The Bucks are contenders. The Bucks are just another team in the East. That is their duality.
Part of the difficulty in reconciling this season is that fact. They were never going to reach the heights of the previous two years. The lofty 51-8 record of a year ago was outside the realm of possibility. Yet coming down off that type of winning high was always going to be hard. Losses or poor play could be readily dismissed as the product of a long regular season where even the best have their off nights. Then two post-seasons happened and we had to become okay with taking our lumps in the name of “experimentation” in the hope that hurting now would pay off in the end.
Ultimately, though, it may not come through for Milwaukee and it isn’t even really their faults. Covid ensured that preseason and in-season training was almost non-existent, and the team swapped out their starting point guards. Maybe with a whole training camp to sow principles of play in they’d look more routinely dangerous than they do now. As it is, the stylistic additions coach Budenholzer has made still don’t quite sing the way we may want. We can play a little zone, but zone defenses have extremely limited lifespans against top-tier opponents. We can switch a little, but our starting center isn’t physically equipped to do a lot of it and everyone not named Jrue vacillates between sometimes getting it and outright confusion. Guys run to the dunker spot, but as exemplified by Memphis’s stifling defense, an opponent can keep an eye out for that fold as well.
Lucky for us we still have Giannis Antetokounmpo, and lucky for Giannis Antetokounmpo he has guys like Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton alongside him. So long as they’re able to share the court the ceiling for this team can match that of anyone in the conference. Circumstances have made it so that those guys will most likely have to brute force the team towards that ceiling or get cut down by their various shortcomings.
They’ve got 16 games left to iron out whatever it is they want to iron out. Suddenly all that time the Bucks had had to install new principles is practically gone. Let’s hope they’ve been able to do enough.
Here’s the best Bucks player to wear every jersey number (Milwaukee Record)
Extremely important content that both demands your attention and proves without a doubt that Ersan is deserving of a double jersey-retirement ceremony.
Joe Johnson eyes NBA comeback with Milwaukee Bucks (Hoops Hype)
Oddly enough, Joe Johnson and Mike Budenholzer’s respective times in Atlanta never crossed over. A shame, really. Hopefully Larry Drew put in a good word for Milwaukee and the Bucks organization in case Johnson is mulling multiple NBA offers. Besides, it is fate that Iso Joe ends up a Milwaukee Buck before he calls it permanently quits.
Are we sure they are? I’m not sure they are, and I’m a fan of the team! Also, I note that this article says that DJ Augustin, who is no longer on the team, can slash and create alongside Jeff Teague. Admittedly, it was another weak week for Bucks articles, so you can probably just disregard this link entirely. Blogging rocks.
I find this to be an interesting angle, especially if the NBA data proves out the way they’ve presented it. Yes, there is likely a role for fatigue and travel to play in injuries that guys pick up, but we’re also living in peak NBA caution. If a guy has a nagging injury, nine times out of ten he’s going to sit a game out and is likely to be out even longer. Even if a guy isn’t really injured teams are far more adept at finding some reason to give them a night or two (or three) off during the course of a long year. Perhaps the two forces — condensed season and peak caution — are combining to average the injury rate out in line with previous years.
Why is it always “The Nets or the field?” and not “How are the Nets or the field?”
Also, everyone who picked “the field” in that exercise was actually picking the Bucks. That’s my close reading of the work.
Fan Post of the Week
Who can stop this guy? Knox5, come on down! “Nwora Explosion, How can the roster be improved going forward?” is the kind of Jordan Nwora infatuation we need more of around here, as is medium-term thinking on how to keep transforming this team to remain a threat. And if Jordan Nwora is our Michael Porter Jr., maybe Sam Merrill is our Kyle Korver.
Know Your Enemy
- Phoenix Suns - Bright Side of the Sun - Monty’s management of Chris Paul’s minutes: the game within the game
Yeah well, I bet Budenholzer would’ve done just as good (if not better) of a job managing Paul’s minutes were he to come here. The Suns have been playing out of their minds all season long and have benefitted massively from the upgrade in point guard ability from the Ricky Rubios of the world to the singular Chris Paul. Fingers crossed the bet continues to pay off for them.
- Philadelphia 76ers - Liberty Ballers - Joel Embiid’s ridiculous numbers with Ben Simmons on the bench, and being happy for Jrue Holiday
Joel Embiid is even better when Ben Simmons doesn’t play, you say? Well, in that case you should probably give Ben the role of “Human Victory Cigar” for the playoffs.
The Social Media Section
There for five seconds and already the most beloved player on the team
Sorry Bango, Fiona just took your job
Marques also continued his reign as the coolest dude alive
Hey, Be the Match! My fiancé worked there for a bit and it seems like a great org
Still has the most striking eyes in the league
And also make sure that calf is in tip-top shape
Riley’s 2020-2021 Prediction Record: 34-22
retired janitor’s 2020-2021 Prediction Record: 35-21
Is it possible for a late(ish) season series against a single opponent to be the most important two-game stretch of the year? Anything less than a perfect 2-0 record against the Sixers this week would be akin to a failure in my mind. No, the games don’t ultimately matter, but I want to play for pride and for that little edge of confidence that comes from definitively smacking an opponent no matter the circumstances.
Before those games, the Bucks will have to get through the Phoenix Suns who are in town tonight. After that, the mini-series against Philly occurs at home on Thursday and Saturday. This isn’t the Bucks of old, but even these Bucks should be able to put it all together for a single week and walk through even the toughest competition. 3-0 should be the final result by the time I’m back here next week.