It won't be considered all that flashy compared to some of the other highlights in the latest run of success for the Bucks, but for a relatively innocuous late week in June I’d say the team had a good run of it. In a situation where roster flexibility is at an extreme premium, it certainly looks like the team may have found a way to fill two slots with both immediately functional talent and some mysterious upside. Enter Pat Connaughton and MarJon Beauchamp.
Both players gave us a little bit of a surprise; Pat in opting into his $5.7 million player option and Beauchamp in being a relative unknown before having his named called on Draft night. For Pat, exercising his option will have been done with an eye towards a larger bump in his pay in any contract extension he and the Bucks can hammer out in the near future. His staying at a smaller salary value for this season will give back a hefty chunk of tax payments to ownership and so acts as a sort of doubling of value. Retaining a reliable rotation piece and opening up other paths to spending to the hilt in free agency without the rug being pulled out from under negotiations due to tax payments is a good bit of business by GM Jon Horst. With Pat’s decision, finding complimentary talents on the market should be easier for the team.
Beauchamp joins the team as a mix of all sorts of things: Nearly 22 years old with sparse competitive play to draw conclusions from, 6’6” tall with a huge wingspan, strong defensive base and next to zero offense that isn’t Thanasis-style dunks. At his age he has the possibility of contributing faster than, say, a 19 year old still growing into their body and skillset — at the same time, the downside could be a first-round pick falling off a cliff with little prospect of a turnaround. High risk? Probably. What makes him fascinating is that he’s high risk in ways categorically different from other players who attract that label. Funnily enough, he could fit everyone’s draft wishlist and nobody’s draft wishlist at the same time. Still, a moderately positive outcome this year sees Beauchamp take up a Jordan Nwora-sized place in the rotation with less of the bizarre baggage that entailed. Not bad if it works out!
Running through these first moves — if we were to read way way way too much into things — I’d reckon that Horst is aiming for a middle way this year. Running the squad of a year ago back to try its luck one last time while loading up on mid-tier salaries (Grayson Allen at $10+, Pat presumably in the double digits, Bobby the same) that make trades next offseason easier to facilitate. Essentially, see if this iteration has one more go in them, then begin to pull the plug as necessary. You may disagree with that strategy, but it appears the route they’re going down.
So with free agency looming, I’d say my confidence is in Milwaukee’s favor right now. Willingness to gamble might be the core tenant that can lead to a reinvention of the team’s fortunes, in the immediate and medium-term. Ironic as it is for Mr. Doom & Gloom to come on here and conduct a volte-face towards optimism, but I can’t help myself. Jon Horst has gotten us the promised land before, and the last week showed he might have a few more tricks up his sleeve to get us there again.
I’m almost certain someone on the staff or in the comments section has shared this piece since drafting Beauchamp. I’ll start with it here because it is one of the few long-form articles that give us some insight to his personal story and it deserves focused traffic for those readers who may have missed it. Truly one of the most inexplicable paths to the NBA I’ve read about in awhile; whether that’s a plus or a minus in Beauchamp’s favor is a matter of your personal preference.
Inside the amazing, convoluted journey MarJon Beauchamp took from Yakima to the NBA draft (Seattle Times)
And if you’re looking for the MarJon companion piece to the above from a more local outlet, we’ve got this one from the Seattle Times. Quite fascinating just how burgeoning the hoops scene is in Washington state and Seattle in particular.
The Ringer Pick-By-Pick Draft Grades (The Ringer)
Now that the picks have happened, Kevin O’Connor can do a little retrospective and grade the fit of each player to the draft slot and team doing the picking. Rejoice, for he has granted the Bucks a ‘B’ for the Beauchamp pick. 2023 title, here we come!
Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers have one goal: Be their father’s legacy (ESPN) & ‘Rise’ Review: To Be Giannis (New York Times)
It’s debut week for the Giannis Antetokounmpo biopic “Rise” from Disney, which means it is review season (I believe we’ll have our own on the site sometime in the coming week). I’m sure it is a fine film that does its best to capture the Antetokounmpo’s remarkable path as a family. Even for Bucks fans who pretty much know the beats of their story nearly by heart, it may be enjoyable to watch a dramatic rendition of it if you have the streaming service of choice.
Meet Melanie Ricks (On Milwaukee)
You probably recognize Melanie from her time as the in-arena host at the Forum or from the new role she took on last season filling in as sideline reporter on BSWI game broadcasts. Either way, I think she’s a great presence and it is nice to have someone involved in a very public-facing role who hails from Milwaukee itself. Here’s to further success for her with the organization!
It is weeks like this that make being the one and only member of the FPOTW winner’s committee such a challenge. So many good posts, so much good content, and yet only one trophy (and $100,000 Brew Hoop Bucks) to award. To break the tie, I ended up accounting for the people’s choice (i.e. recs), which means this week’s winner is toasterrebound with “Ranking the Dynasties”. The NBA’s history in many ways revolves almost exclusively around the tides of these dynasties; it is what makes it singular among many leagues. Milwaukee doesn’t have a claim to cracking the top 11, but maybe we’ll be having a different conversation two or three years from now.
Honorable mentions go to:
- Harms with “Under Pressure”
- R983 with “NBA Coaches Ranking”
- dgroll1 with the off-the-wall content, “Who is the better fit for our #2 pg, Hill or Teague?”
The Social Media Section
Student first Athlete second Aplus pic.twitter.com/qgL5zrSzLH— MarJon Beauchamp (MJB) (@Marjon32) November 2, 2016
Give all of Thanasis’s minutes to Pluto, Bud
He can literally do no wrong. On a Giannis-level man of the people streak right now.
Statement that will surely age incredibly well
Bennedict Mathurin wants to test LeBron James (via @washingtonpost):— Evan Sidery (@esidery) June 24, 2022
“A lot of people say he’s great. I want to see how great he is. I don’t think anybody is better than me. He’s going to have to show me he’s better than me.” pic.twitter.com/cx3ghu9n1R
I love this awkward call footage; literally nobody can hear anyone else. At least everyone is smiling.
The moment MarJon got the call from Horst. pic.twitter.com/D7rOGoomBL— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 24, 2022
Mark your calendars for Summer League!! pic.twitter.com/ewIWy3HofX— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 21, 2022
Wonder where in Milwaukee this was taken
Notoriously good guy Thanasis probably only threw like six of these kids through a hoop
King of the Dorks and his three brothers go to a movie premier about their lives
Free agency looms just around the corner, kicking off this Thursday, June 30th. We’ll presumably have the Bobby Portis contact news to kick things off for the Bucks, and then who knows where the winds of the open market will take us? And as a reminder, I believe Grayson Allen’s contract kicks up to something like $9.35 million later this week as well.
Transaction season is upon us! Looking forward to seeing how the team goes about retooling.