Did Milwaukee’s title repeat chances hinge on, of all people, Semi Ojeleye?
I mean not in the fact that he might’ve been the worst player to wear a Bucks uniform in many a decade, but in his embodiment as an opportunity cost. GM Jon Horst had hit upon a short run of luck the offseason before signing “prove it” guys like Bobby Portis, Bryn Forbes, and to a certain extent Pat Connaughton. Two of those guys look set to opt out and cash in on the promise of minutes on a playoff roster. Even Torrey Craig, while unable to make an impact in Milwaukee, ultimately signed a two-year, $10 million guaranteed deal after his stint with Phoenix.
Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and, unfortunately, a whole lot worse. Bobby Portis 2.0, Semi nor Rodney Hood proved to be.
That’s a shame, and is assuredly part of why the roster ended up getting so thinned out once Khris Middleton went down in game two against Chicago. When you’re a team like the Bucks with plenty of dollars tied up in a concentrated player nucleus, hitting on those free agents available via the NBA’s multiple cap constraints makes all the difference. For Milwaukee, we went from feast to famine reloading the back half of the rotation.
The good news for the Bucks is that, thanks to Horst placing a couple of bets that came good, a big chunk of next season’s playoff rotation is already here. Giannis, Khris, Jrue, and Brook fill out the crucial components of a starting unit. Grayson Allen could be trade bait or a marginal fifth starter, George Hill (if he doesn’t outright retire) will make merely $4 million, and assuming ownership doesn’t fumble at the goal line, Pat and Bobby have no reason not to be back as they continue through their professional primes besides the billionaires running out of money.
You might quibble with the quality of Allen or Hill, but on paper that’s eight guys who have a shot at some role in a playoff series. If Horst can snap up the right free agent once more, or move some of the young guys in a trade, or (GASP) make a solid draft pick in the first round, that’s simply more reinforcements.
So in some sense, yes, our not repeating is tied up in Semi Ojeleye. Thankfully, Jon Horst isn’t dependent on hitting on two or three Semi Ojeleyes to elevate the roster; just one good signing should get us closer to going over the top. That’s comforting, even if there are more Ojeleyes floating around out there than Bobby Portises.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Just Gave a Master Class on the Blue Dolphin Rule. It’s a Lesson in Emotional Intelligence (Inc.com)
From an MBA graduate near you comes this piece pulling together a series of buzzwords I can only assume first appeared in a copy of the Harvard Business Review before getting applied to Giannis. Still, hand-wave-y jargon aside, I do think there are times where Giannis’s post-game interviews go beyond the typical athlete Q&As. There’s a reason why he continually has his answers clipped and shot across the internet while drawing admiration from viewers quite far away from our insular sports community.
What’s next for Bucks? Milwaukee must balance current title window with long-term ambitions in critical summer (CBS Sports)
I think this was a pretty well written piece looking at our somewhat limited options when it comes to retooling this offseason. Because of how much of an institution our star players have become in this most successful iteration of the franchise, any trade that saw, say, Brook Lopez moving to a new destination would be radical by its very nature. I’d guess we’ll try to run this group back out one more year before really getting wild, but Jon Horst has surprised us before.
The Boston Celtics not only toppled the champs — they did it against peak Giannis Antetokounmpo (ESPN)
It is truly unfortunate that we’re now going to get shoved into Celtics hagiography if they do go on to win the title, but hey, that’s how these things go. I’m sure Kevin Durant didn’t appreciate having part of his legacy coopted to further our own; now it is our turn to be an impressive chapter in someone else’s story. At least we get a chapter, right? Back in the Dark Ages we got a sentence at best, and that was during the Fear the Deer run!
Remembering Bob Lanier: Stories from his legendary NBA career (NBA.com)
A really good memoriam for Bob Lanier here from Steve Aschburner. Giving someone a proper send off by bringing to life just how much import they had on those around them and, by extension, many others beyond those direct connections. And it also goes to show how collective an effort a truly great team is in sports, regardless of era.
