It was the week that put paid to my fantasies of witnessing a totally unblemished season. The week that ruined my hopes of random nobodies spending actual currency to print their equivalent of the “24-1” t-shirts. Seven days that sunk dreams.
It was also a week where a few role players stepped forward on short notice and, well, played roles. Roles above what they’ll ever be expected to do when/if the Bucks become fully healthy. And yet seeing some players step up in unique circumstances is encouraging not because the Bucks will need to rely on them to do so throughout every regular season game, but more due to the capabilities on the roster coach Mike Budenholzer may be able to pull from in the future.
Start with Brook Lopez. A demonic presence on defense so far this year, the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo against the Thunder and Spurs pushed Lopez closer to the hoop on offense as well — and despite the fact that such a post-heavy diet is atypical these days for him, Lopez carried much of the scoring burden in the crucial phases of the Thunder win and did fine against Austrian body-clone Jakob Pöltl. Jevon Carter should never be the lead guard, but against the Thunder he set a career-high in scoring and assists, following it up with another 21 point outing against the Spurs. MarJon Beauchamp made a boatload of threes against OKC, and while he was far less productive scoring against San Antonio, he featured that particular mix of size, speed, and length on defense to wall off driving corridors consistently against all sorts of defensive assignments.
So while the Bucks lost twice, I look at last week as something of a win. When times got dire, guys who needed to take advantage of an opportunity more or less did so. It won’t alter the core of the Bucks approach, but it hints at the relative depth of the roster when reserves are called upon. Exactly what we’ll need to have yet another prosperous regular season.
The ESPN/national media attention kiss of death arrived for the first time this season, and like clockwork the Bucks have gone 1-1 since its publication. Also reminds us how bad many of the opponents are/were that those wins came against, and that the Bucks have absolutely slaughtered regular season foes before and then banana-peel-stumbled their way to painfully hilarious playoff exits in the past. As ever, the games mean something and absolutely nothing all at the same time.
Don’t worry, I didn’t link to the wrong article. The Grayson Allen news is buried halfway through this article that starts on Bojan Bogdanovic’s sixth career revival as a member of the Pistons.
On some level the Allen news is totally unsurprising. His salary slot would fit really nicely in a lot of middle-tier trades, he clearly has some value as a shooter and while he is in actuality 27 years old, he seems younger which should fool a GM or two who are asleep at the wheel. With Jevon Carter shooting as well as he has and the shades known as Wes Matthews and George Hill available, the guard unit may capably hang on even if thinned out. Your mileage may vary on Jae Crowder as the piece in return, and it doesn’t sound like anything is close to imminent, but this is a front to keep an eye on.
Around the NBA: Luka-ball, the Bucks’ new defense, and trouble in Minny (Pounding the Rock)
More SBN sister sites doing more stuff that has them branching beyond the walled garden of their own team. In an age where finding the time to watch enough of your team is a chore, we benefit when someone in the community stays in touch with what is going on elsewhere around the league. Improves the knowledge base of the group and you’ll hopefully see a bump in the quality of commentary as a nice benefit!
Brook’s defense key to Bucks’ hot start (Bucks.com)
I’m happy to see the Bucks posting their own stat-focused articles again. Brew Hoop prof. emeritus Alex Boeder used to run them most weeks a season or two ago, and now Louis Zatzman is in the writer’s seat. The first in the new series deals with Brook Lopez and what may be his best stint as a defensive force in his entire career. A worthy subject!
Milwaukee Bucks 22/23 City Edition Uniform (Bucks.com)
It is busy as sin, blue (especially this shade of it) doesn’t look very good as a one-off primary color on alternate jerseys, and your guess is as good as mine why “The Gathering Place” is in orange of all colors. I appreciate that they’re pulling from design aesthetics within the community itself so that explains some of the elements, but the proportions are off and the shorts should be dialed way back.
Will withhold a final judgment until we see them with the alternate court when they debut this week, but I’d rather they’d have spent the court dollars on a hardwood to go with the purple jerseys this year.
