We’ve no choice now but to face the music. With Summer League finished, Giannis granted a ceremonial day in his honor, and the masses equipped with Freak 1s, we’re just about out of meaningful storylines to trace this offseason.
It wasn’t the flashiest month and a half, but it was the product of maintenance over churn — stability over chancing it. Right now, in mid-July, it appears that hedging will pay off for the Bucks in the coming season. With Giannis at the helm and plenty of firepower to back him up a run to the Finals is the only acceptable goal for this franchise.
Giannis says he’s at ‘60 percent’ of his potential (ESPN)
This one made the cut because it should help assuage the fears of those who have noted a distinct lack of shouting out Milwaukee in all of Giannis’s MVP speeches. To wit:
“As long as that we are all on the same page and we are all focused on that goal, why not play for the Bucks 20 years, why not play 25 years? Why not, after playing, be a member of the coaching staff or a member of the front office?”
Giannis contract extension 2020: Something we can all believe in.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Wants to Be MVP at Everything (Complex) & The story behind Giannis Antetokounmpo’s first Nike signature sneaker (The Undefeated)
A little inside baseball with these ones discussing the process that went into the design of Giannis’s first set of signature shoes. While much of the advertising output that is the result of these exercises is contrived and eye-rolling in the extreme it doesn’t water down the numerous nods to things — people, mostly — important to his identity.
I’m not a so-called sneakerhead, so consider these ones for those of you up at 3 AM on a random Tuesday hunting down just the right pair of Jordan 89s in a black/blue colorway.
N.B.A. Superstar Duos Remake the League (New York Times)
It’s interesting how quickly the league has moved from the concept of “Big Threes” to “Dynamic Duos” being the mainstay of roster construction. Some of that is due undoubtedly to the effects of the cap and how difficult it is to retain three stars simultaneously and not bleed money, and some can be attributed to the increase in trade demands and the limited capacity of receiving teams to send out enough assets to acquire two stars.
How far the Bucks will go this year won’t ride solely on how well their pairing in Giannis and Khris Middleton plays, but it will be important. Luckily for them the number of duos residing in the Eastern Conference is numerically low, though that only puts off the problem of facing the likes of LeBron-AD, Kawhi-George, or Harden-Westbrook a little while longer.
Under the knife: Exposing America’s youth basketball crisis (ESPN)
Not at all directly related to the Bucks (maybe you could link Donte DiVincenzo’s totally healthy foot problems to this), but a fascinating topic worth looking into as the league contemplates opening the high school floodgates again.
Given the level of competition that goes into trying to reach the very top of athletics and the sheer amount of money involved it is inevitable that kids will have the workload put on their bodies increased more and more. At some point those kids tend to specialize in one sport and run their bodies through the rigor of the same stressful motions for 20, 30, and 40 hours a week between practices, scrimmages, and countless games. That, of course, is when their still developing bodies break down.
The sight of a 12 year-old with a torn ACL was once a rarity. Now it’s commonplace and the same can be said for those as young as eight. And, once a catastrophic injury is sustained, these kids often don’t get a chance to fully rehab before succumbing to the innumerable pressures pushing them to “get back out there” before another tear, a break, or other trauma befalls them.
NBA teams may have the most advanced sports medicine and care that money can buy, but how much will that matter if ever more draftees are coming in with improperly healed joints? Beyond that, what price is being paid personally by these children and society writ large by a growing chunk of people who will mature with potential maladies plaguing them for life?
Again, this isn’t something the will play out on a nightly basis for the Bucks, but it’s something to watch given Donte’s troublesome foot and similar lingering concerns for Malcolm Brogdon before he departed for Indiana.
Kosta Koufos Drawing Interest from Bucks, Raptors, Pistons, Kings (Bleacher Report)
I mean, if we’re already bringing in all of the Antetokounmpos, why not extend the invitation to members of the Greek National Team? What’s Nick Calathes up to these days? That Papagiannis guy should be like a mega Giannis given his name. Hell, Tyler Dorsey could be worth a look as well.
The Social Media Section
Brandon Jennings continuing to be an enthusiastic avatar that floats around the franchise is the best of all possible timelines
The Giannis MVP ceremony from yesterday for those who missed it!
"I want to thank my teammates...I'm not the MVP. WE ARE THE MVP. My teammates are the MVP also."@Giannis_An34's MVP Celebration: pic.twitter.com/0VmzSbNhXw— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 14, 2019
"It's a realistic goal to win a championship...there are probably four or five teams that can say that. And we're one of them."@Giannis_An34 sits with @Paschketball to discuss the MVP and more: pic.twitter.com/VToJUVvzGe— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 14, 2019
From the bottom of my heart: Congrats Khris!
Coming from a big family, I understand how important it is to be raised right & led in the right direction. Raising a family is not a easy task, but my guy @EBled2 makes it look fun & exciting! I’m glad ya’ll are staying in Milwaukee…looking forward to making some big moves on— Khris Middleton (@Khris22m) July 11, 2019
RIP Fletcher Mageeites & Hamilton’s Faithful
Fletcher Magee to sign with Monbus Obradoiro?https://t.co/qRuRX3C5hh— Sportando (@Sportando) July 13, 2019
Daçka Ailesi'ne hoşgeldin Johnny Hamilton!— Darüşşafaka Basket (@dackabasket) July 13, 2019
Welcome to Daçka Family! @johnny_tall #BirlikteGüçlüyüz #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/7IVv1TawrL
...I’d have stayed with Nike if they flew me around in their private jet too, tbh
I like Eric’s newest headband
I’m sure Giannis is working hard on his interior defen...
Pat: Giannis, can you touch the rim without jumping?— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 12, 2019
Marques Johnson: Best man among us?
Don’t forget Dorsey High’s own Uncle Denny https://t.co/0TM0KZxSr4— Marques Johnson (@olskool888) July 9, 2019
This feels like the right note to end on
Lol at them ending this with Giannis decimating Jon Leuer.— Adam Robert Paris (@adamrparis) July 15, 2019
What a way to say goodbye https://t.co/XY9aeb9DtV
Looking at my definitive list of “Bucks things worth getting excited about” we’ve got the following options left:
- FIBA World Cup play (feat. Giannis, Thanasis, and potentially Khris)
- Bango and Robin Lopez’s first mud wrestling match
- Whatever the heck happens with that Koufos rumor
That’s... literally it. We’ve officially hit the dry spell, folks. I’d encourage you to stick around Brew Hoop as we navigate these parched deserts together, but I won’t blame you for taking a well-deserved break from basketball.