Resolutions run the gamut from routinely unfulfilled to life-changing, though the bell curve would tend the hedge further towards the former end of that spectrum. While I tend to stay away from utilizing a relatively arbitrary point in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun as a marker of change, there is one thing I’d like to commit to: Giving these columns some fresh life.
No, not more DJ Wilson content (I like to imagine concrete increases in article engagement every time we get one of his Insta posts). Instead, I’d like to add new segments, find new angles, and try to introduce more talking points for you, the reader, to reference as further evidence that I Know Basketball.
Which is all to say that this week we’ll be including two sub-heads for your reading pleasure:
- Know Your Enemy - A quick look around the sister sites of Milwaukee’s upcoming opponents for an on-the-ground perspective of what other teams are up to
- Fanpost/Reader Content of the Week - So many of you put in such good unique work ranging from organically-generated statistical models to in-depth analyses of roster-building theories via Fanposts and in BH’s comments sections. This will be my way of saying thanks for keeping things so fresh and lively during a long season by spotlighting some of that output
Will they both stick around for the long haul? Beats me. Are there other aspects I should look to incorporate in the MMMR? Probably, and I’d love your feedback on what we could be doing. Is an already bloated “column” risking being even more bloated? You’re damn right it is.
Believe in Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the Milwaukee Bucks? (New York Times)
There are two ways to read this article:
- You open it up in your browser chuckling at the mere premise, read the author admitting they thought the Knicks would be a playoff team, and promptly close the tab
- You take into account the way last season went — regular season dominance, running through the Pistons, getting pantsed by Boston before wiping them out, and then collapsing against the Raps — and think it fair to wonder whether enough has changed at the margins to justify trust in the Bucks
Now, the world beyond Milwaukee is not static. The challenges of a year ago have shifted as opponents have morphed rosters, but that simply introduces an unknown variable to the equation of the Bucks chances of success. Still, it’s fair to objectively wonder what, if anything, might come up to challenge another strong season.
Why Khris Middleton is the NBA’s most important non-superstar (SB Nation) & End The Debate: Milwaukee Bucks’ Khris Middleton Is A Slam-Dunk All-Star (Forbes)
We just got our first batch of All-Star vote totals, and it’s looking like Khris Middleton is going to have to make the All-Star game the hard way.
Even as we worry about that contract, Khris has put together his finest efficient season as a professional. Per 36 minutes he’s notched career-highs in points (23.9), rebounds (7.3), PER (20.2), true shooting (.590), and field goal percentage (.480 overall and .396 from three which is inexplicably only his fourth-best rate).
So he’ll probably get his second consecutive all-star nod and it will be well-deserved. Now we’ve just got to get that to translate into a very meaningful series or two come this summer.
Donte Has Feel For The Game (Bucks.com) & Ten NBA things I like and don’t like, including Donte DiVincenzo is a basketball player (ESPN)
Is anyone else hot? Or am I just sweating profusely thanks to two straight months of exposure to a fully-stoked Donte’s Inferno?
Turns out I/we/literally everyone who loves cheap-ish pasta sauce aren’t the only ones catching DiVincenzo fever: Alex Boeder and Zach Lowe have caught it too!
The two compliment each other well in this tandem of articles. Approach Lowe’s quick blurb as the proverbial Ragu shot and Boeder the linguine chaser, or something. Either way, they both come to a similar conclusion: DDV knows how to play basketball.
Which is a hell of a thing considering the wishy-washy nature of his rookie season. The question is at what point feel and IQ translates into something more than the ability to do stuff. For the moment we can all soak in the ‘Cenzo Craze while the Bucks are running up the score week after week. His next step is proving that doing stuff works in the playoffs, too.
Know Your Enemy
Spurs - Pounding the Rock - After a hot start, the Spurs’ offense stalled in the second half of loss to the Bucks
- Knowing full well that the Bucks will be playing the Spurs yet again this evening, we’ll go for an easy pick here with PtR’s recap of last Saturday’s win over San Antonio. What’s most interesting is the apparently recent move away from mid-range heavy offense to something incorporating more threes. The Spurs have been gutting out a top-15 offense two straight years while taking the league’s fewest threes a game; they found early success via LaMarcus Aldridge before going quiet in the second half. Will they change it up tonight?
Warriors - Golden State of Mind - Did Vox just fire the entire Golden State of Mind staff via Twitter?
- A somber note here as a quick acknowledgement of the changes in staffing Vox is rolling out at all of our California sister sites. Most of you probably saw the news regarding the decision to cut ties with staffers at those sites in lieu of a few limited paid roles. That has translated into a quiet start to the new year for the GSOM folks as they figure out what’s next for the writers who will mostly be out by March. Also, the Warriors are a bad team. Like, vying with the Atlanta Hawks for saddest team in the league bad. Not much else to say there.
- Yikes, this feels like a bad look for everyone involved. After an impressive 2018-2019 season, the Kings reloaded with a new coach, some new players, and... currently sit at 13-22. Now, Dedmon, a 30 year-old stretchy center of previous Atlanta Hawks fame has asked out just a few months after inking a contract with Sacramento in free agency. At least Dave Joerger won’t be able to annoy Vlade Divac anymore?
Trailblazers - Blazer’s Edge - Mannix Suggests Blazers’ Front Office ‘Needs to be Bold’
- It’s really an unenviable situation: Tons of money tied up (some expiring), a year of prime Damian Lillard going to waste, and the daunting task of doing anything meaningful in the Western Conference playoffs if you’re even able to get there. That said, though Kevin Love-to-Portland has been mused for months that contract is a true doozy. Perhaps the Blazers can off-load CJ McCollum to help the cap sheet’s ballast, but there is no clear way forward for Portland.
Fanpost of the Week
Alright, we’re already adjusting in week one of the FotW because LOOK AT THIS STAT GENERATION by our own Theodore Galanos:
It’s a rough idea at this point, but I like the direction it is going. Not every site has in-house statisticians, so big credit to each and every one of you trolling the depths of NBA.com/stats to provide us all with countless insights like the above.
The Social Media Section
Totally missed this one a few weeks ago, but better late than never
Damn, Marques really went for Culver’s throat like that though
If you open a dictionary and look up “lukewarm take”, you’ll see this tweet and numerous like it
Sixers/Bucks in the second round is looking more possible by the day. And if the Bucks lose in the second round to the Sixers vs in the ECF, that is going to change the perception of where they are a lot. That's important with the upcoming Giannis decision.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) December 31, 2019
Our last ode to Rayjon, guy who gets buckets for the Jazz now
Should’ve read “nothing but $miles”, but Khris isn’t a troll
I love Cam constantly flashing the “H” signal for Herd
MMMR 2019-2020 Prediction Record: 24-13
retired janitor’s 2019-2020 Prediction Record: 32-5
I’ll keep it short and sweet since this piece turned into such a monster of an article: It’s once again time for a road trip as the Bucks head out West. They start tonight in San Antonio, play Golden State Wednesday, the Kings Friday, and the Blazers Saturday.
Normally I’d be worried about a long series of away games, but these are basement-dwelling West teams, Portland excepting. So, the Bucks will go 3-1 with the loss coming against the Blazers as the final game of the trip and second on a back-to-back.