Injuries? Who ever heard of injuries before?
It was the utter absence of serious injury that became such a key component to Milwaukee’s success over the previous three seasons. Brook Lopez has been an iron man, Giannis survived a virtual knee amputation, and outside of occasional rest, knee knocks, or illness, the core playing group has benefitted from an abnormally clean bill of health. At some point the reaper’s due was going to fall on Milwaukee, and we’re getting a taste of it now to start the season.
We all know Mike Budenholzer was going to have to solve the riddle of rest and results, but a situation in which the starting point guard, starting center, backup center, and (probable) backup guard all unavailable is a bit much. Against the lowly squads of the world Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton should create enough to overcome, but as we saw against the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, the odds of securing victory take a tangible hit.
So what is the solution here? I’m not sure, to be honest. Jrue’s return on Saturday helps calm the waters, but Brook Lopez’s absence makes clear his value on the defensive end; whether it looks extra extra bad now because Bobby is also gone clouds decision-making. We’re way too early into the season to hit the “eject” button on the end of the roster to bring in some nebulous “veteran” big man to solve the issue. And even if we look rough to start the year, this is kind of the nature of an 82 game season. We’ve been spared the worst of it for awhile, and now it’s our turn to get used to the topsy-turvy lineup changes a full season normally demands.
Plus, we get ever closer to point Mamu. Everyone would love some point Mamu.
Milwaukee Bucks Championship Ring Ceremony & Banner Unveil (YouTube)
A lot of heartwarming moments, and if you didn’t have a chance to watch live (or even if you did!) today is as good a day as any to catch up. My favorite? Herb Kohl getting a ring of his own.
(and if you wanted all the details about the actual rings themselves, the NBA have you covered)
Giannis Reacts To His ‘50 Piece’ NBA Finals Game 6 & Winning The Championship | Bucks Film Room (YouTube)
I know it’s lazy to just repost Bucks Youtube content, but whatever, it isn’t my fault they decided to publish this at noon central LAST Monday. If I had any sway within the organization I’d make sure kind of MMMR/content mismatch never happens.
Championship behind them, Bucks must map out new course (NBA.com)
About as comprehensive a deep dive on Milwaukee’s season opener I’ve found so far. Aschburner has always had a great way of contextualizing the short-term successes and failures within the wider picture, and that’s just the case here, too.
N.B.A. East Preview: The Bucks Aren’t Finished Yet (New York Times)
The Bucks get a little love here, but I think the Times put up as good a quick primer about where every team in the Eastern Conference sits. This time of year is the most fun for everyone because even the crappy teams have either hope and/or rookies who haven’t hit their individual walls just yet.
Five Takeaways From Opening Night of the 2021-22 NBA Season (The Ringer)
Giannis being good is as solid a takeaway as I can come up with, though our opener against the Nets also featured some encouraging performances from a lot of different guys, too.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s greatness comes with a demand: Now do it again (Washington Post)
My main takeaway from the season opener rested on the theory that this season will be the one in which it becomes obvious we’ve crossed the bridge between eras. LeBron James and Kevin Durant aren’t done by a long way, but time is ultimately on Giannis’s side, and “doing it again” may be far “easier” heading forward than we can perceive right now.
NBA experts’ picks for MVP, Rookie of the Year and more (ESPN)
Interesting that Giannis is the only Buck who gets a single vote in any capacity for the award categories here. MVP and DPOY are safe categories to fit him in, but it is a little rude we’re not seeing more Georgios ROY buzz or Donte Sixth Man talk. Sleep on the Bucks at your own peril.
Fan Post of the Week
So much good work from everyone this week, from trades that burned my innocent eyes out of their sockets, to a series of season statistical predictions that far surpassed the plain ones I threw at Kyle and Morgan on our first pod of the season, but I’m a sucker for history and the global reach of basketball. Which is why I congratulate Kuntsman for their first FPOTW win with “Greek B-Ball Stars Who Blazed Trails for Giannis to Follow”, even if it was a piece with links to gambling sites! Hey, we’re the ones who determine who our favorite gambling sites are!
Know Your Enemy
If we’re playing the Pacers, it means we get to hop over to Indy Cornrows to enjoy the latest bit of film work Caitlin Cooper whipped up. This time around it’s some excellent breakdown about the 2-3 zone Indiana throws into their defensive mix.
- Minnesota Timberwolves - Canis Hoopus - “It’s About Building the Culture”: Wolves’ Energy, Focus Carryover From Preseason
Are the long dark days finally starting to alight for the Timberwolves? Mmmm... to be determined. But hey, at least everyone around the team is going into this campaign in a good mood!
- San Antonio Spurs - Pounding the Rock -
- Utah Jazz - SLC Dunk - The Bojan Bogdanović Experience
The Jazz aren’t totally boxed in to their roster... but they mostly are. That isn’t a bad thing per se, yet that same continuity means your upper bound limit of success falls on guys who have been around playing materially better than in previous seasons. Bojan Bogdanovic is one of those guys around Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell; can he push his contributions up another notch?
The Social Media Section
Sometimes motivation comes from unexpected places. For Brook, it came from Ghostbusters II & Bobby Brown.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) October 22, 2021
Hear the story behind the legendary painting that Brook commissioned to honor his teammates. pic.twitter.com/lCJfQa3sTZ
Retweets that make you go HMMMMMM
October 20, 2021
Grayson Allen’s two-year extension with the Milwaukee Bucks includes $17 million guaranteed and can reach $19.6 million in potential bonuses, league sources told @hoopshype.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) October 19, 2021
This is correct
add sidney moncrief to the list of guys who didn't make the 50 but probably should be on the 75.— bomani (@bomani_jones) October 20, 2021
#FORCENATION, we got our floor general.— Sioux Falls Skyforce (@SFSkyforce) October 23, 2021
With the 6th overall pick, the Skyforce select Brandon Knight. pic.twitter.com/T5WmKImgWT
Wishing Zora a speedy recovery from that which ails her
A quick update: I won’t be on @Bucks @BallySportWI broadcasts for a bit. Doctors have me on rest & recovery orders. Sitting still is not my strength but it’s required right now. I’ll still be watching every game, so let’s cheer the together! I hope to see you all soon— Zora Stephenson (@ZoraStephenson) October 22, 2021
This is a cool picture
We really just let these dudes wear whatever
retired janitor’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 2-1
Riley’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 1-2
Hard to understate how impressive beating the Spurs on the road is. They’re never an easy out no matter the state of the rebuild, so I’m happy to have gotten a miss in my predictions in exchange for real-world close-game execution.
Milwaukee has a full week ahead with four games, starting tonight at the Indiana Pacers, back at home on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, closing the week with a home back-to-back against the Spurs Saturday and Jazz on Sunday. 3-1 feels a reasonable prediction with wins against the Pacers, Spurs, and Jazz alongside a loss to the new-and-improved Timberwolves (especially if Brook continues to miss time).