Everyone’s a critic, etc etc etc.
The NBA Is Speeding Up (The Ringer)
Good news for Giannis appreciators around the league, and for those who enjoy basketball because it pits some of the greatest athletes alive against one another.
While teams figure out the transition (sorry) to a more open offensive game, the younger, quicker teams will surely benefit. For an older team like the Bucks, figuring out how to halt a fast break without fouling will be critical; watch the likes of Jevon Carter and Jrue Holiday especially — you can see them hone roles as stoppers numerous times a game and it is impressive to watch. Just another level on the chessboard to master.
Does Trading For An NBA Star Work? It’s Complicated. (FiveThirtyEight)
This is an interesting question that strikes right at the heart of the NBA’s drama and intrigue-driven appeal. On the one hand you intuitively understand that acquiring good or great players is good, so you want to get them however you can. But you also intuitively know that trading for said guys usually requires shipping assets in the form of useful players in the immediate, young guys who could grow into something, or draft tools that might’ve been used to trade for mid-tier players.
That a guy who is being traded usually either demanded said trade and so might have an iffy attitude or proved not good enough to win in his home market also points to some pitfalls in star trades. Milwaukee overcoming those challenges when they got Jrue Holiday was an exception, not the rule.
Not to be denied two weeks in a row, retired janitor is back atop the winner’s stand with, “Rise and the Last Kingdom: A Character Study”, the closest thing this site has had to a review for the Giannis biopic film since its debut. My favorite part, and the through line that clinched rj this week’s FPOTW was the Hegel-driven natural leap from early medieval Anglia to the creation of the NBA. History may not repeat, but it is continuous.
Know Your Enemy
- Atlanta Hawks - Peachtree Hoops - In absence of Young, Murray leads Hawks to victory to hand Bucks first loss of season
A nice long recap of our first loss of the season from last week with some clips picked out by the author to drive home some stylistic points of interest in that matchup. There will be changes to each team’s approach if Trae Young is available for tonight’s game, but still stuff of interest in here.
- Cleveland Cavaliers - Fear the Sword - What we learned about the Cleveland Cavaliers this week: Oct. 31 - Nov. 6
The latest edition of the “What we learned” column on FtS will likely go up later today, so be sure to go and check in to get the absolute latest. In the meantime, here’s a good rundown of what’s driving Cleveland’s remarkably strong start to the season.
- Philadelphia 76ers - Liberty Ballers - I can’t believe the Sixers haven’t fired Doc Rivers yet...and yet, I can totally believe it
The Social Media Section
Jon Horst felt bad about Bud having no ankle to speak of and decided to join him
Coors Light is perfectly fine, especially with a headband, but obviously just negotiate to do this with Miller Lite. Thanks.
I’ve actually realized that MarJon’s social presence is just DJ Wilson’s with more overt references to his personal flavor of the Almighty Father
Serge may indeed be the Legendary Sixth Antetokounmpo Brother. The chemistry is too clear to ignore.
S/O to the kids
I’m starting to see where Giannis got his comedy inspirations from
Don’t give him food poisoning, Serge!
Riley’s 2022-2023 Weekly Prediction Record: 8-4
Milwaukee’s Actual 2022-2023 Record: 10-2
Back the Bucks to the hilt one week and see them lose for the first time all season (and then watch them do it again four days later). Such are the hardships of a life spent tapping away at a keyboard every Sunday night in the vain hopes of building some semblance of a lasting echo on the most ephemeral bit of communication technology humanity has yet built.
We’re somehow back to playing the Hawks again (???) tonight in Milwaukee, will host the Cavaliers on Wednesday, and then it is back out to Philadelphia to play street clothed James Harden on Friday. I’m putting down a 2-1 week with a revenge win over the Hawks and another throttling of the James Hardens, tempered by a loss to a Cavaliers team in a game that shall fully announce the completion of their coming-of-age arc. All three games actually hold a lot of promise in terms of entertainment value, so we’ll all be winners no matter the outcomes!