Much as the average fan/player/coach/GM/man on the street may dislike the forgettable moments collectively known as the “preseason” in numerous sports, Milwaukee’s past week has shown just how critical such a period is for any pro team.
The top line benefit is a chance for coaches to experiment in a way that regular season play doesn’t generally allow for. In Milwaukee’s case the loss of Eric Bledsoe to a rib injury a few minutes into their second game threw the need to try new things into overdrive. We’ve seen George Hill, Donte DiVincenzo, and Frank Mason all get minutes running plays with a rotating cast of teammates and, while not perfect, will prepare them and the team at large for a world without Eric now and potentially in the future.
Almost as important as trying something different is the ability to set a team’s tone for the year to come. Some are spotlighting their youth in what will be a year spent figuring out what flotsam should be kept about, while others like Milwaukee are mercilessly crushing competition in consequence-free games. Giannis probably won’t average 30+ points a night in ~23 minutes of play, but that hasn’t stopped him from feasting when given chance. So while preseason isn’t the height of basketballing beauty it’s an absolutely necessary (and often fun) exercise.
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is about to be a dad (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) & AntetokounBros Academy: Changing lives one basket at a time (EuroHoops)
You know we had to start this week’s slate on a high note, and what higher a note can their be than the rumored coming growth of the Antetokounmpo family?
Congrats to his significant other Mariah and, of course, Giannis on the news!
Also wanted to throw in the news that the Antetokounmpo family is set to open a basketball academy in Athens to help 12-16 year old players and 18-25 year olds interested in coaching. The program will take on 100 students and run for two years giving participants a chance to take part in basketball lessons and workshops focusing on “life skills”. Here’s hoping its a success for the initial run and leads to greater opportunities for those struggling as the Antetokounmpo’s did.
Giannis Antetokounmpo primed for another huge season, but Bucks still need his jumper to improve for further success (CBS Sports)
While the above adage continues to be true — that life is easier when the three point shot falls — all of last season would seem to prove that, at this point in time, Giannis doesn’t need a killer three to allow the Bucks to dominate. Even in a series like the one against the Raptors, the occasional three attempt from Giannis would have done... what exactly? He’s still deadliest when slashing opponents to pieces thus unlocking the three for everyone around him.
That’s not to say he shouldn’t work on the jumper; quite the opposite, in fact, but to hammer that singular point over and over as the definitive hurdle keeping Milwaukee from championship gold feels cliche in 2019.
Understanding Kevin Durant’s Rib Cartilage Fracture (In Street Clothes)
“Why is a piece on Kevin Durant on a Bucks site?” is a valid question, but this one got snuck in under the pretense that any and all info that could shed some light on what Eric Bledsoe is dealing with holds value.
From what writer Jeff Stotts gathered when covering a similar injury sustained by Kevin Durant, an injury like this won’t linger long, but is complicated by the fact that cartilage (which is what Bledsoe aggravated) tends to take longer to heal than bone.
A larger concern would be any loss in fitness Bledsoe experiences having to keep physical exertions to a minimum over the coming weeks. For someone as reliant upon explosive movement to dominate an injury like this which restricts nigh all trunk movement could be hampering.
This is always a helpful exercise by Zach Lowe not only because he clocks the Bucks in at #3 overall (and gives a beyond-deserved shout-out to Marques Johnson on commentary), but as a reminder of why so many other NBA teams should garner our fascination even in a year where the Bucks look set to rule their conference.
The latest in the Sterling Brown v. City of Milwaukee legal case sees Brown rejecting the offer the city’s Common Council authorized about a month ago.
Where the case goes from here is unclear, though it’s obvious that the rejection of the $400K points to a willingness by Brown to settle in for a lengthy process of executing the lawsuit he filed in June 2018. It appeared as though some city councilmembers thought the initial $400K offer was too high to begin with, so further attempts to settlement look out of the question as of this moment.
This last piece is being included not to hash out the muddle that has largely been the NBA’s (and the wider basketball ecosystem) response to the threat Daryl Morey presented to lucrative Chinese cash-flow, but to note that we may be reaching a tipping point away from peak league kumbaya.
Adam Silver has mostly sounded all the right notes on a variety of topics since taking the helm from David Stern, and he’s been able to directly intervene to polish the league’s image (i.e. Donald Sterling) while building even more cachet with new image-positive ownership moves (i.e. a couple hedge fund billionaires who “saved” the Bucks and present themselves as something different from the stodgy team owners of old).
That streak may not be completely broken by the fallout of the Morey Incident, but it’s a reminder that Silver is here to represent 30 individuals/groups and to do what he can to maximize their bottom line. Prior to last week that goal went hand-in-hand with a mantra of empowerment. Now we’ll see just how well that images holds up with a crack right in the middle of the mirror.
Vulture Talk 2019-2020
Starting the year out EXTREMELY strong
Thinking about adding a segment to the @brewhoop podcast called "Vulture Talk" where we break down the zaniest stories of the previous week about Giannis maybe signing a minimum deal in Orlando to open a chain of gyro restaurants in central Florida.— Riley Feldmann (@RileyFeldmann) October 5, 2019
The Social Media Section
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Speaking of Bucks podcasts, a hearty salute to Eric Nehm for what he’s done with Blogfather Frank Madden with ‘Locked on Bucks’ and best of luck to Kane Pitman!
Locked on Bucks, 10/11/19: A brand new era (Ep #653) https://t.co/eWXF1HKzoL— Locked On Bucks (@lockedonbucks) October 11, 2019
Apparently the “Texas Two-Step” is actually a reference to visits to Texas A&M and SMU
See Giannis? Milwaukee will always be much more fun to play in than the rest of the world!
giannis: "i felt like playing in fiba I was like a prisoner" pic.twitter.com/NOoe3QzrOy— jack maloney (@jackmaloneycbs) October 10, 2019
The execution is amazing, and hopefully something the team will go back to for future alternates, and speaking of alternates...
'73 '75@Bucks— Mitchell & Ness (@mitchell_ness) October 9, 2019
INTRODUCING: Our @nba Team Heritage Tanks
Celebrating nostalgic logos and designs from your favorite teams, past and present!
https://t.co/xAZ2TTzNxc…… to shop! pic.twitter.com/vBLFIxPceY
Give Frank all the strength, for we shall all need it
Cam Reynolds has big DJ Wilson energy
From four games last week to just one this week, the Bucks will be hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves this Thursday in Milwaukee. It’ll presumably be the last chance for guys deep down the roster to put together some highlights to either justify a place with Milwaukee, elsewhere in the NBA, or abroad which is to say expect 48 Luke Maye minutes.
Fingers crossed the team will get through this last step without any further complications and we can finally start winding ourselves up for the start of the regular season a week from Thursday. Until then...