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Monday Morning Media Roundup: February 8th, 2021

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The “We look out for our own” Edition

Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks

I was going to write a long windbag-y introduction about how every West Coast road trip is a mix of emotions (we get to see the Bucks play good teams, but start times are recklessly late for Midwestern weeknights) and then thought better of it.

There’s something we need to discuss.

There’s a simple beauty at the heart of Ersan getting up shots in the middle of a goddamn Wisconsin snowstorm. It is that he has fully acclimated and become one of us since settling in to the area more permanently in the 2009-2010 season. Even when he was away in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit, Orlando, or Oklahoma City he kept his family home in the Milwaukee area. Having been waived by the Bucks this past offseason, he has remained committed to staying in shape just in case he gets a call from a team in need of some front court help off the bench.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find out that Ersan is spending weekends at the Bucks training facility getting shots up for the hell of it. Somehow, someway, he became something of an institution through the Bucks’ oddball 2010s. I’ll welcome him with open arms when he inevitably joins Milwaukee’s roster yet again a few months from now.

Let’s roundup!


What two contenders revealed about the Pacers (Indy Cornrows)

Just some utterly excellent work here from Caitlin Cooper over at Indy Cornrows. I’ve placed her work here previously as she goes in-depth to understand the nuances of Indiana’s schemes, and this past week she grabbed some film from Bucks-Pacers to understand why it was that Milwaukee proved so difficult for Indiana to stop.

Part of it derives from the base defense Indiana has chosen to play: crowd a driving lane with bodies without ever fully committing multiple defenders onto a driving player. This throws off the rhythm of said driver while allowing the Pacers a chance to close out on perimeter players at a moment’s notice. However, in forcing defenders to never shy too far away from assignments, there are inevitably mismatches a competent opponent can exploit (see: Malcolm Brogdon guarding Giannis on the perimeter while Sabonis guards Khris Middleton).

How much of Milwaukee’s success was derived of intentional cashing in on these advantages is unclear to this observer, but if there was purpose behind their actions last Wednesday, that would seem to bode well for a team needing to prove it can smoothly adjust to different opponent looks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden voice displeasure over holding All-Star Game this season (CBS Sports)

We all understand why the NBA would want to try and move ahead with an All-Star Game this year, especially since they seem to have pulled off the trick of keeping a full(ish) season going for a few months. Unfortunately for them, the top stars who would ostensibly be the reason to watch said All-Star Game appear to be unhappy with the idea.

Like previous years, I assume that guys who are chosen to participate in All-Star Weekend somewhat resent the fact that their mid-season vacation period is taken up with league-mandated festivities. The added pressures of adhering to COVID protocols are likely engendering this particular pushback, though whether public criticism will torpedo the ASG remains to be seen.

5 takeaways from first fan returns of NBA All-Star Voting 2021 (NBA.com)

And I’m personally rooting for it to get cancelled just so we can keep the “Giannis captaining the East” streak alive for another year. Don’t these fan voters like fun? Giannis drafting head-to-head against LeBron was a lark in both 2019 and 2020!

Kyle Korver unplugged: On Bucks’ walkout, TNT’s ‘Arena’ and being white ally for racial justice (USA Today)

Korver has always been a leading figure in presenting a thoughtful, active perspective on the state of race within and without the NBA, so it isn’t surprising to see him take on a project trying to wrestle with that same issue while he decides his ultimate basketball fate.

Zora Stephenson, Milwaukee Bucks sideline reporter, talks about the team’s Black History Month initiative (Journal Sentinel)

And of course the Bucks are also taking part in a host of activities in and around Black History Month. Part of effort involves sideline reporter Zora Stephenson who will be conducting an interview with JS columnist/Wisconsin Black Media Association president James Causey to discuss the significance not merely of the month itself and associated outreach, but the deeper ongoing story of blackness in America.

Fan Post of the Week

burt snipes’s “The Understated Greatness of Khris Middleton (Part 1)”

I feel a little guilty speaking so little about how insane it is that Khris has found a way to put together yet another career year. Thankfully, burt had my back this last week and siloed some of Khris’s most impressive numbers in juxtaposition with some of the other great contemporary players.

(However, the most honorable of honorable mentions goes to Duhawk Stevens with his robust mathematics in “Three Point Percentage Allowed and Winning”. Seriously, go check it out. They did some seriously heavy lifting and the work is impressive.)

Know Your Enemy

Something about running into the wall that is the Western Conference playoffs changes you as a fan. It’s eerily similar to the conundrum facing us over here in Milwaukee: some very good basketball, but not good enough when it mattered most. The trick for both teams is finding whatever that next step is to the ultimate objective.

We’ve got to be reaching a critical mass with three-point discussion. Hell, we’ve got to be reaching a critical mass on three-pointers. Right???

A: No.

Shai is the best player by a mile, George Hill got thumb surgery and is likely to get traded, and the Thunder are trending towards some prime draft real estate in the coming offseason. Just another step in Sam Presti’s long long long long long game.

The Social Media Section

He’s returned

The richest dork that there ever was

ICYMI: Brew Hoop compatriot Kyle Carr went viral over the weekend (that’s over 100K likes and over 20K retweets, folks!)

Trick is, Don Nelson was both coaches, the trainer, secretary, therapist, security, and all the players, too

Best of luck to Frank!

Come for the Khris jumpers, stay for random cutaways of DJ Wilson clapping to the camera

It’s currently -31 degrees with a windchill in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Try harder, Thanasis.


Riley’s 2020-2021 Prediction Record: 14-9

retired janitor’s 2020-2021 Prediction Record: 15-8

Ah the late nights and bright lights of the West Coast (if we ignore the fact that not a single one of the games this week actually occurs in a city on a coast). Milwaukee begins tonight in Denver, goes to Phoenix on Wednesday, Salt Lake City on Friday, and finishes the week Sunday in Oklahoma City.

I’ll pick them for 2-2 with wins against the Nuggets and Thunder while the Bucks struggle to contain guy-built-to-exploit zone-drops Devin Booker and equally struggle to be meaningfully productive in Utah.

Happy Monday!