I’m not sure if Mike Budenholzer will be able to manage a “Popovich-like” run in Milwaukee given the degree of difficulty, but to even bring one title to town is a feat literally only one other coach has managed in franchise history. The best part is that this Budenholzer playoff run played perfectly within the themes of this entire team: A multiyear project full of ups and downs coming together at just the right time.
It is hard to assess how responsible a coach is for on-court success. Is it his schemes? The talent he has on-hand? Some of column A, column B? Since he plays things so straight interacting with media, nothing ever slips to give us some insight to what’s going on behind closed doors. Still, the image of a coach who had a particular style of play he stuck to with admirable vigor was one that hung over his shoulders after 2019 and 2020.
That same reputation came close to causing the metaphorical car to crash. We shouldn’t forget that, prior to Milwaukee’s surviving the ECSF against Brooklyn, Bucks ownership reportedly had a little crush on someone outside the marriage.
His name was Rick.
Yet when things looked most dire, Budenholzer stepped up and flipped the narrative. No longer was his rotation 85 guys deep, but trimmed to eight at most when it was win-or-go-home territory. His in-game management was also impeccable with solid rotations and sharp timeout usage to either help staunch the bleeding or go back to the drawing board. On top of that, he never overreacted. When Jrue Holiday was missing every attempt he took, Budenholzer didn’t pull Jrue aside and tell him to stop shooting; he trusted his most talented players to work their way out of a slump.
So here’s to you, Bud. You might have your flaws, but you didn’t let them be the sole thing to define you, and the extension is a just reward.
This got mixed up in the news cycle last week, but a quick congrats to Ted Davis on his retirement. Basketball is by far one of the most difficult sports to help listeners picture through audio alone, and he was damned solid at it. Plus, his on-air shoutouts of fans who would tweet in where they were listening to the broadcast helped make real just how widespread the fandom is, even in darker times. Best of luck to him on a long and fruitful retirement!
‘Small towns produce great people’: Why Holbrook cheered Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer in the NBA Finals (Tuscon.com)
This is actually a very cool story about Budenholzer’s time spent growing up in Holbrook, Arizona. Totally recommended, if only because everything we know about him clicks in natural place with the benefit of hindsight.
By winning NBA championship, Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo put himself on track to reach rare level of greatness (Sporting News)
I don’t know if Giannis will be able to keep up the winning and add to his accolades, but its fun to dream about it. While I appreciate the desire to compare his accomplishments to other all-time greats, I do wonder if we sell short just how different team-building is in today’s NBA versus what it was even a few decades ago. So if Giannis isn’t able to push the Bucks back over the hump again, does that really reflect poorly on his standing in league history? I guess time will tell on that point.
Monty Williams: I didn’t know Giannis Antetokounmpo was leading me into Bucks’ locker room (NBC Sports)
Giannis is the type of dude who would find the opposing coach and then bring them into the locker room for an impromptu speech. Of course, it all hinges on how Monty Williams plays that unexpected situation, and to his eternal credit he did it with aplomb.
It feels wholly appropriate to place Milwaukee and Brooklyn as virtual 1A and 1B atop the league. While the Western Conference is stronger as a whole, the sheer collection of talent atop the East will ensure that the center of the league’s gravity lies in that direction until proven otherwise. Looks like it’s going to be a two-team fight for the privilege of going to the Finals.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Lives Out Wrestling Dreams At AEW Event (Hot New Hip Hop)
Anyone here follow wrestling? Feels like a missed opportunity to have Giannis re-introduce CM Punk to wrestling maybe? I might have my organizations wrong.
Anyways, the Summer of Giannis continues apace.
I’ll have to link up with Ham Slamwich to figure out how I’m going to compete with their Doldrum Series. My “what would it take for Giannis to win MVP” question of last week didn’t exactly wow, so I defer to their “Leap Candidates, Pt. 1”.
(Note: The series is a good idea, I’m just drawing blanks of what to ask when I get to the “writing” portion of this column. Mea culpa.)
Some interesting digging into turnover and assist information from stoneAge in “How we made Turnovers a strength of ours.” And, as is the case with all good articles, we’re left with a kernel of wisdom: “A great team doesn’t get affected by turnovers, because one is sure, they always will be happening.”
The Social Media Section
More Giannis wrestling footage
My man slings every product known to man, but a grill gets the green light from me
He has a point
I won with the Bucks boy— Axel Toupane (@toups_33) August 29, 2021
Some in-arena footage courtesy of Jrue’s brother, Justin
George Karl just reacting however he wants on Twitter
Trying to teach the Packers what it means to win in 2021
Bucks GM Jon Horst here at Packers practice chatting with GM Brian Gutekunst.— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) August 26, 2021
Super slick wallpaper for your usage
Someone finishing a puzzle? In this economy???
We’re bringing purple back. The signs are there.
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