A Greek with a migrant background doing everything to help his family make ends meet.
A South Carolinian who ground his way through the AAU circuit, to Texas A&M, to the second-round.
While there have been plenty of notable All-Star duos in the history of the NBA, this pairing finding their way in Milwaukee has to be one of the most unusual. Just five years ago Khris was embarking on his sophomore campaign having been sent to Milwaukee as a trade throw-in, and Giannis was nothing more than grainy YouTube footage and a whole lot of hopes and dreams. Now? They’ll be on top of the basketball world in a few weeks.
It’s a testament to the type of competitive drive they possess that they rose to All-Stardom while navigating an up-and-down organization that could easily have put them off course.
Giannis is the golden child and deserving of the All-Star captaincy. Some may argue the merits of Middleton’s nomination, but the nod is a fitting cap to the years of work he’s put in to help Milwaukee get where it is today. I’m beyond ecstatic for both of them, and I can’t wait to see where they take this team in the months and years to come.
Some guy is designing posters for every Milwaukee Bucks game in 2019 (Milwaukee Record)
This one doesn’t have a lot to do with the on-court product, but I think it’s a really really cool example of how unique this season is. In years past the only reason to make custom game posters would be to lament how middling Milwaukee’s prospects were. Now each and every game is an opportunity to cherish a year unlike many other in franchise history.
Hopefully the designer finds a way to put his work up for sale. Get on it, Bucks!
Khris Middleton’s First All-Star Berth Symbolic Of Bucks’ Turnaround (Forbes)
Ignore the fact that the author accidentally listed Giannis as the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft (actually 15th) and take a moment to reflect on how wild the journey has been from worst year in franchise history to one of the greatest.
We had Larry Drew, Jason Kidd, Joe Prunty, and now Mike Budenholzer. Things went from John Hammond running the show to his protege Jon Horst picking up the pieces. There was the hopeful pairing of Jabari Parker with Giannis that imploded before it even really started. And there was OJ. We can never forget OJ Mayo. That Milwaukee weathered the fateful storm is as wild as it is unlikely.
Sterling Brown Wants Worst Night of His Life to Lead to Better Days (Sports Illustrated)
It’s been a bit over a year since Sterling Brown’s infamous incident with Milwaukee police officers. While we won’t revisit the details of that evening, I think it is notable that the Bucks have been a supportive organization for its players who are outspoken on social issues. Whether it be Sterling Brown and Malcolm Brogdon currently with the team, or Jabari Parker before his departure last summer, the team has made no effort to stifle the opinions of those in the locker room. Admirable, even if it’s a seemingly simple thing to do.
In battle of East’s best, Bucks prove Raptors are still finding their way (Yahoo Sports)
Mmm, give me more of this sweet sweet “Milwaukee is better than Toronto” content.
I would never have guessed that the Bucks would build a rivalry with the Raptors of all teams, but since their initial encounter in the first round of the 2016 Playoffs ever meeting feels charged. The stakes couldn’t be much higher with the two trading places atop the East and championship ambitions to boot.
Milwaukee walks away the dominant team this regular season, and now it’s a matter of wait-and-see whether the argument will be decided definitively in the post-season.
Mike Budenholzer clinches spot to coach Team Giannis in All-Star Game (ESPN)
Poor coach Bud and his cancelled vacation to Costa Rica. I’m sure there’s a part of Bud, deep-down inside, that wanted to throw last week’s game against the Raptors if only to get a long weekend off.
When you remember the trip you booked to Costa Rica for the All-Star break is non-refundable. pic.twitter.com/kgRjUbohKd— Jordan Treske (@JordanTreske) February 1, 2019
Instead he and his staff will be heading to Charlotte to “coach” the All-Star Game. Here’s hoping he and Giannis have already begun scheming about which players to draft in order to better Milwaukee’s free-agent recruitment odds.
Colson Looks to Become Herd’s Next NBA Success Story (WeAreGreenBay.com)
Just a quick check in on newest Herd member Bonzie Colson. Since coming to Wisconsin on the two-way slot vacated by the waiver of Jaylen Morris, Colson has featured in 10 games with averages of 16.6 points (.480/.407/.786), 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 blocks a game.
Watching his highlights, I’m still unsure where his place could be in the NBA. He’s able to drive to the basket pretty reliably, even in traffic, but his only being 6’5” means he often has to rely on tougher shots to get his offense. Take this scoring session from this weekend’s Herd game:
That was a lot of tough-shot express on offense, effective or otherwise. It’ll be interesting seeing how he develops heading forward.
The Social Media Section
We’ve got a Maker update (sorta):
Maker remains in play in several trade scenarios, league sources say. Bucks are talking to several teams on possible deals. https://t.co/DjOffpJhQz— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 3, 2019
So, it increasingly appears that the Bucks are going to run the East for years to come:
Celtics: Kyrie is ready to bounce— Dan Shafer (@DanRShafer) February 1, 2019
Sixers: Jimmy Butler trade didn’t work, Embiid/Simmons chemistry issues
Raptors: Kawhi leaving in six months
This week in “Things that make you go hmm”:
The Bucks took down the Raptors to maintain the league's best record.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 1, 2019
It's the 3rd time in franchise history they've had the NBA's best record through 50 games. They reached the NBA Finals each of the first two times.
h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/pHFWAXyMrv
This is actually legitimately wild:
Congrats to the @Bucks' Khris Middleton on becoming the FIRST #GLeagueAlum to be selected as an @NBAAllStar!— NBA G League (@nbagleague) February 1, 2019
Middleton suited up for @TheMadAnts during his rookie season in 2012. #ChangeTheGame pic.twitter.com/prmQgdeaIF
When two obscure GOATs meet:
Riley’s 2018-2019 Weekly Prediction Record: 30-21
A four-game week can’t be all that fun for the players, but it is a welcome development for us insatiable basketball addicts. On the plus-side for the Bucks it isn’t an all-road affair as they’ll be coming and going from Milwaukee plenty over the next seven days.
They start in the Big Apple tonight to play the Brooklyn Nets on the prime-time NBATV broadcast. Then the final game against the Wizards (thank God) will be at home Wednesday). A back-to-back ends the week with a quick jaunt to Dallas to play the Mavs Friday before getting back to host the Orlando Magic Saturday.
What a fascinating mix of opponents! Each will almost assuredly push enough to keep the Bucks honest and competitive throughout every game, but Milwaukee is (abstractly) the better team in every setting. I expect wins over the game-as-hell Nets, the trade-depleted Mavs, and the stuck-in-purgatory Magic. That means the most annoying defeat of the entire season is on for Wednesday, so be ready to be mad.
Oh, and one final congrats to Giannis and Khris. It means a lot to me that two guys like them will be representing Milwaukee to the world in a few short weeks. How cool for them and for us.