The (off)season of our discontent is at an end: I can finally pull up the image selector for article header’s and the newest option isn’t Giannis standing on a bus. You know what that means! Media Day happened!
Having only cursorily followed along from my desk, there weren’t a ton of headlines that came out from the reassembling of the Bucks. One is that the key to a successful season will be attempting to replicate late-season intensity as if they didn’t just win the title. The other is that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Donte DiVincenzo haven’t been participating in full five-on-five drills so far during training. Donte’s a given since he’s still coming off his ankle surgery from early last summer. Giannis is moderately surprising since he’s been up and about all over the place since the Bucks won the title; I just figured he’d be flying back and forth across the Atlantic only if his knee pain was quite reduced. Guess not!
Preseason in basketball is somehow even more meaningless than preseason in football, so it’d be not at all a bad thing if the team opted to hold Antetokounmpo out until the regular season (and maybe a little beyond). I mean, we saw this guy’s knee bend completely backwards before he returned to win a title like a superhero. That work load balance we’ve seen the Bucks talk about a lot since Mike Budenholzer arrived is going to get strenuous use, but with three topsy-turvy seasons under the staff’s belts, I remain confident they can manage.
Bucks owner Marc Lasry resigns as chairman of embattled media entity Ozy (Wisconsin State Journal)
You know I couldn’t let my man get away from this without a little ribbing, right? The whole Ozy story is convoluted, but what takes the cake is Lasry’s taking on chairmanship of the company board three weeks ago. That’s like seven whole months after the company execs tried to pull of some good old-fashioned fraud! Awesome.
I expect him to still participate in this year’s Celebrity All-Star Game. Streaks are for keeping alive, after all.
Milwaukee Bucks look to repeat, without losing their edge (NBA.com)
Steve Aschburner over at NBA.com does a solid job bringing together all the various strands coming out of Milwaukee’s Media Day.
In some ways I’m actually pretty optimistic about our being able to seriously compete for a repeat title. Nothing about our run (outside of Brooklyn’s injures, of course) can be said to be a one-off. Milwaukee kept to the same, sometimes monotonous, road-hoeing for three seasons before the work paid off. The talent is there and so now is irrefutable proof of concept. Those are pretty good additions to a team that’s consistently been the best in the league for years now!
Giannis Antetokounmpo not satisfied after winning NBA championship: ‘I feel the same weight’ (ESPN)
And one more from media day, not so much for new insights, but as an opening bell for Jamal Collier’s new stint as the ESPN beat guy for the Central Division. He’s likely to be a name we’re going to see a lot more often around here.
NBA reporter @JamalCollier joins ESPN, covering Midwest region teams— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) September 27, 2021
More: https://t.co/Ha7XcWoxQi pic.twitter.com/7YZBQF1ZdR
Bucks season preview: Is this team capable of repeating as champs? (Hoops Hype)
My guy Bryan forgot one more weakness that has plagued us since time immemorial: The 35% drop-off from three across the board every time we step into the playoffs. It’s probably a leading reason why our bench has had some of the lowest point production across all 16 playoff teams. I, of course, expect it to remain unchanged this coming year.
The Eight Big Questions Looming Over NBA Training Camps (The Ringer)
Does it count as burying the lede if the lede is literally the last paragraph of a very extensive article? When it involves Donte DiVincenzo’s upcoming free agency, I think so! Not that Dan has any new insights on how the Bucks may approach Donte’s free agency, but the clock is ticking on whether the two sides draw up a contract extension. They’ve got until October 18th to come to an agreement, though I’ve not seen any rumblings at all about how (or if) discussions are going.
Fan Post of the Week
This guy can’t stop with the winning! retired janitor here yet again with “the LanD of misFit ToYs”: A series of poignant observations about how almost our entire roster is full of guys who’ve been belittled, doubted, or challenged to reach this point in their lives. And what’s better, it started a little discussion in the comments about our own stories of misfit-ery in this, an age where every tool we come into contact with pushes us to project the most idealized version of ourselves to others.
The Social Media Section
Two of the title’s foundational pieces
Giannis is a lot like you and me: He goes to CVS late at night for the essentials
Nobody recognises me!! pic.twitter.com/WCeGwGqgf4— Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) September 30, 2021
The arms race Grayson kicked off is hard to fathom
All this: To stop this: pic.twitter.com/oMRFikztae— arynn (@MilwaukeeMamba) September 29, 2021
Larry... get that buyout going and then we’ll talk, eh?
Seeing Bobby Portis and PJ Tucker shine during the Bucks' title run made @Larrydn22 even hungrier for a playoff berth.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) September 28, 2021
"I’ve just been dying to get back to the playoffs, especially after watching these series and seeing guys who do the same things as me." https://t.co/dfep3n1Xnq
Robin exists on a plane beyond our own reality
When asked about his brother winning a title…— Orlando Pinstriped Post (@OPPMagicBlog) September 27, 2021
Robin Lopez says he’s not sure if Milwaukee actually won a championship because he wasn’t there (and didn’t watch it). Says “he’s still doing his own research”.
Mamadi doing us the great service of having his contract taken in full by someone else
This matters to the Bucks because it clears the money owed to Diakite off their books.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) September 27, 2021
No dead money on the transaction now. https://t.co/1kluJbPMZp
A parade of Year XYZ posts from the Bucks
A belated happy birthday to Lauren
If you’re this far along, you’ve probably already watched some of the scrimmage the Bucks held yesterday afternoon. I’d encourage you to continue discussion it among yourselves below because, and this is where I pull back the curtain, I’m writing this on Saturday morning. By the time this has published I’ll be about 18 hours in to recovering from my second ever marathon. I’ll need insightful observations from all of you to help get me through the pain of wrecked legs.
I almost forgot! The return!
retired janitor’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 0-0
Riley’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 0-0
This bit has been ongoing for three seasons as of this writing, and it’s such a hit we had to bring it back! For those unfamiliar, retired janitor’s take on sports predictions is a blend of the optimistic and the scientific. rj believes (rightly!) that the Bucks are capable of winning far more often than they lose in any given matchup. Therefore, every week the RJPR (retired janitor prediction record) gets a leg up if the Bucks win, and a mark against if they lose. Yes, that means it is simply Milwaukee’s record.
Me, being the self-appointed columnist-turned-basketball expert have a system of prediction with a little more soul to it: I look at who we’re playing in the coming week and just guess based on whatever bits of knowledge I have about said opponents. Somewhere between the two of us, we reach a tolerable equilibrium.
We bring it back this week with the Bucks set to play in Memphis on Tuesday, in Brooklyn on Friday, and at home against the Thunder on Sunday. I think we’ll take the game against the Nets just to keep the streak going, and drop against Memphis and OKC as they’ve more invested in trying hard to figure out rotation decisions.