Oh how sweet these playoffs may turn out to be.
Amid all the various scenarios heading into the final day of the season, I had always just assumed we would stick as the East’s second seed. That’d have been fine by me; we’d need to dive headfirst into the fire eventually, so if that meant playing the Nets right away, then so be it.
Little had I given the possibility of dropping into the three spot and playing the Chicago Bulls much thought. Probably because, if we can be frank, the Bulls are as close to a nothingburger as it gets in a playoff field like the NBA’s. Having to shut down Lonzo Ball for the remainder of the season put a big dent in any latent aspirations that team may have had, but even had he been present, what we’re about to witness is the wholesale sundering of an entire professional sports organization by a seven-foot tall agent of doom. There is not a single soul, much less two or three put together, on the entire Bulls roster who will so much as bother Giannis Antetokounmpo. We saw it throughout the regular season, and we’re about to see it take to a new level to start Milwaukee’s title defense.
I admit that there remains the outside possibility that DeMar DeRozan has the series of his life, stepping up in the playoffs in a way he’s never done before in his entire career. In that case, I grant that the Bulls may be able to take one off the Bucks, but any more than that would truly be a shock. This talk isn’t even my being bombastic or braggadocious; its simply looking at the cold hard facts and understanding that Milwaukee should be heavy, heavy, heavy favorites.
There’s no such thing as a walk through the playoffs, but looking at the bracket now, I’d feel good about our chances of taking down Chicago, beating whoever survives a Celtics/Nets slugfest, and then taking care of Toronto or Miami in the ECF. To get a somewhat confident start to things is a blessing, and I hope the Bucks take full advantage of it.
The Bucks Looked Different Without Brook Lopez. Now That He’s Back, Can Milwaukee Repeat? (FiveThirtyEight)
I like it when the Bucks or a particular player goes under the Second Spectrum magnifying glass since that data just isn’t available to us plebeians. I’d suggest reading the piece because it does the usual FiveThirtyEight thing of giving what we’re seeing some numbers, but this little chart is fun:
The sheer shift of Bobby’s possessions from drop last year to blitz/switch/show this year is truly mind-boggling. And it makes sense that Brook has somehow upped his drop possessions this year as he works to quickly find his rhythm. Fun information here.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s jokes aside, Bucks serious about repeating (NBA.com)
I would certainly hope we would be. Would be kind of strange to play this whole season and just lollygag in the playoffs, even if King Dad Joke is our heart and soul.
The Definitive MVP Case for Giannis Antetokounmpo: The 2-Time Winner Keeps Getting Better (Action Network)
Lots of good video clips and explanations from Matt Moore here. He’s followed the league for awhile and so has a good sense of how to summarize the general tenor of a player’s season, and I think he’s captured Giannis’s 2021-2022 campaign pretty well. From the dominant plays to the subtle ways he’s changed his approach to take advantage of what defenses habitually throw at him.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Put His Money in 50 Banks Until Bucks Owner Helped Him Invest (Bloomberg)
Lasry spins this as giving one of his players advice without every considering that Giannis either liked having the option of going to any bank he liked regardless of the owner and also that Giannis may have felt an obligation to bank regional/local as much as possible. Man of the people and all that stuff.
This NBA MVP Race Could Be the Closest in Recent History (The Ringer)
Almost inevitably, Jokic will win the award by a landslide of first-place votes and then all the hyperventilating over just how tight a race we had will be for naught. Happy to have had that two game stretch against the Sixers and Nets where I was convinced Giannis had won it yet again.
How and in what way can Luca Vildoza adapt to the Milwaukee Bucks rotation? (Uno Contra Uno)
Suggest you go in and hit the translate button for this piece (which was helpfully retweeted by Frank Madden). I quite honestly hadn’t excepted Mr. Vildoza to be the subject of such poetic rhapsodizing. If he can win over the hearts and minds of supporters back home like this, maybe he’ll be able to do the same here in Milwaukee. We wish him the best of luck here with the Bucks, and hopefully he can wow and earn a spot for himself this offseason.
Fan Post of the Week
A very tough award to hand out this week as longtime institution-of-one R983 made a triumphant return to our midst. However, much like with the scoring title, I think a proper FPOTW winner should be someone who has a certain number of appearances to fall back on. So, sorry R983, it’s nothing personal (especially since you have plenty of FPOTW trophies in your case as it is); the final regular season FPOTW winner is WiscoJoe! Get down here and bask in praise for “Bobby Portis: Will He Stay or Will He Go?” ! I’m always thankful for others who go through the trouble of taking a look at upcoming free agency periods, which teams have cap space, and asking logical questions about why a guy would be wanted/want to go there. WiscoJoe is pretty convincing that, so long as Bobby is willing to sign “below market” one more year this offseason, he’ll have a long hefty deal and probable long-term role in Milwaukee.
Know Your Enemy
The Social Media Section
Some times dork, some times amateur philosopher
the only way to make watching this flashback more delicious is to watch with @nabisco snacks #NBA75 #ad— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) April 9, 2022
"If I keep worrying about if I can win the scoring champ, and who has done it in the past... It takes me away from the goals I really want to achieve."— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 10, 2022
Giannis is locked in on his biggest goals
(via @Bucks) pic.twitter.com/1z1ZDNL7VV
Khris asking the tough follow-up questions
.@ZoraStephenson asking Jrue about his new 3-point celebration and the answer is probably not what you expect. @Jrue_Holiday11 shares what tv shows he and "Young Boy Sandro" watch. pic.twitter.com/k6zM4bKmH1— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 8, 2022
Joe Ingles doesn’t need a vert to hit this jumper in your eye
I’ll go sit my ass down and leave you alone @Joeingles7 pic.twitter.com/0syCAtnomV— Josh Hart (@joshhart) April 6, 2022
Funny now that the big conspiracy is that Milwaukee is the league’s favored franchise
“I knew if I was in Milwaukee and I set that screen, I’d foul out in the first quarter… but I could literally clothesline someone [in GS]… and they wouldn’t call it.”— ProCity Hoops (@ProCityHoops) April 4, 2022
- Andre Bogut on how the Warriors were officiated in 2016
(via @ryenarussillo) pic.twitter.com/oxrbPrZ2SD
Just chop that wood as a Buck next year, please
I appreciate that Grayson dresses like I would if I was in the league
Sandro confirmed captain of the Anti Social Club
I like the sunglasses and that’s about it
I’ve done some research and it appears Luca got the rest of his arm sleeve tattoo done sometime in December 2021. It looks good.
God bless the Argentinians
LUCA VILDOZA A LOS MILWAUKEE BUCKS pic.twitter.com/SyCOfv3sCd— BLAZERS ARGENTO (@BlazersArgento) April 4, 2022
retired janitor’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 51-31
Riley’s 2021-2022 prediction record: 46-36
I humbly offer my congrats to rj on another season of prognostication in the books. I’m too lazy to go back and look, but I have to figure that’s three years in a row with the prediction title in-hand, a dynasty the likes of which the Bucks can merely aspire to.
As of writing, we don’t know when the Bucks will first play (the league may reveal it later tonight, Sunday), but its safe to assume we’ll be starting things at home for Game 1 on Saturday. I fully anticipate a victory, even if it is a noon-time tipoff on NBATV that six people will be able to watch.