And so the floodgates opened.
Perhaps we’ll look back on February 2019 as the inflection point when the poorly-kept secret that is the Milwaukee Bucks will have become undeniable. If the flow of national media stories about the Bucks is any legitimate indicator, we may have finally crossed the proverbial Rubicon.
This week we’ve articles running the gamut from coverage of Milwaukee’s two All-Stars to meditations on a team that’s been criminally unacknowledged relative to their peers after 57 games.
If Milwaukee’s sheer dominance was previously regarded as a flash in the pan you can only imagine how shocking it will be once the inescapable dam waters sweep away everything before them on the way to the Eastern Conference Finals and beyond.
And that’s all before Nikola Mirotic makes his debut this week.
Finding Giannis (Bucks.com)
You owe it to yourself to watch this, it’s that simple.
The Bucks Have a Perfect Second Option in Khris Middleton (The Ringer) & Khris Middleton and the Virtues of Doing Less (Sports Illustrated)
He continues to be the hottest topic of debate among Bucks fans, and All-Star weekend will have only stoked the flames ever higher thanks to a renewed spotlight on Khris Middleton.
Here we have two articles praising the elevation of Khris to the All-Star dais, but offer different evaluations as to how he got there and where the Bucks can go. The former from The Ringer’s Jonathon Tjarks strikes a decidedly upbeat tone about Middleton’s contributions compared to some of the league’s other top stars, while the latter goes behind the scenes to chronicle the legitimate struggle Khris had adjusting to a lesser offensive role.
Neither will definitively end the argument; in fact, both may add a little more fuel to the fire, but they are important pieces in putting together a holistic evaluation of Milwaukee’s maybe number two.
Giannis Looks Unstoppable and the Bucks Are Cruising Into All-Star Weekend (Sports Illustrated) & That’s Pretty Interesting: Do Giannis Antetokounmpo’s scorching Bucks deserve more respect? (CBS Sports)
Oh, not much to see here, just a bit more shine for our favorite team. Now my only real fear is that a constant stream of congratulatory pieces praising the Bucks will work some sort of reverse-jinx that harms the team’s chances in the post-season. Still, I’ll take regular season glorification and hope for the best come the playoffs.
The ‘miracle’ reincarnation of the Milwaukee Bucks (Yahoo Sports) & Superstar Giannis, winning record drive Bucks attendance to fourth-highest jump in NBA (Milwaukee Business Journal)
While it feels like eons have gone by we are really only about a decade removed from a period of soulless mediocrity that led to paper bag revolts, crowdfunded billboards, and a routinely empty basketball (née hockey) arena.
Yet here we stand, with a star, multiple All-Stars, and a modern arena filled to overcapacity. That it all happened relatively quickly makes it all that more bewildering. The first article does an especially good job capturing that remarkable timeline that has seen the Bucks move from the brink of extinction to the doorsteps of what can only be regarded as the franchise’s next Golden Era. Oh how sweet it all is.
The Bucks Are the NBA’s Most Compelling (On-Court) Drama (New York Magazine)
The thesis behind this article was one that intrigued me: In an era where relationships between players, players and teams, players and coaches, players and fans, etc. is driven ever more by shortening news cycles fueled by drama, the act of watching a basketball game from start to finish can seem drab in comparison.
Not so for the Bucks thanks to Giannis’s high-flying assault of the rim and a hyper-efficient offense. We already consume most if not all the games, so having a fun style of play is a bonus, but being a show worth watching will eventually make the Bucks a regular center of attention on a nightly basis for fans around the world.
Well, Anthony Davis’s escape plan backfired spectacularly, and so he’ll continue to draw the majority of the media attention about his future destination. All the better for the Bucks and Antetokounmpo who can enjoy the rest of the season and part of the off-season without having to fend off the vultures who’ll come calling as we edge closer to Supermax D-Day.
That is until the Bucks extend the extension to Giannis, he signs it without preamble, and we continue on our merry way for years to come, because that is the likeliest outcome of all at this point.
The Social Media Section
He’s going to become the most popular athlete on the planet, isn’t he?
I know I made the right call when I teamed up with @MetroByTMobile! Make the smart move too and switch, but don't play me in H-O-R-S-E. That's not a smart move! #Sponsored #GreekFreakGoesMetro #StayFreakyInPurple pic.twitter.com/CDq3E9KNO7— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) February 12, 2019
Don’t let anyone tell you I don’t do research when writing articles:
POLL: Who had a better career as a Buck?— Riley Feldmann (@RileyFeldmann) February 13, 2019
“Look, Christian, your time will come. Take some social media pointers from Tony here... or not”:
I seen thanks for showing love https://t.co/UHZ7dzYW1b— Christian Wood (@Chriswood_5) February 12, 2019
Guys, when he says he’s doing it for the people he loves, I think he specifically means us!
Steph just out here happy to play defense since it’ll reduce his chances of a friendly fire posterizing:
This one warmed my heart:
I’m completely confident that Marques would demolish me in a game of one on one:
Still dunking at 63 years old! pic.twitter.com/Fpmb6daThP— Marques Johnson (@olskool888) February 16, 2019
(kisses chef fingers):
Here’s Brian Scalabrine talking about how Giannis isn’t the MVP because he isn’t great in the last 4 minutes, as Giannis is great in clutch time in the background: pic.twitter.com/Lfun7Ot3fL— Jonathan Gauthier (@jgauthier_23) February 16, 2019
Poor rest of the NBA:
Giannis, the outlier pic.twitter.com/6HXjoztr8r— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) February 15, 2019
Another happy Brew Hoop reader:
Riley’s 2018-2019 Weekly Prediction Record: 34-23
Alright, enough acrobatic dunks and bench antics in meaningless exhibition game. It’s time to get serious and throw down acrobatic dunks and have gobs of bench antics in meaningful regular season minutes!
We’re officially entering the home stretch of the season with just 24 games left to be played, and there won’t be a chance to ease back into things off the break. Instead, they’ll be playing hosts to the Boston Celtics on Thursday and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. After those two tougher opponents its off on the road again on what will end up being a five-game trip mostly out west. Now, with so much on the line and home court firmly within grasp, every night counts just a little bit more.
I anticipate the team hitting the ground running right from the get-go and picking up two more wins this week. Things will get dicey away from home, but that can be dealt with when we get to it.
One more final word of congrats to Giannis and Khris for what was hopefully an enjoyable weekend for them, and congrats to coach Budenholzer and his staff for putting together a team so dominant that they also had to head to Charlotte.
Now the real season begins.