Can we please take a collective step back from the #Taek machine? Everyone? Please? Thank you.
Let us do away with the delirium of imagination. I’m already extremely tired of the growing narrative that the East (and to some extent, the NBA) runs through Brooklyn. On top of that, I’m also tired of the mass amnesia occurring which means there is no consensus about Giannis’s status as the top dog among all current NBA players.
Tackle the first assumption: You can feasibly argue that Brooklyn’s trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving are superior to Giannis, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday. Much of that argument rests almost exclusively on the back of offensive firepower without much thought about defensive dominance, but it’s the NBA so scoring rules all. Even if you concede that point, one has to ask whether 1) They won’t just get hit by injury bugs again, 2) Whether stacking their supporting cast with 35+ year old dudes is the right move, and 3) If they too won’t start to show some signs of slowing down of their own?
I appreciate having just seen Kevin Durant almost kill our playoff run on his own, but we ended up surviving what was an all-world performance wrought from there being no other option for Brooklyn. It went a long way to establishing Durant as the Nets’ leader without answering how things operate when the usage starts to split up. On top of that, Brooklyn is pushing a lot of eggs into the old guy basket; a bet that may pay off or blow up in their face at the worst time during the season. There’s nothing there to strongly justify their shoo-in status.
Second, the Giannis disrespect: Defense is hard as hell to quantify, so I’m not quick to jab back when someone knocks Giannis because his jumper isn’t top-notch. But when we simply ignore half of the game to justify a narrative while also failing to take into account Giannis’s offensive production? That cannot stand.
Just because they get their points in different styles does not automatically mean that one is superior to the other. If they’re effective, they’re effective, and both guys are deadly effective at what they do. But while Durant is also able to stand in on defense, there just isn’t the same frenetic free safety aspect to his game in the way there is with Giannis. Milwaukee’s defense functions in large part because Giannis can read and react on a dime to shore up both the first and second lines of defense. It’s a total package, and I’m already tired of the fact that there appears a national mission to pretend like it isn’t.
So sure, rest of the world, keep picking the Nets to waltz their way to a Finals appearance. You ignore what we all just witnessed but a month and a half ago at your own risk.
First Woman on Paralympic Refugee Team Admires Giannis Antetokounmpo (The National Herald)
We all deeply admire Giannis for all the praiseworthy traits he possess on a human level, whether that be his loyalty, dedication to his craft, geniality, etc etc etc. However, for those who have lived their whole lives on the margins, his story of success from difficult beginnings has a different kind of meaning. That aspect will surely be a lasting legacy of his time in the spotlight.
Brook and Robin Lopez On Their Hilarious Sibling Rivalry, Championship Envy & Mascots | JJ Redick
It’s 50 minutes of Lopez content. Need I say more?
Bucks owner Marc Lasry reveals heated confrontation with Mike Budenholzer after ugly playoff loss to Nets (CBS Sports)
“Heated” is doing some of the heaviest lifting any word usage has done in human history here, but it is funny that Lasry comes charging down looking for an explanation about the G2 ECSF loss only to find Bud chilled out and ready for some film. May we all keep our calm when our boss confronts us while flirting with other job candidates.
Skills that could change the games of four NBA stars, including Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo (ESPN)
I’ll give you exactly one guess what skill Giannis needs to add to his arsenal to ensure that, “the sky’s the limit for Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee” after he just averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in the most important six games of his entire life. That isn’t to say he needn’t work on improvement, but we’re just whistling past the graveyard at this point.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks face disrespect once again amid Nets-Lakers Finals takes (ClutchPoints)
And yes, ClutchPoints and I are in total lockstep on this point.
NBA apologies: Stephen Curry, Trae Young, Giannis Antetokounmpo made me look varying degrees of dumb (CBS Sports)
In the Age of the Take, it takes a humble individual (likely bereft of other content to write about in the offseason) to own up to Takes Gone Wrong. A lesson in not totally writing off the ability of talented players to find ways to fine-tune their game and take things to another level.
Fan Post of the Week
An easy award to give out to our own Ham Slamwich who continues to do the heavy lifting on my behalf with the next part in “Doldrum Series: Leap Candidates, Pt. 2”. The question of how you go about identifying the traits inherent in “leapers” is a large part of what makes and breaks GMs. If you’ve got the touch, you’re tapping into that mythical “second draft” territory where you turn someone else’s rags to your riches. However, it just isn’t all that simple an exercise even with players on your own roster.
The Social Media Section
In my mind, we actually won this series
Bango always been a gangsta. pic.twitter.com/bWrrR5SpbY— TheJohnnyWeeknd (@TheJohnnyWeeknd) September 2, 2021
I’m sure this is a real thing and that this whole operation has been a net-loss for ownership
Owner says Bucks will lose money this year, isn’t counting playoff revenue https://t.co/pmG8VMTWQW— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) August 31, 2021
He can’t help but look like he’s about to pull a goof no matter what he does
After a few weeks away, Jrue is back with his nonprofit
It’s Embiid’s turn next. Trust.
FOX29 Philadelphia just did Ben Simmons dirty— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) September 3, 2021
(h/t @ProCityHoops )
Support Bobby’s financial sacrifice by buying his merch
Excited to announce the launch of the new #UNDERDOG limited edition CHAMPIONSHIP TEE! Hit link in bio to grab you one! pic.twitter.com/4EeJdKSQUL— Bobby BP Portis (@BPortistime) September 2, 2021
We’ll be around these parts, you know where to find us. Enjoy the warm weather while it lasts because I can feel fall (and, ergo, NBA basketball) on the wind.