On your marks. Get set. Go!
Or so went Jon Horst last Thursday during the team’s “town hall” event when asked whether the Bucks would indeed be offering Giannis Antetokounmpo a full five-year, $247 million supermax extension.
Not that we didn’t already know it was coming, but the theoretical is rapidly coming into contact with reality now that an extension date is within view.
As the Bucks apparently assemble in New York City for the pre-training camp training camp (per DJ Wilson’s, Donte DiVincenzo’s, and Eric Bledsoe’s Instagram stories) this specific storyline will only gain more traction in the league-wide discourse. The team will do everything possible to shut the talk out, but it’ll seep no matter what. Whether they can rally together to put paid to the speculation is just another key driver for the season to come.
Top 100 NBA Players of 2020 (Sports Illustrated)
A list such as SI’s isn’t definitive per se, but it’s pretty close in terms of media tabulated rankings. The goal of the exercise is to combine subjective evaluations with numerical datasets to determine how good each player is in a vacuum.
The Bucks made it onto the list four times with the starting unit consisting of Brook Lopez (66), Eric Bledsoe (46), Khris Middleton (27), and Giannis Antetokounmpo (1). Headlining that group is Antetokounmpo’s placement atop the league which, given how fluid the mountaintop can be, may mostly be a nod to his MVP reign as any night could see the likes of LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Steph Curry, etc. make their own case.
Milwaukee’s next challenge is to feed Donte DiVincenzo so many open threes and offensive rebounds that he cracks 100. Do your thing, Budenholzer.
Predictable, inevitable, the least surprising bit of contract news since... uh, the last time the Bucks worked out a contract with Giannis.
Only he will know what it is that will get him to sign on the dotted line, and the rumors that a 2020 Finals appearance is a must shouldn’t be discounted. A bet that losing Malcolm Brogdon can be offset by a dilution of the Eastern Conference as a whole feels risky, but that’s the nature of having a young superduperstar on his third contract: If you want him to forgo (mirage-like) pastures elsewhere you’ve got to make it his with more than money.
Team USA hits historic low at FIBA World Cup (ESPN) & Struggling Lopez needs to make a splash for Team USA (ESPN)
I wanted to include both of these not only to highlight the futility of this edition of Team USA, but to reinforce the decreasing odds that Khris Middleton or Brook Lopez will get call-ups for the 2020 Olympics while Gregg Popovich is the MNT coach.
Part of that will be due to the assumption of higher participation rates by the US’s top stars, and part can be assigned to lackluster performances wrought partially by a scheme that didn’t seem to get much out of either player. Whereas the Bucks thrive because of Lopez and Middleton and their skillsets, Team USA never necessarily made either focal points.
Is that Popovich doing his friend Mike Budenholzer a solid? Potentially, but it was a disappointing World Cup for the Bucks regardless.
Why Khris Middleton Returned To The Bucks | Exclusive Interview (YouTube)
SPOILER: For lots and lots of money.
The Milwaukee Bucks hire Zora Stephenson as new sideline and digital reporter (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Katie George will inevitably be a tough act for Ms. Stephenson to follow, but at least we now know who will be filling in as the third member of FS Wisconsin broadcasts this coming season! And she comes in having four years of college basketball under her belt? Even better.
The Social Media Section
Really glad people will be reasonable about the Greek team getting bounced in 2.5 seconds
Love the new artwork, Cam
Best of luck, Blake — fulfill your Jonathan Simmons-esque fate
Oshkosh native.— Wisconsin Herd (@WisconsinHerd) September 15, 2019
Oshkosh North graduate.
Blake Marquardt was 1 of 70 players at today’s open tryout for the Herd and by the end, the hometown kid was 1 of 4 invited to Sunday’s tryout in Milwaukee. #HerdUp pic.twitter.com/kxUv4SXMwZ
Good video for a good cause
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and once again I’m standing with my friends at @twloha to say that #YouMakeTodayBetter. Together we can reduce stigma and save lives. Visit https://t.co/m0Kfk5SXHu to learn more. #WSPD19 pic.twitter.com/MXs9GfdScz— Kyle Korver (@KyleKorver) September 11, 2019
Hm, Robin might be onto something
If the NBA really wants the Ninja Headbands done with, they should have asked somebody like me to wear them. It would be like seeing Betty White dab or something. The trend would be *dead*— Robin Lopez (@rolopez42) September 11, 2019
Think about it @NBA
This week in “former Bucks around the globe”
If the Bucks truly are meeting up for a pre-camp it just drives home just how short of an offseason Giannis & Co. have had. He kicked it off with his signature shoe and a requisite media tour, training with the Greek national team, FIBA play, and whatever downtime he’s had in the few days since Greece got bounced.
That’s not a lot of extra training time to work on his jump shot, perfect his “guard” mindset in hopes of snapping opponent walls in half, or to simply relax and give his knee a break. Greece didn’t utilize him in as central a role as may have been expected which shall help his conditioning which is something of a blessing, yet there should be a note of caution when assuming that 2019-2020 Giannis will be radically different in style from MVP Giannis. It’s the smallest problem imaginable, but something to keep in mind.