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Monday Morning Media Roundup: July 20th, 2020

The “Return of Riley’s really bad, no good, downright awful weekly predictions” Edition

2020 NBA Restart - All Access Practice Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

There’s nothing in the reporting on Eric Bledsoe’s Covid-19 diagnosis that suggests we should be worried. He’s feeling relatively good, has stayed connected to his teammates through the power of Call of Duty, and will hopefully not miss a beat whenever he arrives in Orlando. Given the wide variance of health outcomes from the disease, that’s as good an outcome as you can hope for if you contract it.

Still, of the team’s Big Three, discussions on fragility in post-season play often center around Bledsoe. He’s played extremely well in his third season with Milwaukee, but he played pretty well in the seasons prior before *slightly* struggling against the Celtics and Raptors in respective years. Because of the diagnosis and the NBA’s stringent guidelines set up to minimize potential spread in The Bubble, Bledsoe will likely miss this current training camp and maybe a few of the “seeding” games prior to The Bubble Playoffs.

Will it matter? That’s a good question with no good answer.

The safe bet is to say that it won’t: Mike Budenholzer’s system has been drilled into the players’ heads so that picking up the pieces should be rather easy, Bledsoe presumably kept in shape during the months-long break and a few weeks off won’t set him too far back, and the presence of George Hill/resurgent Donte DiVincenzo can likely absorb minutes if called upon. Yet I can’t help but fret a tiny bit at the thought of the team’s lead PG slumping through stretches of critical games while getting his feet under him. During last year’s ECF Budenholzer stuck by Bledsoe as a starter while hedging with more Hill minutes as the series dragged on; unfortunately, the challenge of striking that balance may remain this year even under different circumstances.

I’m prone to melodrama, so take it all with a grain or thirty of salt. I anticipate being wrong because we’re in the midst of the Season of Destiny, yet we’re already in deeply uncharted waters. Having a player sidelined by a virus with unclear short- and long-term repercussions on his health may not make or break Milwaukee’s chances, but it certainly won’t help.

Let’s roundup!

Momentum Lost? (Bleacher Report)

This story underlines much of what is still unknown for Milwaukee as they enter their second post-season with Mike Budenholzer at the helm. The concerns about how much of a load Giannis has to handle combined with the reliability in a four-game sample of his teammates, while lessened, remain to some extent.

However, while the Bucks lost the key differentiator of Home Court Advantage and had its hottest shooters kept off a court for months, they’ve also had time to heal up and rebuild their equilibrium. It’s one thing to try and contain Giannis when he’s playing in game 95 of the calendar year and something else when he’s had months to rest. That alone may be enough to compensate for any other weaknesses Milwaukee may have.

The NBA’s Pre-shutdown Moves That Could Decide the East (The Ringer)

No, I didn’t forget that Marvin Williams is a Buck. YOU forgot that Marvin Williams is a Buck.

A slick add by GM Jon Horst, Williams was already picking up a sizable minute allocation shortly after arriving in Milwaukee. To me, it’s the Nikola Mirotic experiment 2.0 with a guy who is a bit older, perhaps more useful as a perimeter defender, and as much of a question mark as any shooter is in a tight situation. It’s always a gamble when you’re adding a guy into a mix mid-season, but if it’s Marvin or DJ Wilson in spot minutes in the ECF I think I know which way I’d lean.

Brook Lopez doubles as chemistry professor for Milwaukee Bucks (Wisconsin State Journal)

The main thing I gathered from this story is that Budenholzer likely has a disturbingly deep wine cave in every home he occupies where he “analyzes” film after a glass or three. Players are brought in solo or in pairs and the vintage offered them is wholly dependent on their adherence to the vaunted Five Blue Box system. Guy probably has a sick cheese collection, too...

Which is why it’s good he has a Disney sommelier on-staff in the forms of Brook and Robin Lopez. Only problem is that they’re allowed to order from a single producer.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Where Is the Outrage Over Anti-Semitism in Sports and Hollywood? (Hollywood Reporter)

This was one of the more eloquent statements I’ve read by any individual in the entertainment world, much less the basketballing one, about a problem as deeply rooted as anti-semitism. Not that current players are under any obligation to step forth and answer for the utterances of retired players, but it’d have been strange for there to be a totally muted response from the whole industry. It’s heartening that a guy with the stature of Kareem chose to speak up, though.

Why I’m Rooting For the Milwaukee Bucks to Win the NBA Championship — And You Should Too (Canis Hoopus)

We see the solidarity of our slightly northwestern neighbors (or, in my case, my literal neighbors) and salute them in acknowledgment of the support. Their fandom may be based on the need to live vicariously through another small franchise having success, but we welcome them to our number regardless.

The Knicks’ front office has finished head coach interviews, were reportedly “wowed” by Jason Kidd (Posting & Toasting)


The Social Media Section

Season of Destiny takes a new turn

...I must’ve missed the voting registration cut-off date

I wonder what DJ means by this

He also bodied Thon Maker for not knowing how to hold a Playstation controller

Mickey (AKA Brook in a giant mouse costume) moves in mysterious ways

Be like Giannis, please. It’s not that hard and/or restrictive

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Mask on !

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Play with purpose

Finals MVP in this young man’s future?

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Good to be back

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Recovery time in the bubble @divincenzo #nbabubble #nba

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Riley’s 2020 NBA BUBBLE Prediction Record: 0-0

retiredjanitor’s 2020 NBA BUBBLE Prediction Record: 0-0

Ah yes, the return of my (friendly) nemesis at long last. You all may not count this week’s two (!!!!!!!) scrimmages against the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings as “real” “games” worth “predicting” or “gambling on”, but it’s been MONTHS since I last got to assemble the above graphic. So what if they’re going to feature 40 minutes of DJ and Sterling buddy ball?

Anyways, I'm guessing the Bucks will go ultra conservative with their minute allocation as they ease the big names back into something of a routine. Budenholzer blatantly doesn’t care about certain games depending on the wider context and I can’t imagine the scrimmages prior to the seeding games that all mean almost nothing to Milwaukee will rank highly in his “give a damn” list.

0-2, but at least we’ll enjoy it on a fuzzy YouTube stream somewhere.

Happy Monday!