Northwestern)
In just their second year of existence it appears the G-League’s Wisconsin Herd have rapidly moved from “minor league tool with unknown potential” to “full-blown proving ground” for Milwaukee’s younger players.
DJ Wilson, Sterling Brown, Donte DiVincenzo, and Christian Wood have all spent varying amounts of time in Oshkosh with equally varied levels of success (take Wood’s 40 point, 20 rebound outing last night for example).
With those increased appearances comes increased interconnections between the Bucks and Herd. Leading that charge is assistant coach Vin Baker who, having read through the article, emerges as the point guy literally alongside assigned players as they move back and forth from Milwaukee and Oshkosh. Not only does he join them on their drive, but he provides instant feedback after each game and upon the return of players to the Bucks. That helps keep the guys focused on making the most of their assignment instead of brooding over perceived “demotions”, and with the emergence of DJ Wilson and Sterling Brown it’s safe to say the Herd are moving in the right direction.
How Aaron Rodgers bought into the Milwaukee Bucks ... and what’s his future in franchise ownership? (Packers News)
A little Packers cross-over to close out the article portion this week, and even better, this one doubles as a team owner feature!
Aaron Rodgers’s stake as a minority owner of the Milwaukee Bucks was much ballyhooed when announced at the end of last season. For all intents and purposes, though it’s a low-risk investment that allows the QB to familiarize himself with sports business while allowing the Bucks to flaunt a unique relationship with one of the biggest stars in Wisconsin sports.
The end result is a beneficial partnership that could lead in innumerable directions from an even greater ownership percentage, deals that link Rodgers and the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo together, or perhaps a divestment altogether.
The Social Media Section
What a cool moment for the Antetokounmpos:
Pizza maestro Khris Middleton:
A cool honor for Sterling Brown:
Thon’s trade request couldn’t have had better timing:
“Thon, I’ve been working the phones and I found a team that can give you a major role. Now it might not be exactly what you were looking for, but I think Oshkosh could be a great fit for you right now...and I already bought you a non-refundable bus ticket so...” pic.twitter.com/tl293cUWAF— Frank Madden (@fmaddenNBA) January 27, 2019
I knew NBA Live was an inferior product to 2K, but c’mon...
They didn’t pay much attention to 60 overall Giannis for some reason pic.twitter.com/qTLNzoj9g6— Jonathan Gauthier (@jgauthier_23) January 26, 2019
Y’all ever just sit back in amazement that one of the planet’s most popular people lives and plays in Milwaukee?
The rise of Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo: From ~55,000 NBA All-Star fan votes in 2015 to more than 4.3 million in 2019... pic.twitter.com/etli0h0Ws1— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) January 25, 2019
And here’s my friend Kyle Carr to remind you to bundle up for the bad weather ahead!
The same people that really want snow and cold weather are probably the same people that don’t have to shovel. pic.twitter.com/KFk4FoIjGQ— Kyle Carr (@KyleCoche) January 23, 2019
Riley’s 2018-2019 Weekly Prediction Record: 28-19
The Bucks may have gone 2-1 last week, but we can all count our blessings for my perfect 3-0 set of educated guesses! All that stood in the way of a three win slate was a supernova outing by Paul George and less not-great-play by Milwaukee’s supporting cast. Positivity!
Last night’s visit with the Thunder was just the first in a five-part series of road games the Bucks have coming up. The three this week include stops in Detroit, Toronto, and Washington DC on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday respectively.
Milwaukee has managed to beat Detroit by an average margin of a little more than 16 points a game (with a close-fought three point win mixed in), so I’d figure a sweep of the season series is in the offing. Toronto and Washington are more interesting; the Bucks have dropped a game against each and can’t simply out-talent their way to wins. Expect an exciting, if disappointing, loss to the Raptors and a revenge W over the Wiz.
Now, get out of here and go do that shoveling we both know you’ve been putting off. If you don’t, legend has it Thon Maker will come to your door and attempt to karate kick you in half. You’ve been warned.