If you ever wondered the value of a PR team in the year 2019, look no further than Giannis Antetokounmpo’s past week.
Antetokounmpo — whose free agency in 2021 will be the topic of off-court discussion across the league — was reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to have given a quote to Harvard researchers about his pending decision. That quote reads as such:
“I want the Bucks to build a winning culture. So far, we have been doing great, and, if this lasts, there’s no other place I want to be. But if we’re underperforming in the NBA next year, deciding whether to sign becomes a lot more difficult.”
Not shocking to hear, even if it did come last April before the playoffs had even began. The problem, in my eyes, was his response when this was made public the day before the season opener. Instead of owning up to that quote, Giannis decided to do his version of “Fake News” to get a little cover. That refutation was enough for many fans to open fire on the Journal Sentinel and Harvard. At best, they completely misconstrued Giannis’s words and at worst they did something akin to making it all up to get clicks. How dare the local town paper do the legwork to uncover something that could put the star in an unflattering light and feed the all-consuming fire that will rage regardless?
Giannis refuted the quote attributed to him in the Harvard Business School case study. Said his girlfriend asked him yesterday if he really said that. “If you kind of read the last quote, I’ve never used those words in my life,” he responded.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) October 24, 2019
Right now we’re faced with a case of he said, she said, where he is the superstar who has an image as the humble guy trying to make it work in a small market to protect and she is two organizations with an interest in verifying that info is presented accurately in an attempt to retain their institutional integrity. Maybe the tapes will get checked and Giannis will be exonerated; fake news will have been more than a lame attempt to save face.
And maybe the JS will get their hands on the recording of Giannis’s interview and it’ll show that, in fact, he did say those words in that context and without much editorializing done on Harvard’s part. If that happens — and let it be known I believe it may — I won’t be able to avoid intense disappointment and hefty skepticism of our star heading forward.
Don’t play us for rubes. Get a better PR team.
It’s early to toss into the equation the possibility of not having Giannis on the court all that much, but there have been two games and he’s fouled out in both, so keep it in mind.
That the Bucks were able to survive Giannis’s absence against the Rockets was thanks to a combo of Mike Budenholzer having no choice but to try something new and Brook Lopez’s sheer skill in the post. With luck such situations won’t arise often, but the Bucks answered the call at least once in a high-leverage situation.
Milwaukee Bucks come into 2019-20 season with Championship expectations (Milwaukee Record)
Always appreciate what Dan Shafer does when he features over at Milwaukee Record bringing the Green & Cream Gospel to the culturally-minded of Milwaukee’s residents. In his latest he recaps not one, not two, but eight big changes that happened to the team in the off-season that will assuredly shape its destiny.
Is The NBA’s Eastern Conference Really Just A Two-Team Race? (FiveThirtyEight)
You’ll have to scroll a bit to get to the relevant Bucks bits, but it should be noted that “RAPTOR kinda likes Donte DiVincenzo.” While Milwaukee’s section is a bit limited, I thought this was an interesting look at what different statistical models say about the other East teams. Plus, RAPTOR kinda likes Donte. RAPTOR KINDA LIKES DONTE!
Giannis Antetokounmpo: ‘I Can Get a Lot Better’ (SLAM Online - The Athletic)
A combo one here as the original quotes came at the end of Sam Amick’s The Athletic piece from Houston. What was more interesting than the aspirations to become even better were Giannis’s quotes about wanting to avoid working out with other players the Bucks could face during the season.
Per Giannis, “Man, it’s not that I don’t want to (learn from other stars). I get better every day. I’ll learn from the 15th player on our team. I’ll learn from (Bucks reserve guard) Frank Mason. But my competitive nature is so high that when I go and practice (with other stars), I can’t do it.” Big shoes to fill, Frank. Good luck.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Denies Giving Juicy Quote To Harvard Business School About Possibly Leaving Bucks (Deadspin) & The Raptors Could Be On A Short List For Giannis Antetokounmpo & ‘Giannis Will Go To Warriors If Kevin Durant Comes Back Healthy’
That’s right! It’s Vulture Talk time!
If the counting is correct, the number of teams Giannis has been linked to include the Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors, and... Orlando Magic (thanks to some random user on Reddit throwing conspiracies at the wall). Turns out saying you won’t talk about your free agency doesn’t stop everyone and their sister from speculating anyhow.
That Giannis would duck out of the East simply because of Kevin Durant seems asinine to say the least, and honest brokers would acknowledge that (in the basketball world) Toronto is Milwaukee with a worse shoreline and a successful artist who uses the franchise to advance his commercial interests.
The Social Media Section
Bledsoe needs to play PJ Tucker every night
Just some normal DJ energy
Ersan such a troll putting this as his Game 1 highlight
Thanasis already has his street clothes game at a high level
Remember: NO PRESSURE
Clowning someone is all well and good, and then Brook Lopez is rag-dolling your teammate for the win
A quick thread from a Nikola Mirotic interview on why he went back to Europe
Here’s an interview with Mirotic where he explains his decision to leave the NBA. https://t.co/I4V5h6W94K— Dave DuFour (@DaveDuFourNBA) October 24, 2019
"I wanted a shot to win more titles, I missed Euroleague, Copa del Rey...in Milwaukee it was fine, we nearly got there...but I also wanted stability for my family. I was traded during last two years, and despite that turning OK, there is always someone deciding things for you,— Dave DuFour (@DaveDuFourNBA) October 24, 2019
despite you having a contract, you don't get to call your shots. I wanted to be somewhere where there is a higher goal to be attained and Barcelona is that place."— Dave DuFour (@DaveDuFourNBA) October 24, 2019
"I was missing that something. I was doing good, an important starting player, but every NBA team has a superstar and I was maybe 3rd-4th option, and that's fine, but I wanted more, I wanted to be a leader."— Dave DuFour (@DaveDuFourNBA) October 24, 2019
MMMR 2019-2020 Prediction Record: 0-2
I wasn’t too far off thinking a win and a loss were coming, but who’d have guessed I’d get the results flipped? Me, that’s who.
A new week means four chances to rectify that error; the Bucks start tonight hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers, hit the road for a pair of road games on Wednesday in Boston and Friday in Orlando, and finish the action on Saturday at home against the Raptors.
2-2 feels to be in the cards; the Cavs should be an easy out and the Celtics are less impressive than the squad Milwaukee faced in the playoffs. Losses against Orlando and Toronto wouldn’t be shocking as both teams look set to maintain “upstart” status (especially with the Magic’s strong defense and extreme length).
I keep up these bad results and I may need to get a PR team.