I didn’t get a chance to watch either of Milwaukee’s games against the Hawks this past week because I was busy eloping (it was lovely and I highly recommend it as a legit option for anyone staring down the gun of wedding planning). In lieu of trying and failing to get NBA.com to work so I can watch the replay, I did what every good basketblogger does and just read through all of your comments to get a vibe. Per your observations:
- We’re creaky
- Jevon Carter may demand max contract money next offseason
- Missing one of Giannis or Khris would be hard for the rest of the roster to compensate for; missing both is asking for preseason games to be ever more a glorified open gym run
- The new defensive emphasis on perimeter effort is going to take some getting used to (Carter will shine here while relying ever more on crisp execution by large mid-30 year old men Brook Lopez and Serge Ibaka)
- The first month or two of the season may be one long audition for the non-big three players — figure out who works where and with what groups, then clear the deadwood via trade
- Sandro Mamukelashvili and Jordan Nwora are, so far, who we thought they were
None of that is very surprising, which is what keeps the Bucks firmly entrenched as this offseason’s most boring NBA subject matter.
There’s no need to hit a panic button based on preseason results. Instead, view them as instructive of trends we can keep an eye on as the year gets underway. We look creaky now, but will we still look that way after getting into a groove a few weeks into regular play? Jevon Carter currently has the vague appearance of the Second Coming, but history is replete with prophets who guesstimated Christ 2.0’s return a bit prematurely. Is it all really as simple as plugging Khris Middleton back in and... that literally being it?
When I write it out like that, I see plenty of strands to investigate once the real games begin. And if there’s a strand, there’s sure to be some intense feelings one way or the other for all of us to air out in the comments. Should be fun!
NBA GM Survey (NBA.com) & NBA GMs see Milwaukee Bucks winning title, first MVP for Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic (ESPN)
The surveys are in from around the league, and the Bucks/Giannis continue to sit either atop or near-to ranking as the team most likely to win the title, player most likely to win MVP, best defensive player in the league, etc etc etc.
A true testament to the stature Giannis has gained over the years that he is a viable opponent with hot guy of the moment Luka Doncic for “player you’d choose to build around right now”. He alone can probably overcome a pretty creaky roster if things go right.
2022-2023 Season Preview: Milwaukee Bucks (NBA.com) & 2022-23 NBA betting preview: The case for the Milwaukee Bucks (ESPN)
(Lotta NBA and ESPN stuff to start; apologies, but it was a somewhat quiet week)
Aschburner is fun to read and relatively clear-eyed about the state of the team as usual, and I appreciated the gambling guy offering up that Giannis winning DPOY is the best value bet to make for this iteration of Milwaukee. The rationale — that Brook Lopez will suddenly become three years younger — is weak, but there’s a reasonable angle that says a perimeter-focused defense gives Giannis more responsibility to hunt out opportunities to sky in from the weak side to clean possessions up. Whether he has the energy to do that and shoulder an offensive load is an open question over 82 games.
Dan Devine popped up over at Yahoo after leaving The Ringer, and he returns to the MMMR with quite a long piece giving some pros and cons for each of seven “contender” teams. Worth reading if only to read a little more about the other teams we’ll presumably be facing off against! Also, is it strange that the Celtics have such “good odds” to win the title after the Ime Udoka, uhhhh, situation? I’m not sure a head coaching position has whiplashed in terms of perceived importance to winning more than it did in Boston the past 12 months.
The NBA Alignment Chart (The Ringer)
Rob Mahoney read DruSmith’s “What if Milwaukee’s ‘Big Three’ Were Characters in Dungeons & Dragons?” Fan Post and decided to expand the idea into a novella-length post.
Milwaukee gets deemed a “neutral good” team, neutral in that we balance between a systemic style of play and freeform approach, good in that we have vets and are generally more talented compared to the average roster. I’ll take it!
Part of me wonders whether all these older players hanging on for so long will preempt us from truly enjoying the “Giannis Era” as its own distinct category. You can just see it written on the wall that Doncic and Ja Morant will get big-upped as the true changing of the guard with Giannis stuck somewhere in-between as he usually is. One way to fix that is to go on a tear winning a load of titles, but c’est la, it may not be in the cards for us.
From a week full of Fan Posts to a quieter one, we still have a deserving winner of this week’s FPOTW award with Sahil-Kurup’s “Can Jrue Holiday defeat Father Time?” We often talk about how Khris Middleton will age into an old-man game, how Giannis will need to add plenty of craft whenever his athleticism tails off, but Jrue doesn’t pop up in this conversation all that often — yet he is older than Khris by a bit! If the three-ball can become a reliable component of his repertoire and he can further master being a physical jackass on defense, we should be set for a few more seasons to come.
The Social Media Section
I haven’t bothered to listen to the Lowe Post pod in question, but the rationale makes sense: Alex’s failed senate run reduces long-term ties to the area, Marc has to be approaching the end of his active governorship which means he doesn’t get to have as much fun, and there will be plenty of financial froth ginned up in pursuit of the Suns ownership; if someone can’t secure that deal, maybe they’ll buy secondhand off Lasry
Bill Simmons on today's Lowe Post: I've heard the Lasry (ownership) stake is available— rcon14 (@rcon14) October 7, 2022
Bud sure does love three-big starting lineups. Go get me another glass of Gatorade, Grayson.
Hearing rumblings that Bobby Portis will be given every opportunity to start permanently this year for the Bucks.— Trey Crosby III Guru (@TCIIIESQ) October 4, 2022
God Emperor Goof still laughed even after someone stole his punchline
The Antetokounmpos are a MUST to get on Family Feud
Hooping from sea to shining sea
These camel pics are crazy. Even crazier are the ones of Khris using his surgically-repaired hand to hold up a hawk.
Why does (presumably) Sandro’s father wear a captain’s hat around lol
More “Thank you Abu Dhabi” posts
The Bucks are back in the States and have two more preseason games to get through this week. They start on the road in Chicago on Tuesday and return to host the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday at the Forum. After that, they have a week off and then it’s time to really get the season started.