Part of me had hoped I’d open this week’s MMMR with a long soliloquy about how Giannis had brought us a form of salvation particular to sports fans alone, but instead we’re collectively twiddling our thumbs in anticipation of his decision.
And that’s okay! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will Giannis’s hand be moved to grab a ballpoint pen to sign a very valuable piece of paper. We can then pretend that the wait was all worth it when he eventually signs. Because he is going to sign, right? RIGHT?
Until he gets around to it we get to instead take a gander at the current iteration of the Milwaukee Bucks and ponder whether we’re actually any better than we were a year ago. I started my own evaluation with an “in, out, holdover” chart:
The Roster 2020-2021
The big outs (in my mind) are Bledsoe, Hill, Matthews, and Robin, and so we need to go down the line of the “In” group to see whether we’ve sufficiently filled those gaps.
- Jrue Holiday is the hoped-for upgrade over Eric
- George Hill was unique as our sixth-man, and no one-to-one replacement was acquired
- Wes Matthews was a valuable piece who was underutilized; could the likes of Forbes or year-three Donte be enough to fill the gap?
- Robin played next to zero minutes in the playoffs, and while Bobby Portis is undersized to be a backup, at least we will no longer employ our starting C’s literal twin
Which is to say... it’s a so-so series of stopgaps. The hope is that Jrue does enough to avoid the pitfall of having a starting guard who is detrimental to have on the court. If that’s the best-case scenario, though, that means the difference making falls again on the shoulders of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Mike Budenholzer. Will that trio have enough in them the third time around to get this vague roster over the top? Maybe, but they haven’t had a long offseason to add much to their skillsets, and I have no idea what to expect from Budenholzer.
Are we in the middle of an all-out charm offensive to welcome Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee (sponsored by whatever the hell a “Tonal” is)? You’re damn right we are.
You could look at all these nice pieces and interviews and everything around Jrue as a front for a modern workout equipment manufacturer looking to boost their sales on the back of a professional athlete on the move to another town due to the machinations of NBA roster building, or you could ignore all that, enjoy the fact that it seems Jrue and his wife Lauren are great people who have said all the right things so far, and then enjoy this non-sponsored video of Jrue doing the damn thing on both ends of the floor:
You have to give the guy credit: Budenholzer has no intention whatsoever of bowing to the expectations of coach speak no matter the circumstances. It could be game six of the ECF, first day of preseason camps, or the fourth game on a Western Conference road trip and he’ll not bely even an ounce of worry.
Maddening though it may be for us plebs, I suppose I’d rather that than a coach who is visibly strained beyond his normal demeanor. Just, you know, have some plays you can call when things get tough, Bud.
The Journal Sentinel fulfilled my dream. Now I’m leaving to make another dream possible & Jim Owczarski is named the new Milwaukee Bucks beat reporter for the Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
A shuffling of the deck this past week at the Journal Sentinel sees beat reporter Matt Velazquez leaving the JS while Packer beat writer Jim Owczarski steps into the role.
First, we want to wish Matt and his family the best of luck on their next journey (his wife is pursuing her dream of going to medical school; a heady calling). Sports beats are often a grueling battle of logistics combined with long stretches of time away from loved ones, yet Matt grew into a key presence as part of Milwaukee’s small cadre of local reporters. Matt was also incredibly welcoming to me when I had the pleasure of covering a game for the site, and I credit the fact that I’m not trapped inside a janitor’s closet in the Forum to his allowing me to shadow him all night long.
And a warm welcome to Jim to our small insane corner of the internet!
Assuming the NBA is able to hang tough during the regular season, if vaccines don't roll out to our athletes prior to the playoffs there is every chance we get The Bubble 2.0 next summer. If that’s the case, there may be some lessons to learn from the first go-around in Orlando. And anyways, GQ’s Taylor Rooks has some pretty good stories from time spent on the inside with a bunch of seven-footers retaining their sanity during a stretch of time isolated from the rest of the world.
Know Your Enemy
Dallas Mavericks - Mav’s Moneyball - New pieces in Dallas bring defense, but offense could elevate Mavericks to the top of the NBA
Dallas will be heading into this season without too many massive shifts to their lineup, and everything still revolves around Luka Doncic, but can they maintain the furious offensive pace they notched a year ago?
Fan Post of the Week
Now this is what we call dedication to the basketball fan craft. Hell, I didn’t even know the Knicks existed anymore, yet was reminded that they actually have a team thanks to R983’s work!
Oh, and as a little carrot to entice you, our dear readers, to generate us some of that good, great, and gracious content, our other Fan Post of the Week comes from the one (and only) stoneAge’s “Bucks, Team and Individual Goals”.
Fine work from both of you!
The Social Media Section
Wonder what he meant by this
Season of Khrismas pt. 3
Oh yeah, happy (belated) birthday Giannis
What if Kyle Korver, but new?
Who, this? Yeah, she’s my uh... third cousin twice removed on my great-uncle’s side
NBA teams’ traveling parties are allowed only up to two guests in hotel rooms: Family members or longtime close personal friends who reside in the city. Traveling parties are strongly discouraged from interactions with those not associated with the team.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 5, 2020
Riley’s 2020 Preseason Prediction Record: 0-0
retired janitor’s 2020 Preseason Prediction Record: 0-0
It’s a little strange to have games back so soon after last season’s conclusion, but whatever, the Mavs are here and it is time to get it on! Dallas is coming to town for two games in Milwaukee, the first being this Saturday, December 12th. Which means I get to take a couple of swings in the batter’s cage before these predictions count for real.
retired janitor will again assume the position of the eternal optimist who believes that “math” and “statistics” and “the way things work” should lead your average bettor to gamble on the Bucks winning. Well phooey to all that, I say! The Bucks will have few reasons to give their starters more than five minutes to start the game, and from there on out it’ll be the Bryn Forbes & DJ Wilson Show. A loss to start the preseason and to kick the Giannis chatter into overdrive if a supermax hasn’t been signed by then. This year will be a lot like last year, only crazier.