Quarantine, week 2: I’ve found myself mentally wandering not continually into the realm of basketball left unplayed, but into trying to imagine what it was humans have done over the centuries to cope with pandemics. Pestilence has been mankind’s shadow since, well, the dawn of time, and history is replete with stories of flight to the countryside and away from others to cope with the spread of disease (even if germ theory wasn’t even an idea).
I wonder at it because there’s been a lot of content, and I mean a LOT of content, wondering just how it is we’ll overcome boredom during this extended stay indoors. Without basketball, the air has been sucked out of the discourse, and now many aren’t turning their attention to other things in the meantime. It’s concerning that there’s so much concern about how we can remain entertained while we do our part to spare our health systems from back-breaking surges.
So, without too much to be discussed regarding these current Bucks, my suggestion to those who find endless Netflix consumption to be burdensome, who are tired of being stuck down a YouTube hole of beekeeping, or stuck on social media without much reason to be there, is to read a book! People have been writing books for a very long time, they’re usually pretty long, and most of them have either an entertainment or knowledge value that other media struggle to adequately replicate. Not everyone will have access to physical books in the home or proper e-readers, but even reading from your mobile device is doable.
And if basketball is what you’re craving, there’s plenty out there to fill up on as well. Don’t let boredom win, people. We live at the apex of the Information Age; take advantage of it.
Khris Middleton is staying ready for when he and the Milwaukee Bucks can resume their quest for history (ESPN) & When there’s nowhere to work out, NBA teams are bringing the gym to the players (ESPN)
A duo of stay-ready ethos pieces here, one regarding Khris Middleton specifically and the other dealing with how teams around the league are coping with players cooped up indoors.
For Middleton, I can’t imagine the break is doing wonders for him like it might for older teammates who can use this time to heal up. Khris was on pace for a career year in overall output and scoring efficiency (just a hair shy of a 50/40/90 season as it stands today) and much of his effectiveness over the course of a season is the week-in, week-out rhythm he unlocks offensively. Running on a treadmill and lifting weights will hopefully keep him in playing shape, but that flow he’s been on for awhile has been totally interrupted.
Beyond Khris, for the rest of the roster it sounds like the Bucks have taken the unorthodox step of tearing apart their weight room and giving pieces of it to players depending on how much space they have. Besides that there isn’t much more than monitoring over devices and hoping the guys stick to diet plans. These guys are professionals, but a break is a break and it’s up to them to maintain a decent level of fitness before returning to work.
Opponents describe the unenviable task of trying to guard Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (Journal Sentinel)
I’ve always imagined it to be unbelievably deflating to be on the receiving end of a dominant showing by Giannis Antetokounmpo. Sure, these days he can hit you from three and make the 30 feet of space you gave him look silly, but more often than not he’s still slicing and hammering your entire defense into pieces.
Lori Nickel at the MJS got a couple of good quotes out of players regarding that very situation. While it’s tough and requires a higher level of focus thanks to Giannis’s speed and skillset, what may be most valuable is the energy Giannis forces opponents to bleed defensively to keep him in check. Maybe you get him to miss slightly more than normal, but at what cost when you’re tuckered out on the other end of the floor?
For those of you worried that LeBron Inc. was going to swoop in and steal Giannis’s MVP trophy this season after a weekend of (admittedly excellent) play, worry not: According to an ESPN strawpoll of local and national writers, Giannis was still set to nab the award running away.
Now, whether that would’ve kept up had the Bucks continued to putter about while James and the Lakers surged to the top overall seed? Who knows, but the rhetoric was getting dangerously heated there for a moment.
The Social Media Section
If you’ve been waiting for an explanation to one of the most random memes from last season, here’s Ja Rule giving you his side of the story
Scott Williams out here making an ironclad case for coronation as the GOAT
The BC rocked in 2001.— Scott Williams NBA (@scottwill42) March 27, 2020
1 of the loudest moments I experienced in sports. I still have hearing loss from that playoff run.
•Stern removed me from game 7.
We win if he hadn’t put is thumb on the scale.
•We were 8-0 against the top 4 western teams. 2-0 vs Lakers
I loved Milwaukee!— Scott Williams NBA (@scottwill42) March 27, 2020
I made my home in Mequon.
I loved Bucks fans, pure passion & heart. It’s the way I played the game. Hell I had to play like that cause I wasn’t blessed with talent.
Nobody ever asked me why I went at Iverson like that.
Y’all wanna no why I cracked AI or Naw?
Shoutout to Marques Johnson who remains the best among us
Godspeed, Matt (and everyone at the MJS)
The NBA has halted & the Bucks are isolating, so today marks my 1st day jumping to the News side of the @journalsentinel to help however I can. I'll be keeping an eye on social media for interesting, quirky, newsy stuff. Know something more people should know about? Hit me up.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) March 23, 2020
Giannis reaction to his girlfriend saying she was a Lakers fan growing up. pic.twitter.com/5YKEGTTzAP— (@MKEONLY) March 26, 2020
I too remember when basketball reached its apex months ago
Adam, Kyle, and I podcasted yesterday. It was our season in memoriam (sort of, hopefully not actually though)
Apologies for all my moralizing at the start of this post. It can be just a bit confusing, though, living with the resources available to a number of people (especially those who have roles that allow them to work from home uninterrupted) and hear worries about not having enough to do. Even if reading isn’t necessarily your jam, there’s plenty of old game film ready for the watching! We can do this! I have faith in our ability to maintain our tight societal bonds to lighten the blow others will take.
Wash your hands and isolate if you can, and remember...