We’re now a few weeks into the season, the Bucks sit just a game behind the Boston Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and Giannis looks more like a supernova incarnate than even during his MVP season.
So, I’m sure you’re asking, how does this good-looking squad compare to the quick-start unit of a year ago? Let’s take a look at the (rough) numbers 12 games into each season:
- 2018-2019: 9-3, 114.8 ORtg, 103.1 DRtg, 105.13 Pace, 59.0 TS%, .440 3PAr, .368 3P%
- 2019-2020: 9-3, 109.6 ORtg, 101.0 DRtg, 107.52 Pace, 57.5 TS%, .446 3PAr, .333 3P%
And, we’d be remiss mentioning the overall team success without highlighting the integral role Giannis played for both versions of the Bucks:
- Giannis 2018-2019: 32.3 MPG, 25.7 PTS (.539/.080/.701), 13.4 REBS, 5.5 ASTS, 1.4 BLKS, 1.4 STLS
- Giannis 2019-2020: 32.9 MPG, 30.1 PTS (.580/.320/.630), 14.3 REBS, 6.5 ASTS, 1.5 BLKS, 1.4 STLS
What can we glean from that info? First and foremost, perhaps Giannis wasn’t blowing smoke when he said he’d only reached 60% of his capabilities. Just how much further he can push his output is an open question, but at merely 32.9 minutes a night there’s still even more room for him to dominate as long as foul trouble doesn’t get in the way.
Team-wise, it’s a bit more difficult to get a grasp on which strategic contours have changed; lots of threes, really good defense, and letting Giannis do his thing. Even then, you’d expect things to really start taking off if that team-wide three-point percentage can tick up into even above league-average (the Bucks sit at 19th overall).
None of that excuses the early mistakes, but if the way the Bucks have been playing as of late is what we can expect the rest of the year? Yeesh, look out NBA.
Giannis Is Better Than Ever—and He’s Going to Have to Be (The Ringer) Adjusting to Khris Middleton’s absence will take some time, but Bucks still have Giannis Antetokounmpo (CBS Sports)
The most interesting stat that came out of the first piece (to me) was the fact that Giannis is second in the league in drawn fouls behind only James Harden. Given the often valid complaints that copious extra fouls against Giannis get no-called by refs that was truly shocking to read.
I’d disagree with Mr. Devine’s premise — that Giannis needs to dominate now more than ever to paper over the Khris Middleton-shaped hole in the lineup. It really comes down more on whoever gets the call off the bench to step into the role. Giannis will be Giannis, it’s down to Donte DiVincenzo, Sterling Brown, et al. to rise to the occasion and feed off of everything Giannis’s mere presence creates.
Malcolm Brogdon stares down reunion with Milwaukee Bucks, but its ‘just another game’ (IndyStar) & Pacers’ Malcolm Brogdon: Giannis helped me become a better player (The Undefeated)
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The Knicks Are Reportedly Eying Masai Ujiri and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Complex Sports)
The latest in Vulture Talk sees our good friends the New York Knicks playing a solo game of 85D chess in what will assuredly be a vain plan to get Giannis to the Big Apple. James Dolan’s masterstroke revolves around nabbing Masai Ujiri, current Raptors GM and guy most often portrayed as the man who made Giannis’s career a possibility (open question on that one, but that’s the spin), and using that connection to sign Antetokounmpo.
Surely the Knicks won’t strike out on a star free agent signing, right?
The Social Media Section
Thank goodness DJ has returned
NOTE: I’m not a doctor, and I have no idea if this guy is a doctor, but here’s a doctor’s take on Khris Middleton’s injury
No wonder Robin is playing so poorly; his teammates beat him up before every game
Bucks pregame routine pic.twitter.com/LoX95jUL6X— Cream City Central (@CreamCityCtral) November 17, 2019
...so Cam Reynolds and Dragan Bender might be the best 1-2 punch in G-League history
Reynolds WENT OFF! @CamoCinco contributed 27 points to tonight's win, with 13 of those coming in the 4th quarter #HerdUp pic.twitter.com/HH034yAmGP— Wisconsin Herd (@WisconsinHerd) November 16, 2019
Pulling out another comeback W @DBender03 lead the team with 26 PTS, 14 REB and 2 BLKS pic.twitter.com/wT41ZmW59P— Wisconsin Herd (@WisconsinHerd) November 16, 2019
UglyBowl 2019 will have to wait a few weeks, unfortunately
some thoughts from giannis on malcolm brogdon ahead of bucks vs pacers on saturday:— jack maloney (@jackmaloneycbs) November 15, 2019
"first of all malcolm's ugly" pic.twitter.com/RvP06hAAh5
Something tells me there won’t be Wake Forest Freaks for Chris Paul when he’s in Milwaukee
"Hey, Gianni...can I get the Kentucky Freaks!?!"@EBled2 is after @Giannis_An34's Freak 1 @KentuckyMBB PE's pic.twitter.com/5odbkmbbrs— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 13, 2019
S/O to whichever dude no longer runs the Bucks GG account
What a way to carry a business @bucksgg. Paying designers with merch What bills can we pay with that. My job is a graphic designer and self employed. Companies like you and many others is a perfect example on how graphic and motion designers are undermined and undervalued. pic.twitter.com/b2B8iftEJV— Malice (@DesignByMalice) November 12, 2019
#22 on the court, but #HoHoHo off it
MMMR 2019-2020 Prediction Record: 4-8
retired janitor’s 2019-2020 Prediction Record: 9-3
Going 2-0 last week was made infinitely easier to do when 1) The Bucks had to play the Bulls and 2) The Indiana Pacers had literally 4.3 players available. You take victories however they come, especially when you yourself aren’t at full health, so good on Milwaukee.
Those days of rest the Bucks enjoyed last week fall quickly out of fashion with four games coming in the next seven days. The first two are part of a “quick” three-game Eastern Conference road trip with a stop by those silly Bulls tonight and a trip to Atlanta on Wednesday. Thereafter Milwaukee returns to, well, Milwaukee to host the Trailblazers Thursday and the Pistons on Saturday.
That back-to-back between Atlanta and Portland is probably the only real worry spot; Budenholzer might attempt to thread the needle with load management for Giannis or Eric and that’d give the Hawks enough daylight to offset their oft porous defense. 3-1 week ahead with a L in Atlanta.