Literally three or four weeks ago I was open to be convinced that the likes of the Philadelphia 76ers or Brooklyn Nets would be able to deny Milwaukee the East’s top slot. Since then, both of those teams have been saddled by an unending slew of bad news about uncooperative star guards. Against all odds, both situations look far from resolution just as the regular season gets underway as Ben Simmons hilariously returns to Philly’s locker room and Kyrie does Kyrie things.
Maybe fixes are on their ways in the form of trades or meaningful changes in city-specific Covid vaccine mandates, but for now I’m quietly comfortable in declaring Milwaukee the early favorites to capture the Eastern Conference. We’ve obviously got an even more advanced Giannis Antetokounmpo at the helm, and early signs indicate a still-streaking Khris Middleton and a comfortable Jrue Holiday will be reliable wingmen. Grayson Allen has shown early promise, Bobby Portis is instant bench offense, Jordan Nwora brings some intrigue, and George Hill/Semi Ojeleye/Rodney Hood all offer the lure of the unknown.
The focus will always be riding that fine line between regular season progression and setting yourself up for 16 wins when it matters most, but even a dialed-back Milwaukee might be too put-together for another pretender to deny them their throne. Parting of the Red Sea-esque by the East.
Will The Bucks Run It Back? Can LeBron Win His Fifth Ring? How Our Model Sees This NBA Season. (FiveThirtyEight)
For those who enjoy novel statistic models layered on top of ELO ratings mixed with handicaps applied to players with varying amounts of career playing time, FiveThirtyEight has something for you! Best of all, it has the Bucks sitting with a 22% chance of winning a title (best in the league).
If you’ve ever wondered what a day in the life of NBA CHAMP Bobby Portis is like, we’ve got the perfect little video for you. My favorite highlight is his being a regular customer at a Little Rock bowling alley, and of course, a day off is only complete with a pedicure.
Giannis vows to get better, no telling how good he can be (Associated Press) & Giannis Antetokounmpo: The making of ‘The Greek Freak’ (BBC) & Hot Takes We Might Actually Believe: Giannis Antetokounmpo will win his third MVP (Yahoo) & NBA MVP odds: Why Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best value on the board (CBS Sports)
Lots of good Giannis content from a bunch of outlets as they set the stage waiting to see how he progresses from the Finals. Just like the wide-open East, I’ve got a sneaky suspicion he’s going to have a good shot at another MVP. There’s no longer the “he hasn’t won” excuse to deny him, Jokic broke up his streak, and I’m not sure another player will have the kind of team success required to overawe whatever stat line Giannis puts together.
Like the rising and setting of the Sun, we’ve got Giannis working on his jump shot technique for the 9th season going. Is this the year that he finally breaks through? Is 33.3% from three too much to ask? If the jumper is real, does it raise the ceiling of just how high he can climb in the all-time rankings? IS ANY OF THIS REAL????
An N.B.A. Female ‘First’ Hopes It’s Not Such a Big Deal Soon (New York Times)
This was the kind of piece I was hoping would come out of Lisa Byington’s first few weeks on the job with the Bucks. Her background from high school athlete to masters degree holder in journalism, up through local TV newscasts and spot chances with a number of broadcast networks, the path to the Bucks job was anything but preordained. Best of luck to her this year!
Know Your Enemy
- Brooklyn Nets - Nets Daily - Kyrie Irving on IG: Doing ‘what’s best for me’ in refusal to get vaccine, expresses concerns on mandates
Stand strong, Kyrie. Don’t let them break you down, and also remember to constantly threaten retirement if the Nets try to trade you. It’s now or never.
Bucks broke Jimmy Butler-as-offensive-creator so bad that they went and traded for whatever Kyle Lowry has left in the tank as they fight for the East’s sixth seed.
- San Antonio Spurs - Pounding the Rock - Report: The Spurs are ‘preparing’ for Gregg Popovich’s retirement in 1-2 years
Curious to see whether Becky Hammon, who has been mentioned as a candidate of interest for a couple of HC openings over the past years, gets the nod here. Either way, the end of the greatest small-market era in league history is on the horizon.
Someone finally broke rj’s chokehold on the FPOTW winnings, and it’s fittingly stoneAge with “Did You Enjoy the Title Enough?” I can answer the interrogative in the affirmative, both on the night of the title and ever since. That doesn’t mean I’ll be forever satisfied, but that weight of expectations off the shoulders is so welcome and will remain my connection to the title for a very long time. We earned our place in history and that’s forever.
The Social Media Section
DJ’s last stand. Godspeed in Lithuania.
The Oklahoma City Thunder announced they have waived Scotty Hopson and D.J. Wilson.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) October 15, 2021
Greeks, can we get a vague translation here? I need to know what kind of products Giannis is slinging to me
The basketball version of all gas, no brakes
Semi, link up that Twitch stream bro
From Milwaukee’s own!
Who is cutting onions in here?
Kind of hope this is how the ring ceremony actually goes
Strong content crossover here
Zaza was exactly the right veteran at exactly the right time
retired janitor’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 0-0
Riley’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 0-0
And so the games begin! Ring night, banner night, whatever you want to call it night is tomorrow at home against the Brooklyn Nets. Milwaukee then hits the road to face “The Kennel” Miami Heat on Thursday followed by a stop in San Antonio on Saturday.
Put me down for 2-1 this week with wins over the Nets and Heat so we can play some of the hits, and then a loss in San Antonio while Keldon Johnson goes for 60 because winning in SA is nigh impossible.
The title defense begins! Enjoy it!