Well, with the NBA season true and fully over — and let it be known the Bucks also took the Toronto Raptors to six games — it’s time to start breaking down Milwaukee’s successes into is component parts, note where weaknesses lie, and consider how best to improve upon those deficiencies.
A few critical components have already been established: The charismatic star, the brainy coach, the sly executive, the solid backing cast, and, importantly, a “culture”. Uniquely, organizational culture may be the most difficult aspect to measure the impact of, but it’s hard to argue the Bucks don’t have one as one of our pieces highlights. We’ll also explore the off-court details that the team has perfected with a Father’s Day twist, and I’d be remiss if we didn’t check in on Pau Gasol and Milwaukee’s Summer League team, too.
Building Bucks DNA (Bucks.com)
This one is a bit on the long side, but completely worthwhile in that it breaks down nearly every ingredient of the special brew that was the 2018-2019 Bucks.
It begins, as almost every does, with “Bucks DNA”, a nebulous concept aped across the league and in competitive environments in all industries. For Milwaukee, that DNA centers on Giannis, Mike Budenholzer, and a cast of characters who enjoy playing with one another and spending time together. There is a lot more to it than just that, as Kane Pitman points out in his piece, but the job of building a team identity begins with a core theme, a baseline expectation, the right leaders, and a bit of luck.
NBA star Khris Middleton’s frantic journey home for his daughter’s birth (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA Today)
An apt article to appear on Father’s Day weekend to say the least.
When you’re one of the league’s smaller franchises, it is absolutely critical that your organization nails every peripheral aspect of the ecosystem around the players. If the way the team handled the premature birth of Middleton’s daughter is any example it seems the Bucks are well on their way to developing an exemplary identity.
BREAKING: Guy who is at the very tail-end of his career and is just coming off of a fracture in his foot would like to sign a contract with a championship-contending team.
I don’t doubt Pau would like to be back with the Bucks after coming to them of his own volition a year ago. Maybe there’s enough culture/leadership value there to justify his return, but for a team like Milwaukee with A) Solid culture and B) Need to scrape every last bit of help from the bottom of the barrel, I’m unsure how much a priority Pau is.
Taylor-Made: Jenkins and the Grizzlies can grow together (Grizzly Bear Blues)
You probably heard already, but just in case: Bucks assistance Taylor Jenkins was hired to coach the Memphis Grizzlies! It represents not only another feather in Mike Budenholzer’s coaching tree cap, but an opportunity for a coach to help shape a young roster into something great.
We won’t agonize over or analyze Jenkins’s departure too much, but I liked the positive tone our colleague Joe Mullinax struck when thinking about the fit between roster and new coach. Wishing Memphis and Jenkins the best of luck heading forward!
Report: Former BYU guard Elijah Bryant will play for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2019 NBA Summer League (Deseret News)
Yes, somehow we’ve already reached the “Summer League roster moves” portion of the off-season, and it’s BYU grad Elijah Bryant who kicks things off for the Bucks!
Looking around the internet for info turned up... not much. He played through his junior year at BYU before going undrafted in 2018. A stint with the Sixers Summer League team didn’t turn into anything and so he plied his trade in Israel where he averaged 17.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a game. Apparently he picked up some number of knee injuries (which stimulated his desire to be paid to play), though he did post 18.2 points (.494/.415/.850), 6.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists his last year in Utah.
It’s doubtful this will turn into anything more than a stint with the Wisconsin Herd at best, but hopefully Bryant can turn a solid Summer League into more professional opportunities.
The Social Media Section
I think Elijah is going to fit right in with DJ
Hoping my guy Kyle doesn’t get eaten by a salmon while in Alaska
So before I get on this Alaskan Cruise and disappear from Civiliation for a week I have some Bucks predictions:— Kyle Carr (@KyleCoche) June 15, 2019
-there will be a bogus AD/Beal trade rumor
-I’m still hoping for Jontay Porter
-whoever the Bucks select, will be a decent rotation player and I believe in them
The Summer of Giannis is going well, I see
Eric Bledsoe spending lots of quality family time over the Father’s Day holiday
View this post on Instagram
#Maywood #Chicago Go register the kids right now! 300 spots available. We bout to compete and have fun all week! I got a surprise for y’all at the end of camp Saturday so make sure yo schedule free and you bring out the whole family! Donations accepted! Swipe for details. #WeAllWeGot #FFG #HHF #LLRS
Seems like not the most ideal headwear given the weather in that locale, but okay Tim
Y’all ever wonder what former-Bucks coach Nick Van Exel is up to?
For this last one, let’s go outside Milwaukee and check in with the Celtics...
When the Celtics go from dreams of a AD-Kyrie pairing to Kenneth Faried being the biggest name they land this summer pic.twitter.com/wGi5SrPv5D— Beyonce has an uncle named Larry Beyince. Bruh.... (@DragonflyJonez) June 16, 2019
And so the first big milestone of the NBA off-season is upon us: The Draft!
This Thursday we’ll be finding who, if anyone, will be selected by the Bucks 30th overall. Everyone is aware of the inherent crapshoot nature of a draft process and it only gets more unpredictable the lower the selections are. Jon Horst has demonstrated a propensity for pulling tools out of the chaos of this particular process, so whoever gets his name called should come in with relatively low pressure to immediately perform and plenty of time to develop into a contributor.
Besides, he’ll get plenty of game time regardless when the Bucks average a margin of victory around 30-35 points.