There is no easy job in an NBA organization, whether it be the owner making a final call on important team-building policies, the GM coordinating the roster, the coaches putting players in the right spots, and the players themselves putting in the time to maintain and improve their own skillset. Which all will come to make Milwaukee’s title remarkable even if it is ultimately a one-off.
Heading into this offseason, we’re in a strange spot for a number of reasons. Largest among them being the legitimate case that the Bucks would’ve looked substantially different with Khris Middleton available. That’s well and good, but it makes for something of an odd couple of months as the decision makers figure out whether we should bring this crew back as-is, and importantly, if they think we can bring back a team that’s roughly qualitatively similar to the one that just got bounced while letting some guys go.
Namely, that means Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton (and Jordan Nwora, if you’re the kind of sicko). The conventional wisdom states that the Bucks will inevitably get Pat and Bobby back no matter the cost because there just aren’t a lot of opportunities for this team to pick up talent. And yet, nothing is guaranteed, especially when the luxury tax payment projections stack up. We’ve heard nothing to be concerned about, but I had figured last year that bringing back a guy like PJ Tucker was a shoo-in, which goes to show you how quickly free agency can move things. Someone like Pat, for example, could be seen as sitting at a position of less need than Bobby; a position where another free agent could be given a chance at something less than $8-10 million annually.
That’d be a heck of a gamble, though on the list of bets the Bucks could make letting a seventh or eighth man walk for cap reasons isn’t insane. Ultimately, it’ll come down to how much the owners are willing to pay up, and that number probably changes just about by the minute. Are they happy to pay $76 million? Time will tell.
A Utah Jazz head coaching candidate (AKA Charles Lee) is reportedly getting a promotion at his current job (Deseret News)
Coaching staffs in pro basketball are strange because there is the head coach, and then from our pedestrian point of view, there’s everyone else. We hear from “sources” that such and such assistant coach is great at offensive or defensive schemes, getting along with players, particular bodily technical aspects to the game, or whatever else; largely, we just have to take it on faith.
With Darvin Ham off to coach the Los Angeles Lakers, Bucks assistant Charles Lee was one of Mike Budenholzer’s longest-serving lieutenants. Lee had (and apparently continues to be) in the running for the Utah Jazz coaching job, although the Bucks have done what they can to keep him inside the organization with a promotion to associate head coach (i.e. lead assistant). If he does stay with Milwaukee, it’ll be interesting to wait and see for any stories highlighting his particular impact on how the Bucks operate from a position of more responsibility.
Darvin Ham ready for big task ahead as Lakers’ new coach (NBA.com)
Speaking of Ham, he had his first major press conference in LA since getting the head coaching spot. I particularly liked that Ham is bringing that concept of “daily vitamins” we heard a bunch about after Bud had been hired here years ago. Of course, that philosophy made a little more sense with a still-rising superstar; whether Westbrook, LeBron, Anthony Davis, et al. buy in at the same level is anyones guess. Maybe he’ll get enough out of role players to overcome the combined pressures of age and suffocating contracts.
Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and Giannis Antetokounmpo headline the Finals’ All-Game 3 team (ESPN+)
And you guys think we’re starved for content? Sheesh! Can you imagine what kinds of inanities get tossed around in ESPN’s equivalent of a writers room that leads to this sort of article?
Lest you think Giannis’s 41 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists in last year’s Finals to get Milwaukee its first win of the series was good enough to get him a spot in the Finals All-Game 3 starting lineup, he merely earned the spot as the “Sixth Man”. Elgin Baylor’s 1963 performance against the Celtics with 38 points, 23 rebounds, and 8 assists put him over Giannis. Which is fine, because God knows I have no way of evaluating the merits of each case against each other, and I’m really just using this to fill up white space.
Jrue and Lauren Holiday Announce Third Round of Funding for Black-owned Businesses and Nonprofits, Providing Up to $1,000,000 in Grant Funding and Additional Resources (Bucks.com) & All Access with Jrue Holiday and his love for assisting the community (House of Highlights)
As usual, very cool work from Jrue and his wife Lauren with their JLH Fund. Appreciate that it isn’t simply the offer of grants, but also access to a wider community of coaching and advice to small-business owners getting their work off the ground. Best of luck to all the grant recipients, whether they be in Milwaukee or elsewhere across the country.
Fan Post of the Week
If there’s a list to be made, there’s one individual you call to put on the case: R983. And a list has duly been delivered to win this week’s FPOTW award in the form of “Top 20 NBA Duos for 2022/23”. I’d maybe move Kyrie and KD down a bit based off the somewhat unimpressive recent returns even when vaccine mandates were lifted, and if the Mavs can find someone to pair with Luka Doncic this offseason, they’d probably have a case. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this thought experiment.
The Social Media Section
What can this guy not do? I mean, I’m seriously asking.
Why did he or his team choose this particular cover of Linkin Park’s “In the End” for this video lol
Imagine if this had happened in the ECSF. That’s right, we’d be talking about our second consecutive run to the Finals
I like that Mamu is hanging around in Milwaukee. It truly is the best time of year to be in the city! Plus, he’s probably working out some of the draft candidates
It’s always been a White Sox city
Against all odds, the NBA Finals are still ongoing with both teams trading losses back and forth. That’s fine because it means we get to remain “champions” for another week or so. Savor it.