Yesterday’s news about Jrue Holiday signing a four-year contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks was yet another in a long list of exercises in being comfortable with dual positions.
Jrue and his agent had all the bargaining power in the world. Given the haul of picks sent out to bring him to Milwaukee, it would have been utter and complete madness for the Bucks to do anything that would push Holiday out of town. Holiday will be making a lot of money for a player who will be on the wrong side of 30.
At the same time, the fit of his particular skillset with this particular team can’t be understated. His box score stats aren’t flashy (though they’ve taken a large step forward the past few weeks), but if you watch a single Bucks game from start to finish, his value becomes immediately clear.
He is the bridge between his co-stars. Where Giannis Antetokounmpo decimates defenses with sense and physicality, Khris Middleton ideally pours gasoline on the fire by raining efficient jumpshots on teams stretched to their limit keeping Giannis under wraps.
Previously, when Eric Bledsoe was the bridge, the Bucks were faced with the ultimate issue that Eric was something of a stylistic copycat of Giannis. If either of Eric’s partners needed a bailout, he wasn’t equipped to reliably provide. Jrue, on the other hand, has shown the capability to create his own shot from all three levels of the floor, in the flow of the offense or outside of it. His control compliments and ultimately merges those of his teammates.
That is why the Bucks gladly signed up to pay him up to $160 million over the next four seasons. As they found out, fit like that has no price tag when your competitive horizon is right here, right now. And if they manage to win even a single title? Well, it’ll be money well spent.
Ten NBA things I like and don’t like, including the Milwaukee Bucks mixing things up & The case for the Milwaukee Bucks as the best team in the East (ESPN+ - Subscription Required)
I’d tell you that these are two excellent pieces because they’re either written by Zach Lowe (who is a good writer!) or because it is an article focused completely on the Bucks, but I don’t have an ESPN+ sub right now. If you do, go enjoy. If you don’t, I ask that you please join me in assuming these are good/relevant articles.
One-on-One With Zora Stephenson: Suki Hobson (Bucks.com)
It isn’t all that often that we get to peek behind the scenes at the personnel and equipment that help keep these Bucks moving. The likes of Suki Hobson, the Bucks head of strength & conditioning, are mentioned by players and executives alike as crucial to a team’s success, especially in the lead-up to a season. However, she mostly exists outside of the spotlight.
It’s that exclusivity that makes Zora Stephenson’s interview with her that much more interesting. Good get, Zora.
Red-Alert Numbers for the NBA’s Title Contenders (The Ringer)
While I understand harping on the correlation between opponent 3P accuracy and wins-losses, especially with a Bucks team prone to allowing plenty of attempts from range, aren’t we prone to falling into the trap of the “can you influence opponent 3P accuracy” debate? If the answer is “yes”, then sure, the Bucks should be pointed out as a team that doesn’t follow established principles in holding down opposing 3P% rates. If the answer is “no”, I’m unsure if the stat pulled for this article is all that relevant.
Prepare for another Brewers season with a decade worth of Opening Day tailgating videos (Milwaukee Record)
Go baseball, for the baseball-loving among us. I’m just happy to see my Twins start off on the right foot this year.
Fan Post of the Week
retired janitor’s “Ground Water, Our Buried Treasure”, a piece which dropped early on Easter and accomplished two things: Gave a reasonable defense of Mike Budenholzer as a coach who can get more out of his players than they gave before, and prompted Jrue Holiday to sign his max extension. At least, that’s my version of history. I’m sticking to it.
Know Your Enemy
Well, the Warriors are somewhere I’m not sure a lot of people expected after Klay Thompson was lost for the season: On the cusp of sneaking in to the playoffs. Steph Curry is a force all his own, and it’s pretty much him, Draymond Green, and a bunch of other dudes trying to make it work in the meantime. It’s about pride at this point for Golden State.
The Mavs are busy mixing things up in an effort to move from Western Conference player to possible contender, and part of that plan has fallen on Nicolo Melli and JJ Redick, both acquired from New Orleans at the trade deadline. Melli has apparently impressed in his first minutes as a Maverick which is about all you can hope for from rolls of the trade dice.
With injuries, as sometimes with life itself, when it rains, it pours. Gordon Hayward will be joining LaMelo Ball, and Malik Monk on the injury list for Charlotte. The Hornets are in good position to make the playoffs regardless, but it is never fun to lose rhythm with the regular season dwindling away.
- Orlando Magic - Pinstriped Post - Examining the Orlando Magic’s decision to hit reset
Meet the new Magic, they’re a lot like the old Magic. For every Nikola Vucevic tearing up at the end of an era, there’s an Aaron Gordon happy to just be done with the situation.
The Social Media Section
Fingers crossed for Darvin. Would be a shame to lose his presence, but he deserves the shot.
Texas Tech has received permission and plans to interview Milwaukee Bucks top assistant and alumnus Darvin Ham this weekend, sources tell ESPN. Ham led Tech to its first Sweet 16 in 1996. Ham has risen into a serious head coaching candidate in NBA in last few years.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 3, 2021
Literally everyone in the league thinks Jrue is one of the best players in the league
Kostas getting pushed around a lot for a guy who has the family’s only Finals ring
Good fit, good vibes
I’ve moved fully into the “this is a Hollywood money laundering operation” with this
Riley’s 2020-2021 Prediction Record: 31-18
retired janitor’s 2020-2021 Prediction Record: 32-17
Just one more late night start time this week. Then we’re back to normal people start times. Rejoice!
The Bucks are finishing up their time spent on the West Coast Tuesday night against the Warriors, will travel to Dallas to play the Mavs on Thursday, host the Hornets on Friday, and finish things on Sunday visiting the Magic
Our first three opponents are difficult to gauge, though the Bucks did smack the heck out of Golden State on Christmas. I will go with a 3-1 week and a loss against the Mavs. Luka Doncic is a maestro who the Bucks have long struggled to keep contained (an issue others have dealt with regularly, to be fair), but the other teams either have too large a talent gap or injury troubles to bother the Bucks.