If there has been one constant in the NBA since The Bubble and the league’s return from its initial Covid hiatus, it is this: A lot of basketball. Shortened offseasons, a season that extended deep into summer to try and catch the league up to a regular October-to-June timeline, a Summer Olympics in there; enough minutes to go around for everyone.
For fans of the simple art of basketball, this is undoubtedly a good thing, even if it has at times come at the expense of the usual upper crust of NBA execution. For the teams themselves and a good number of viewers, it was probably getting close to over saturation. Given Milwaukee’s sometimes unsatisfying play, plus the unanswered question marks generated by the continued absence of Brook Lopez, I can’t think of a previous season where the All-Star Break arrived at a better time for the Bucks.
The team and fans will have over a week away from one another. That gives us all some time to step away from the rat race of the regular season, Brook (and Pat) gets another week of recovery, and by the time we’re back at the end of this week we’ll have regained an appetite for Bucks basketball. Not that we were an eyesore per se, but this season has been inconsistent enough to be mildly frustrating. You can’t be frustrated if games aren’t actually being played, and maybe that’s the trick to the NBA’s late-season game.
While there is a stylistic shift in how Giannis has attacked the paint with an eye on executing a bail-out to create perimeter offense, I do think going through years of being rigorously refereed have helped mold his approach. He isn’t as all-out reckless, anticipates defenders’ movements, all while refs gradually become accustomed to the speed of his game. So yes, he is “committing” fewer charges, but its a holistic change.
An interesting and actually useful experiment run here by ESPN to do a sort of snap-shot informal poll of media voters for who they’d have as MVP if the season ended now. The Bucks losing to the Sixers behind a great Embiid outing will certainly not help Giannis’s narrative chances, but there’s plenty of basketball still to be played. If integrating new (or newly healthy) players causes a slip in Embiid or Nikola Jokic’s production, maybe Antetokounmpo will have a window of opportunity to nab a third MVP.
76ers star Joel Embiid’s dominant performance highlights Bucks’ growing concerns on defensive end (CBS Sports)
Once more on Embiid: He is a monster, and being undersized has hurt Milwaukee, but some of the defensive principles we saw the past few weeks were lacking regardless of opponent. To the untrained eye (aka my own), the base defense featured far less hedging pick & rolls and much more simple switches and a group effort to deny easy paint looks. Any offense that can execute at an average level can figure a way around that. Hopefully that’s just a thing we’re trying for the sake of trying stuff.
Tracy McGrady says Giannis Antetokounmpo would’ve ‘struggled’ in his era: ‘If you can’t shoot, it’s gonna be hard’ (AFD)
The writer of this piece points it out, but the “need a jump shot to be a good player” reached its zenith as a revolution like... just five years ago? Maybe there was a more nuanced point McGrady made during the interview in question, but otherwise this is a statement which does nothing more than degrade the continuum between basketball’s past and present.
Yes, it will be, but I’m just hoping it’ll be a bloodbath for everyone not named the Milwaukee Bucks.
As usual, this idea is maybe interesting, but the reason why these mid-season tournaments work in other sports is because they help transcend the boundaries of international borders and levels of competitive pyramids. Anyways, the league’s owners would have to give over a hefty chunk of change to make it worth the NBPA’s while.
Resident stock picker, personal financial adviser to the stars, and reading guru stoneAge is back with another book review in last week’s, “February 2022 Book Review - Manias, Panics and Crashes”. The one bubble missed in discussing the bubbly nature of the NBA is The Bubble. I liked G may’s comparison of the Bucks to an older, established enterprise that doesn’t regularly warrant “blue chip” status. Don’t tell LED their operation is more General Electric than Apple, though.
Know Your Enemy
- Brooklyn Nets - Nets Daily - Nets ‘very, very hungry’ to show why players came to Brooklyn in first place: To win
Uh... sure. I mean, your assembled super team imploded in like a year, but... sure.
The Social Media Section
Truly remarkable that Giannis has already done enough to warrant being on the stage with the likes of Michael Jordan at the 75th anniversary ceremony
It’s all good times, good vibes when the Antetokounmpos are around
Bobby spending his All-Star break back in Arkansas celebrating his roots is satisfyingly on-brand
Jordan Nwora doing the same in Louisville!
Giannis the kind of competitor to deny his teammate in a lackadaisical exhibition game
Wow. Khris Middleton went for it, but Giannis Antetokounmpo blocked his dunk attempt off the backboard.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) February 21, 2022
Not sure there will ever be an iconic All-Star moment that tops this one
Love Ray’s look here. He’s looking good in general. Happy for him.
Having a nice day rides again
The Heat have signed Javonte Smart to a two-way contract.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) February 16, 2022
Y’all hear something?
The current temperature at the next three NBA All-Star Game locations:— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 20, 2022
▪️ 2022: Cleveland - 16 degrees
▪️ 2023: Salt Lake City - 29 degrees
▪️ 2024: Indianapolis - 18 degrees
Tony “If you’re on time, you’re late” Snell
In the new Pull Up pod, CJ McCollum tells a story about how Ms. Benson sent her jet for him and Tony Snell, but Tony Snell got there early and left without him so they had to turn plane around a go get him— Shamit Dua (@FearTheBrown) February 17, 2022
Tony said I’m the star of this trade mf. catch an Uber to Nola, I got places to be— B Grizzly⚜️ (@KingzB_53) February 17, 2022
Thank you to the Bayshore employees
Apple Store at Bayshore mall has the nicest people … thanks for your help!— Pat Connaughton (@pconnaughton) February 16, 2022
retired janitor’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 36-24
Riley’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 35-25
Long-time readers know that All-Star break week is a week for goofy posts where we consult a constellation of random experts across a number of fields for goofy Bucks content. Stay tuned on that front as we’ll have plenty of airtime to fill between now and next Saturday. For next Saturday is when the games once again begin for Milwaukee, as a five-game home stand continues with a visit by the new-look Brooklyn Nets.
It’s unclear as of writing whether Ben Simmons will be available for the clash, though for entertainment’s sake I hope he is able to suit up and we can get a near-full-health clash between these teams.