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Monday Morning Media Roundup: January 31st, 2022

The “Rotation Consolidation Thought Experiment” Edition

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

So you’re interested in the trade deadline?

I’ve zero read on whether the Bucks will be able to manage to convince another team to help us consolidate our roster structure at or around the deadline. As my colleague Van Fayaz deftly explained last week, our resources are slim at best unless you’re willing to pull a “break glass in case of emergency” maneuver and start shipping out actual rotation players in a trade. I’m not here to advocate any particular move (though for the record, I think it’s time the Big Ragu era to come to a close). But if we’re looking at the rotation with an eye on the playoffs, it helps to separate the wheat from the chaff for visualization’s sake.

If Brook Lopez is back at nearly 100% (maybe a big If, maybe a little If, I’ve no clue) and we stand pat at the deadline, here is who I’d have in a playoff rotation:

PG: Jrue Holiday / George Hill

SG: Grayson Allen / Pat Connaughton

SF: Khris Middleton / Wes Matthews

PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo

C: Brook Lopez / Bobby Portis

That’s nine bodies — and please quibble with where I have them positionally as I’m always bad at that stuff. When contemplating making a move at the deadline, the question we have to ask is whether there are any obstacles we think those nine couldn’t feasibly overcome in the playoffs? I actually think that group could handle most everything thrown at them as well as any rotation we could gin up, trade or no. The Grayson/Pat duo is maybe the weakest spot in the rotation if they aren’t hitting threes, but is that weakness so great that the other players couldn’t master it?

You’re probably asking yourself what the point of this is, and I don’t particularly have one. Distilling your roster into its absolute base components helps clarify where you need help, and based on the above I think we look pretty solid. Solid enough that I won’t lament a quiet trade deadline or buyout period, at least. While that might not be exciting, it might be enough.

(Author’s edit: I wrote the above before the Nuggets smacked us. Whoops!)

Let’s roundup!


Who’s Created the Most Points in the NBA This Season? (The Ringer)

It is remarkable how alike Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic are. They both approach the game in unique ways as big men, yet the end product is either scoring a whole bunch themselves or directly generating open looks for teammates. While not a perfect unit of measure since it focuses solely on one half of the floor, it does separate out particular player archetypes within positions. The way Jokic produces differs from Giannis who differs from Joel Embiid. That’s obvious, but this measure uses numbers to illustrate the finer distinctions.

Meet the Milwaukee Bucks’ Off-the-Court Stars (Milwaukee Magazine)

I can’t argue with any of the picks, really. We’ve got a large enough cast of true characters that this list could easily have gone 10 or 20 deep (where’s Dr. Dave? David Gruber? Bango?). However, I can’t help but voice some disappointment that Milwaukee Magazine never reached out to me. My DMs are open!

One Play: Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo shooting fadeaway jumpers is a scary reminder of his limitless ceiling (Sporting News)

Some nice words here about Giannis’s expanding midrange game, and what can we say? It looks pretty as hell when he makes it, and it’s about as sure a thing he’s got besides slicing up defenders in the paint. As a way for him to get an occasional breather while keeping defenders honest, a fader isn’t the worst move in the world (so long as he doesn’t fall in love with it, which I’m not worried about).

Stay Locked In - Keep it A Buck [Episode 4] (Bobby’s YouTube)

Bobby continues to release a series of (relatively long) YouTube videos from last summer. Once he won a title, it looks like he hired someone with a camera to just follow him everywhere he went. That’s the kind of responsibility the People’s Champ holds.

Giannis Antetokounmpo visits Syracuse, where he wanted to play if he went to college: ‘I like the culture’ & What Giannis Antetokounmpo told Syracuse players after dominating win: He said we played winning basketball (Syracuse.com)

Okay.

If any of the commentariat are, against all logical odds, subscribers to “Syracuse.com”, can you give us Giannis’s reasoning for why he’d choose Syracuse “if he played in college”? Syracuse surely wouldn’t have given him the time of day if he was coming out of Greece looking for a college to play at.

Fan Post of the Week

The continuing saga of season ticket pricing jumps pushing out long-time season ticket holders gets another update from Thirty Point Buck in “Ticket pricing revisited”. That dicey line between business and community asset is never dicier than when it comes to the relations between the franchise and long-time ticket holders.

If it gives any (cold) comfort, I’m probably going to be priced out of going to the Bucks visit to Minneapolis in March. You’d have to be insane or laughably flush with disposable income to shell out for those nosebleed seats. But that’s how these things work.

Know Your Enemy

It always felt somewhat inevitable that the Wizards might come back down to earth after their very hot start to the season, but I figured it’d be gentle rather than a sheer crash. The dual presence of John Wall and Bradley Beal’s contracts tied Washington up for years, and though they successfully moved Wall, they’re handicapped by an internal commitment to Beal as The Guy. You can only go so far in that situation.

Another average-to-good team with a player who they probably should’ve moved off of awhile ago. This makes it, what, the third or fourth consecutive season where the chatter around Portland is whether CJ will stay or go at the deadline? Once you’ve done it once or twice, just get it over with.

The Clippers still exist? What? And they’re sitting around to see if Paul George’s torn UCL will heal on its own? What?

The Social Media Section

Uh... Smoove back

Take it from a man who unfortunately knows what he’s talking

The many (dejected) faces of Mike Budenholzer

Good looking wings for Giannis. Propelled him to that wonderful outing against the Knicks

Good morning, Philadelphia

And our nation’s capital

I wonder what PJ meant by this

Me when Adam tries to explain how to “edit a podcast”


retired janitor’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 31-21

Riley’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 28-24

In retrospect, I should’ve sussed out that the Cavs might pants us. A team that plays with energy and plenty enough length to throw Giannis off means it falls on Jrue and Khris to save the day, and sometimes that can lead to mixed results. At least the Knicks are the Knicks.

Another reasonably-paced week ahead with three games on the schedule. The first comes on Tuesday night with the Wizards in Milwaukee, and then the Bucks head off on a four-game West coast road trip starting Saturday in Portland and continuing Sunday in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

All three of those teams sit below .500 and have only had a handful of interesting performances (LAC’s comeback against the Wizards a week ago, for example). Winning on the road isn’t easy, but I think the Bucks can get it done. With the East’s top seed just 1.5 games out of reach, it’s up to us to keep the pressure on the Chicagos, Miamis, Clevelands, and Phillys of the world.

Happy Monday!