Bucks’ Darvin Ham Makes Perfect Sense for the LA Lakers amid Coaching Rumors (Bleacher Report) & Report: Darvin Ham has made ‘strongest impression’ on Lakers during interview process (Silver Screen & Roll)
I wouldn’t wish that pit of vipers coaching job on my worst enemy, much less a first-time coach who has such a good reputation preceding him. However, breaking through into the main role means taking whatever opportunity is given to you, so if this route opens for Darvin, we’ll wish him the best of luck. If he succeeds, he looks like a genius. If things go awry, everyone will give him a pass because my God, look at that mess.
Fan Post of the Week
One of my favorite aspects of teams who are in the middle of a rebuild are the exit interview-like reviews of which players progressed, stayed the same, or regressed as fans try to determine who has long-term staying power. While we’re not rebuilding, the same exercise can apply now that we failed to repeat, and R983 does their level best to set the table with the properly titled, “Where Do We Go From Here?”. All the rankings feel pretty fair to me, and you’ll get a hefty “amen” from me when wondering how it is that we pretty much get zilch from anyone who isn’t in the top-9 of the roster. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we won’t look to finesse a stylistic evolution this offseason by remolding the roster. Not sure how we’d do it, but something to keep an eye on.
(Speaking of back-end roster depth, thanks go to runner-up Camden_Fuller with, “It’s Time We Talked About the Draft” addressing one large component of team building we’ve missed on for a very long time. Hell, this piece almost got the win for this line alone: “While there may be a shiny new 35-year-old you could acquire...”)
Social Media Section
Note: I left Twitter a few weeks ago and so don’t have my finger as much on the pulse of that platform as I used to. I’ll continue to do my best to drag together stuff from that site via other sources, but if you see a drop off, that’s why. Onwards!
“Brewhoop.com Deer District” is old news. “Brewhoop.com Stadium” is the future.
Just in: A new group is purchasing a 11-acre parcel from Marquette University and planning a new entertainment district, including:— Dan Shafer (@DanRShafer) May 20, 2022
-8,000-seat stadium for a professional soccer club (renderings )
-Indoor concert venue
-Housing, retail, food & beverage pic.twitter.com/zQX6byjed7
Cradle of American democracy blah blah blah. We need to go back to square one with the entire concept of Philadelphia.
Philly City Council just passed a resolution that names Joel Embiid our MVP - "Most Valuable Philadelphian"— Anna Orso (@anna_orso) May 19, 2022
Don’t take huge rips and then tweet, folks
The Bucks should trade *either* Khris Middleton or Jrue Holiday to the Brooklyn Nets for Kyrie Irving.— Ben Stinar (@BenStinar) May 15, 2022
Middleton for Irving
Holiday for Irving
Who says no?
The league gets that having multiple competitions ongoing at once a la soccer works for that sport because of the roster sizes and playing schedules, right?
The NBA is discussing a new In-Season Tournament that would begin as soon as the 2023-24 season, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. With the Play-In Tournament here to stay given its success, concepts are beginning to ramp up on another competitive event.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 17, 2022
Talk to ‘em, Bobby?
Whoever wrote this needs to actually watch basketball. We need more basketball people in basketball. Stop talking bout my defense. Yeah I didn’t shoot the ball well but defense wasn’t the problem. https://t.co/KpcN2uLDk6 pic.twitter.com/WRdPJGYpkg— Bobby BP Portis (@BPortistime) May 16, 2022
Looking like a man who will never again step foot in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as long as he lives
Please come back for the minimum
More Nike-produced Giannis supercuts, please
Does anyone want us to publish an open thread for the remaining playoff series? I stopped watching basketball the second our season finished, but I’m certain some of your are continuing to follow along. You can let us know in the comments, though no guarantees on when it’ll get thrown up.