A two game sample size does not make a career, but if the DeMarcus Cousins we saw in his two outings this week is here to stay, Jon Horst may have landed yet another coup.
Many commenters here on the site have pointed out after the Heat game that the Bucks did a thing all contenders should strive to do: Add good players on the roster in place of bad and/or not useful players. For Boogie, he stepped into the big man rotation gap with Brook Lopez sidelined with back surgery. For Wes Matthews, not only is he a step up over the immediate skills of Georgios Kalaitzakis, but his feel for the defense and shooting should make him a lock to surpass what Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye have done since getting into town as well. Heck, even Javonte Smart looks like a better fit as an emergency guard given his upgrades in size and speed over Justin Robinson.
Those are three steps forward in terms of overall roster talent in the span of a week, and each has the possibility of going even further. If Cousins can become familiar with the zone drop scheme and the Bucks cover for his decrease in athleticism, who knows how far that signing may still go. If Matthews can give the Bucks a few good defensive minutes against particular top-flight guys to spell starters some rest, that’s huge. If Smart needs to be press-ganged into a chunk of minutes (like against Miami), he may prove more capable of playing not-losing basketball and thus not totally tanking a rotation.
When you reach a certain level of competitiveness in NBA basketball, the roster construction rules make keeping the ball rolling ever challenging. The good GMs get their teams to the height of competition. The great GMs keep them there.
Edit: It’s also Giannis’s birthday! Happy birthday to him!
We paired some Milwaukee Bucks with sandwiches for some reason (Milwaukee Record)
This is some of the most important work done about the Bucks I’ve seen in a very long time. Some might argue that this is a gag article, but I’d argue it does us the favor of reminding us just how many wonderful sandwiches surround us in our daily life. Thank you, Milwaukee Record.
There are going to be a lot of people who argue that Steph Curry will rightfully be this year’s MVP. They’ve got stats (he’s scoring a lot and owns unholy shooting splits), the Warriors’ stellar record, and a zeitgeist-y desire to give Steph his plaudits again after two years out of the spotlight on their side. But is Curry suiting up to take part in various third-party NBA games on his nights off? Giannis is. I hope voters remember that.
The thing that reminded me how special Giannis is was the plaudits LaMelo Ball earned for his 36 point, 9 assist outing last week. That’s a very good game for a sophomore player, so this doesn’t take away from that, but those kinds of numbers are so often routine for Antetokounmpo. There are quite obviously levels to this sport.
A very cool video story here by the Today folks about Lisa Byington. They discuss her background coming up into this position, but it’s also nice to hear her reminisce about the lessons she learned from her parents and others as she ground her way through sports broadcasting.
Back in the winners’ circle and it feels so good, it’s retired janitor with “Gravity, Inertia, Plant Science, and Team Building”. I love the conception of Giannis as the star in our solar system (so much so that I asked my astronomer friend to provide input on which celestial body each Buck would be a few years ago), and its a useful mental tool to continually consider how his presence alters the trajectory of play and career arc for those around him. That’s what the all-time greats are capable of, and maybe Boogie and Grayson Allen will become key parts of that longer story.
Know Your Enemy
I’m not sure how much longer Love is meant to last in Cleveland, especially if he has his eyes on the exit hatch to a contender, but at least he’s doing some good basketball things for the Cavs in the meantime.
- Miami Heat - Hot Hot Hoops - No Giannis, no problem as Bucks easily blowout Heat 124-102
Sure, both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo were out, and the Heat have cooled off since their very fast start to the year, but that won’t stop me from treating Saturday night’s win like our early-season Super Bowl.
- Houston Rockets - The Dream Shake - Armoni Brooks and Garrison Mathews have grown into difference makers for Rockets
Such is the life of a team with zero hopes of competing now or in the near-future: Shuffling the back end of the roster with undrafted or cut guys from other systems in the hope you can hit pay dirt. Have Houston found a pair of shooters to work into a plan that goes beyond 2021-2022?
- New York Knicks - Posting & Toasting - Julius Randle doesn’t get foul calls because he’s literally built different
Welcome to our world, Knicks fans. It’s pretty annoying.
The Social Media Section
Marques... phrasing, please.
Last night’s battle between Giannis and LaMelo was an instant classic. As for me, I believe that if you want to be impotent you have to look impotent pic.twitter.com/u05iG0eAlM— Elder Marques Johnson (@olskool888) December 2, 2021
“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” gently plays over the Forum loudspeakers
David Gruber about to act up seeing Kelly that close pic.twitter.com/WZKlk6BOaj— Grayson Allen Enjoyer (@GoatedGrayson) December 2, 2021
It’s the reason for the season, folks
Keep going, and turn the ball over less
The 2021 NBA Champs: Anyone but the Bucks
They've really tried handing the trophy to every team except the one that won it lol pic.twitter.com/WB505LnS1G— James Takesmas (@kidziggurat) December 1, 2021
Good morning to Blake and DAJ
Blake Griffin said he has spoken with DeAndre Jordan about falling out of the Nets rotation and that Jordan gave him advice on how to deal with not being in rotation.— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) November 29, 2021
retired janitor’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 15-9
Riley’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 13-11
If the team is as deep as it appears on its face, it feels likely that we’ll reasonably keep up our winning ways even on nights when Giannis/Jrue/Khris rest. With four games coming this week, I wouldn’t be surprised if some guys get some more R&R while the Bucks lean on the rotation. I love a good test!
Things start tonight at home with the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers in town, and then the Bucks hit the road for a four game trip, three of them this week against the Heat on Wednesday, Rockets on Friday, and Knicks on Sunday. I’ll guess at a 3-1 week, the loss coming at the Knicks since it is a noon tip on the back half of a road trip. We often look awful in early games, I expect that to remain the same this week.