You just struggle to imagine Herb Kohl doing something like this. Caught, at the launch party for a drink brand he founded with Michael Jordan, waxing poetic to the fine folks at TMZ about a “lifetime pact” with the Antetokounmpos. Kohl, the consummate politician, would’ve worked his way out of that jam without any sort of committal and a few well-placed references to bubblers or something of that nature.
The Bucks are truly living in the 21st Century.
You see, for all of Kohl’s faults (and there were plenty) his stature was a far-cry from what the billionaires from New York wield. That doesn’t make the new guys bad, just radically different from the way things used to be run. Such a change has resulted in the best season in decades, a shiny new arena, and a hefty return on investment. But with all that success comes the slow creep of 21st Century woes: Milwaukee could exist as a backwater hiding its superstar from the prying eyes of the ever-hungry media. Now, with the owners leading the way, the Bucks are putting themselves out there for the world to see.
Say hi to the new guys; they’re pretty different from the old guys.
That the Bucks haven’t been to Madison since the 2016-2017 season for either training camp or a preseason game is pretty surprising, but the team will be making its return to campus next week when camp officially opens October 1st.
Since the Herd opened up shop in Oshkosh the Bucks plan for picking up fans state-wide seems to have largely boiled down to winning. That’s proven a viable strategy (as shown by the copious Bucks t-shirts and hats you can see from Minneapolis to Manitowoc and from Racine to Rhinelander), but is a marked change from years past where players would be sent on tours around Wisconsin spreading the good word.
Lacking trips to Antigo aside, the season is coming up quick as the first preseason action begins on October 7th in Chicago. Be Milwaukee, be excited.
GM Jon Horst Exclusive Interview (Bucks YouTube)
The angles and lighting aren’t superb in this one, but the only real chance we get to see GM Jon Horst talk at length about the team is via sitdowns like this one with Jim Paschke.
Horst hits on many aspects of the offseason that was and strikes one as an individual that is slowly coming into his own as a figure within the team. Gone are the days of the wide-eyed guy who gets to be Jason Kidd’s or the owners’ shadow; he’s still wide-eyed, but with a EOY award under his belt something of a confident GM is emerging.
NBA All-Decade: Giannis Antetokounmpo Headlines Players to Watch in 2020s (Sports Illustrated)
What’s most striking about this list is just how far apart Giannis is from his contemporaries in terms of projected success over the next decade. Anthony Davis is a great player, and you never know what the likes of Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic can turn into, but there’s really nobody in his age bracket that strikes as a no-doubt better player than Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Warriors ‘Not the Concern in the Least’ in Giannis Antetokounmpo Pursuit (Heavy.com) & Bucks Owner Wes Edens We Want Giannis For LIFE ... Such A Special Person (TMZ Sports)
For those who don’t hang much around the environs of ESPN there was a bit of a small dust-up created by the “revelation” by Ramona Shelburne that, quote: “Giannis to the Warriors could happen if he enters free agency”.
Thankfully the fine folks at TMZ hunted down Bucks co-owner and Trust the Results guy Wes Edens to find if the team really wants to keep Giannis. His answer — that the Bucks want Giannis around for life — is unsurprising, but we did learn that Edens has a new tequila brand for all of us little people to enjoy for the reasonable price of $110 a bottle.
New Tournament Format Introduced For 2019 MGM Resorts NBA G League Winter Showcase In Las Vegas (GLeague.com)
G-League franchises continue morphing into testing grounds for nascent basketball strategies before they’re implemented at the NBA level, and now the league looks set to see just how viable a mid-season tournament can be as Adam Silver continues mulling over the idea.
The formatting seems a bit convoluted breaking 28 teams down into a four-team championship bracket and the other 24 into six-team mini-brackets, but a $100,000 team prize for players who are making somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000 should prove an interesting motivator. Not only that, but the tourney will coincide with the G-League’s “Winter Showcase” which traditionally serves as the main mid-season scouting combine for teams interested in trolling through the minor league’s talent base.
How the Wisconsin Herd will approach the format is unknown. Last year’s Showcase saw plenty of Christian Wood and Donte DiVincenzo minutes, but the purpose of the event is meant for guys scrapping it day in and day out in Oshkosh for a shot at their pro dream.
Tampering is the new hot thing in NBA offseason parlance, and copious pearl clutching about teams meeting with players and players talking to players before July 1st appears to have forced the NBAs hand. Problem is, nobody has a clue whether enforcement will actually follow this latest round of rule-setting.
It’s not wrong to doubt just how committed the NBA is to cracking down in any but the most blatant cases of “tampering”. The behind-closed-doors intrigues and continuous team roster churn has played a role in fueling the league’s growth as a cultural icon, and player scheming is nigh impossible to really put a stop to. Milwaukee sits as the latest team in the crosshairs of outside vultures, but that assumes Giannis shares a similar mindset to his American-born competitors and sees it as the natural next evolution in his career to join up with Steph Curry as Charlotte Hornets or something.
The Social Media Section
You expect George Hill to stop at Lambeau and not shotgun a can full of liquid?
Lanky Vlog alert
Giannis’s casual sneaker game as strong as his athletic one
Eri Bledsoe: Future Bucks starting PG?
Cam might be the first two-way guy I’ve seen actually embrace the Herd in any social media medium
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a freak. He's increased his true shooting percentage (almost) every year despite his usage going up and up. pic.twitter.com/K6FDTqN5kh— Bucks Film Room (@BucksFilmRoom) September 21, 2019
Definitely not a huge fan of any of these
The @bucks rewrote the game on giving away quality designer like T-shirts as giveaways. Hats are next. The BMO Harris Bucks Custom Cap series features three hats designed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Eric Bledsoe and a local college student, Autumn Harrington. pic.twitter.com/grMdfQeied— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 20, 2019
Can’t wait to see you all in next week’s Media Day Game Thread
Alright everyone, whoever sent this can reveal themselves now
A message I received about a recent article. You can’t make this stuff up lol pic.twitter.com/GfEbHq7cIR— Bucks Film Room (@BucksFilmRoom) September 17, 2019
What can’t this guy do?
️ ⛳️ ... 3 sport athlete??? https://t.co/vN4RBpmJGe— Pat Connaughton (@pconnaughton) September 17, 2019
With Media Day fast approaching, it feels appropriate to close this week with a preview of everyone’s favorite game: NBA Media Day Bingo!
My locks? “100% healthy” for Donte DiVincenzo (who may or may not be healthy), “all our guys are on the same page” being the company line from day one, and “15 pounds of muscle” for DJ Wilson who has about seven days to accomplish that feat.