This is being written with complete sincerity: I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for having doubted the Bucks and their ability to decimate teams. I’m sorry for thinking that routinely giving up 50 points to opponents in third quarters would be a problem. I’m sorry for even mentioning the departure of He Who Shall Not Be Named in my most vociferous of early-season complaints. I’m sorry for declaring Milwaukee’s veteran acquisition’s as mistakes; I will declare them to be mistakes exactly one week from now instead. I’m sorry that you’re now getting tired of seeing me write I’m sorry.
Most importantly, I’m sorry for my self-image as a Basketball Savant™. The Milwaukee Bucks took me and my negativity, balled me up like in a cartoon, and stuffed me into a trash can three times this past week. We were a godawful first half away from making that number four. Turns out a group of pro athletes who won 60 games like four months ago are able to win games in spite of a few hiccups. Who’d have guessed?
Maybe those losses to Miami and Boston were more aberration than actuality. Milwaukee has already started beating up some of the best rosters in the league all while battling the infamous Minneapolis/Los Angeles/Salt Lake City/Oklahoma City nightlifes. There are kinks still yet to be ironed out, but it’s much easier to do that when you sit near the summit of the conference instead of laboring from behind.
Fueled by last year’s playoff flameout, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks are spitting fire (Washington Post) & Alex Lasry joins LOB: Load management, Malcolm Brogdon, luxury tax, ASW in Milwaukee and PLENTY of Giannis (Locked On Bucks)
Throwing these two out there to begin for similar reasons: Insight into the team’s thinking as the year gets underway. The first by Ben Golliver features a few quotes from GM Jon Horst (and a few sentences about the Brogdon situation) and a general outlook on Milwaukee’s strong start.
The second is a podcast (gasp!) featuring not us (gasp!!!!) here at Brew Hoop, but instead Kane Pitman conducting a 1 on 1 interview with whatever Alex Lasry does within the organization. To Kane’s credit, there weren’t a ton of softball questions in here and so it’s worth listening if only to glean a few more details on the front office’s mindset.
Here’s a Terrifying Thought for the N.B.A.: Giannis Looks Better (New York Times)
Slow start, schmo start; Giannis Antetokounmpo looks to have already found his other-wordly rhythm on both ends of the court, and the results do indeed speak for themselves. Top offense in the league in numerous metrics, a defense that’s recently ticked back up into the top-10, and a return atop the Eastern Conference’s standings.
Oh, and he’s eclipsing nearly every previous career statistical high on fewer per game minutes than a season ago. Yikes.
An interesting insight into Giannis’s ongoing grapple with the balance of being the league’s foremost physical force and the need to give his tools a rest here or there.
While it’s totally unsurprising that Antetokounmpo would really rather play every single game, I thought the most interesting quotes regarded the way Jason Kidd handled rest. That is to say, with scorn. Such a strategy appealed to Giannis’s inner drive, and now Budenholzer has to come up with strategies to nudge and push his superstar into taking a break on occasion.
Nothing too groundbreaking here, but you can at least rest easy knowing the fine folks of LA are now aware that, yes, there is a team in Milwaukee, and yes, they are pretty good and stand a decent chance of being there at the end of this long road. That is, if they can prove they have “it” when the time comes.
This one features a look at the success of another squad at the expense of the Bucks, but gaining even a tiny bit of insight into how different teams approach critical moments like that at the end of the Jazz-Bucks game is interesting.
According to the Jazz, the play that got Bojan Bogdanovich wide open wasn’t actually initially designed as it was executed. Instead, Bojan and Mike Conley advocated for slight adjustments to the original plan and got the go-ahead from coach Quin Snyder. What resulted was a dash to the baseline that caught Khris Middleton unawares and a W for the Jazz.
Rick Pitino: “I am Greece’s coach” (Eurohoops)
*spits water out all over the laptop*
Huh? What? This can’t be... surely? Surely it can’t be true!
Well... I guess it looks like it might be true. What a strange timeline we live on where disgraced Rick Pitino could potentially coach Milwaukee’s superstar for Greece’s national team. The one upside is we can finally get a definitive answer to the question, “What would it look like if a living iteration of a God played under the guidance of Dracula?”
Is continuity a real advantage for NBA title contenders? (ESPN+ - Subscription Required)
We close with Kevin Pelton doing his best to answer what could largely be described as the unanswerable: Does continuity matter?
I won’t got fully into his research, but the answer mostly boils down to *shrugs*. The logic behind such a relationship lies in the fact that most good teams tend to “like” where their roster is at and so prioritize bringing back most piece. Bad teams, the thinking goes, are more prone to reconstruction year-over-year and so often returning minutes are kept artificially lower.
One interesting aspect of the research was the revelation that high continuity doesn’t regularly correspond with playing far better in the first five, 10, or 20 games than you would over the course of a season. That positive relationship shows over the course of 82 games, not the first five.
The Social Media Section
Pre-season videos of a minor league team shouldn’t bring this much joy, but it looks like there’s a genuine spirit about the Herd this year (and Cam Reynolds continues to embrace the role of team lead)
Don’t worry everyone, Eric was aware he messed up
The Giannis jumpshooting experience pic.twitter.com/CqHFfbM71e— Frank Madden (@fmaddenNBA) November 7, 2019
Too harsh to say this is the most positive thing Robin has done as a Buck so far?
Milwaukee’s skyline >>>>>>> Toronto’s skyline
What a nice little town. pic.twitter.com/tjU4alVpnJ— Mandela Barnes (@TheOtherMandela) November 5, 2019
Alright... which one of you was courtside in Minneapolis?
EVERY angle of Thanasis’s “welcome back to the league” moment
Can I get a “WOOOO” for all my Gopher fans in the comments?
So Proud Of My Alma Mater And All My Friends That Played At @GopherFootball. I Never Played A Down, But I Couldn’t Be Prouder Of You. @PennStateFball And The @AP, Don’t Ever Question The Naitch Again!!! WOOOOO! pic.twitter.com/C4Ljx7ruSq— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) November 9, 2019
MMMR 2019-2020 Prediction Record: 2-8
retired janitor’s 2019-2020 Prediction Record: 7-3
We’re turning the corner on these predictions annnnnnnnnny week now. To be fair, all three of the games I ended up incorrectly guessing on ended with a total margin of victory of nine points. That’s the point equivalent of 28 current-day Wes Matthews three-point attempts!
This week should be known under one title and one title only: He Who Shall Not Be Named Week.
That’s right, we’ve got some lukewarm Central Division basketball on deck with just two games against the visiting Chicago Lols and a trip to Indianapolis to play the Pacers (feat. He Who Shall Not Be Named). Milwaukee will have a few days to recover after their time on the road before facing the Lols on Thursday and the jaunt to Indy isn’t all that daunting. I’m going to take one right out of the “rj’s Super Secret Playbook” here and predict two wins.
Don’t be surprised, though, when the universe shows itself to have a great sense of humor and He Who Shall Not Be Named goes for a triple-double in a Pacers win. I’m sure we’ll all share a good, measured, reasonable laugh together if that happens...