There’s nothing I can write here that will salve the wounds prevalent among those of us who also work night shifts as Packer fans. Given the Bucks’s disappointing recent playoff history, I can’t even come up here and reassure you that there are better days ahead with this team.
Yet we have no choice but to heap all our hopes and dreams for 2021 on this weird franchise we’ve all agreed to root for. Which is what makes it all the more fitting that the Bucks will be going to Tampa Bay, Florida this week to face the Toronto Raptors. Time is an extremely flat circle in Wisconsin sports.
We’d all prefer that the result had gone in Milwaukee’s favor, and Lord knows our takeaways from last week’s game against the new-look Nets may go right out the window the moment Kyrie Irving returns, but that final quarter of basketball was objectively a joy to watch.
I encourage you, if you’re able, to go back and watch the closing minutes and revel in the shot-making. The final two minutes of NBA games are notoriously drawn out, but in this one both teams allowed their players to largely go with the flow. When the game is played at its most entertaining level, it looks something like that fourth quarter.
The Bucks Need to Use Giannis Antetokounmpo More Like Anthony Davis & Giannis May Be the Next Shaq, but He Needs a Kobe in Crunch Time (The Ringer)
Two articles here from The Ringer which make an attempt to try and solve some version of the “Giannis Puzzle”, but in this idiot’s humble opinion, feel like they miss the mark.
The problem with trying to fix Giannis by forcing him into the mold of other players is that it is an impossible task. He will not morph into a Kobe Bryant-esque “closer” shot-taker to close every tight game for the Bucks. He can’t simply pull a finesse mid-range game out of thin air to add versatility to his shot-types like Anthony Davis. He hasn’t ever really been a shut-down defender in an isolation situation and asking him to stay in contact with smaller players fails to keep Milwaukee’s system afloat and may end up in net-negative possessions.
We should be looking to nudge Giannis in healthy directions as he grows as a player, but a drastic step outside the norm wouldn’t be helpful in his development. At the end of the day, it is the responsibility of Giannis himself and the coaching staff to recognize his strengths and encourage him to put them to use alongside his teammates to help Milwaukee win. The low points are annoying, but significant alterations at a whim would be missing the forest for the trees.
You’ll be shocked to learn that “Giannis doesn’t take the last shots in a game, ergo he is not a winning player” takes were flung far and wide last week. Again, it’d be super cool if he had the skillset adept for those situations, but he doesn’t while other teammates are better suited for it. That doesn’t take away the five baskets he made in the fourth quarter and all the open attempts he got for teammates through setting screens, passing out of drives, and generally pulling defenders his way.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks might have a major free throw problem on their hands (CBS Sports)
Oh, and free throw discourse. We had plenty of free throw discourse this past week, too. We’ve officially collectively turned the corner on Giannis from “fun two-time MVP” to “fraud?”. This was inevitable the second he signed his supermax extension and the sharks have to find some new blood in the water.
You want to talk about dedication to a craft?
Know Your Enemy
- Toronto Raptors - Raptors HQ - On pesky zones, Pascal’s momentum syndrome, and the Jack/Leo imbalance
The Raptors being “worst in the same division as the New York Knicks” bad is certainly something, though they should have enough talent and coaching chops to right the ship over the course of the season. Just don’t expect many more deep playoff runs is all.
- New Orleans Pelicans - The Bird Writes - New Orleans Pelicans have lost their way, feel like the worst team in the NBA
A lot of positive vibes emanating from our upcoming opponents, I see...
The Hornets are in that weird place as a team who has guys meant to help push them to win now, but also have some young upside in the likes of LaMelo Ball. As ever, the trick is trying to bridge that gap and find an identity. We all know Michael Jordan would prefer the team win, so looking for a mid-season upgrade is certainly a route Charlotte will pursue.
Fan Post of the Week
rinclais’s “The Art of the Bucks” because I had the exact same thoughts just the other day. Communions of the mind have to be acknowledged.
(Honorable mentions go to Danny Ziolkowski’s “Plotting a Path to Defeat ‘The Wall’” piece which sparked some good discussion on that defensive strategy we’ve all come to loath — apologies for being a bit late in my acknowledgement of both)
The Social Media Section
Stay ready, Beas. Your spot in the rotation awaits.
Michael Beasley with the new look. pic.twitter.com/O7iGDiGDwi— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) January 23, 2021
Ever wanted to hear the fine folks over at Bucksketball reunite for a little reminiscing? The Teutonia World Presents: podcast had you covered last week
Co-site overlord Mitchell looks good with a mustache!
Giannis’s caption game has been crazy this year
And now in the rotation, it seems!
Literally the best follow on Instagram right now.
Riley’s 2020-2021 Prediction Record: 10-6
retired janitor’s 2020-2021 Prediction Record: 10-6
We’ve got a bit of a road trip ahead with three away games in the span of four days. I’m not sure about you guys, but that doesn’t strike me as conducive if the league is intent on trying to lower the chances of quickly spreading Covid outbreaks among teams!
Ah well, such is life.
Milwaukee starts the week Wednesday in Tampa Bay (reminder: time is a flat circle) to play the Canada-less Raptors, head to New Orleans to play the Pellies on Friday, and close the week Saturday in Charlotte.
All three teams have had their struggles, and Milwaukee loves pounding the hell out of middling opponents. Consider this a perfect week in the making.