If you’re just waking up, taking your first sip of coffee, and reading this, happy Labor Day! I hope you’ve got a whole day of nothing more than relaxation and enjoying our probable last bit of good weather before the snows come to ravage us all once again.
Our countdown to the momentous occasion felt overlong, a bit contrived, and worked as nothing more than space filler. Now, we’re in the thick of FIBA World Cup action and... the games start at something like 5:00 or 6:00 AM on Tuesdays and Tuesdays only. Barring some strange collapse, most of the teams featuring Bucks should make it through this opening round to knockout phases, but round-robin ball is better than no ball at all.
Elsewhere this week we’ll check in on what it’s like being Brook Lopez’s (perceived) lesser twin, get a feel for the trends of the NBA season to come, and reveal a special guest DJ Wilson has been spending time with this offseason.
FIBA World Cup roundup (Sept. 1): Giannis Antetokounmpo, Evan Fournier and Matthew Dellavedova shine (NBA.com)
Yeah yeah yeah that Giannis guy and his dominance in 16 short minutes is cool and all, but how in the hell did Matthew Dellavedova score 24 points while nabbing five rebounds and five assists? By my count, Delly did no more than rack up a high of 18 points while a Buck yet one game into World Cup play and he’s sinking Canada.
Elsewhere, the other Buck doing big things was our own Ersan Ilyasova who put in 19 points and 10 rebounds to help pace Turkey past Japan, 86-67.
No Bucks are in action today, but Ersan will be facing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez when Turkey and the US play tomorrow the 3rd.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: “We have no ceiling on this team” (Eurohoops)
If Giannis is honest about his desire to win the tournament gold no matter the cost, he better hope that his proclamation of limitless possibilities comes true.
While having the planet’s best player on your team raises your floor it’ll only get you so far. Especially if, as was apparently the case last week, that player has recurrent knee issues that prevents him from being available at all times
There might be enough talent around Giannis to enable a deep run with opponents that are spread a bit more thin, but at what cost to Antetokounmpo’s condition?
A Brave New World: The Five Teams That Can Beat Team USA (The Ringer)
It’ll never not impress me just how deep basketball culture and talent runs in places like Serbia, France, or Lithuania. While none of them churn out players at the prolific rate the US does, they’ve all grown enough to be named legit contenders when Team USA shows up with something less than their A-Team.
For those foreign NBA players taking part in competition, I’m sure they all view a chance to topple Team USA as the best shot at lasting accomplishments that may have eluded them in their pro careers. The stars have aligned so that Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, or Giannis can grab the spotlight from their American peers; Team USA has a target on its back and not nearly the overwhelming pieces to make it all a moot point.
NBA preseason predictions: Our experts’ picks for 2019-20 & Answering the biggest questions about the next NBA MVP race (ESPN)
Plenty of Giannis-centric info here with ESPNers tapping Giannis for another MVP year, an ~80% agreement that he will end up signing an extension with Milwaukee, and that he’ll be leading the Bucks to second-best odds at a Finals trophy.
Now that we no longer call Giannis the MVP we can start considering what conditions he’ll need next season to repeat. The winning will presumably be there as will the production. Issues arise when considering factors beyond Milwaukee’s control, like another scorching offensive year from James Harden, an undeniable ascendance of Nikola Jokic, and whatever happens with the pair of superstar duos with the Clippers and Lakers.
Examining Wilson Chandler’s Suspension for PEDs and Infrequency of Steroids in the NBA (Sports Illustrated)
Somewhat out of left field and controversial for the final story today: PEDs in basketball.
To be honest, I’m unsure of where I fall on this topic whether it be the prevalence of PEDs in the sport or whether the NBA has an obligation to be as strict as possible about restricting their usage. Far be it for me to declare that the league is “soft” on substances consumed by its players, but to have such a minuscule number of players test positive in a decade-plus of modern testing feels too good to be true.
Unlike other sports like baseball or MMA, basketball has yet to push PEDs front and center to the culture of the activity. Barring the league putting the clamps down in a radical and unexpected way this may continue to be a topic that exists beneath the surface brought forth only when a guy annually pops for some PED and gets a suspension handed his way.
The Social Media Section
Note: Instagram embeds seem to no longer allow a preview. While I work to figure out the issue please note that any linked text will take you to the next astounding DJ Wilson post.
DJ Wilson + Christian Wood = Amazing
I don’t think I’ll be buying Freak 1s, but I sure do like some of these Greek colorways
“Too blessed to be stressed” is the new “I’m paiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid”
Bet it took Ersan seven seconds to execute the step-back that led to this shot
Congrats to Kane — he deserved this opportunity after the year he put in in Milwaukee
Some nice news: I've been fortunate enough to get an opportunity to take a role as Media Manager with Basketball Australia.— Kane Pitman (@KanePitman) August 30, 2019
It's a short term role for now, but with a HUGE few months of National Team basketball ahead at all levels, it's going to be a whole lot of fun.
Joe Johnson is thiiiis close to fulfilling his destiny and becoming a Buck
Ex-NBA guard Joe Johnson is in Philadelphia and is working out for the Sixers tomorrow, a source told @espn @TheUndefeated. The MVP of @thebig3 also is expected to work out for the Clippers, Bucks & Nuggets. Joe Johnson & the Triplets are playing in the Big 3 title game Sunday.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) August 28, 2019
Funny Joe Johnson story. After a rough team stretch in Brooklyn, Joe got to the gym early next practice to get shots up. Front office watching. Out of nowhere, Joe yells out:— Gray Area Sports Group (@IamRichGray) August 29, 2019
“Whatever y’all do, don’t trade me to Philly.”
Joe is a man of few words. Everyone broke out laughing.
* curious eyes emoji *
Good week of work in Milwaukee— Frank Mason (@FrankMason0) August 29, 2019
This was really good Brook Lopez content
The fans wanted Brook Lopez in the game, so Coach Pop granted them their wish!— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 26, 2019
: NBA TV | @FIBAWC pic.twitter.com/lvIVeAyrBN
Giannis, on the off chance you’re reading this please know that it’s OK to choose to bow out of Greek NT commitments. Just look at every top-tier American player! Almost to a man they decided that the season to come took precedence over medals that probably aren’t even real gold.
If you agree, get knee “tightness” two gamedays in a row and we’ll know to send Dragan Bender on his Croatian superyacht to fish you out of China.