I had a realization the other day.
I realized there are two things I love more than pretty much anything else on this planet -
1) Watching the Bucks burn and bully their opponents, and 2) Playing Dungeons & Dragons with my friends. I know, I know…my nerdom goes deep. Not only am I a basketball nerd, but I’m a nerd rooted in the traditional sense as well.
The idea for this article actually started on the fateful night of July 20th, 2021, as the Milwaukee Bucks had their horns locked with the Phoenix Suns in an epic game 6 showdown. I was chatting with my Dungeons & Dragons buddies on Discord as the game was happening. One of them was also a massive Bucks fan, but no one else normally watched basketball. So my friend and I were explaining what sorts of players were on the Buck’s team by comparing them to D&D classes. This worked surprisingly well to get them up to speed.
You see, in Dungeons & Dragons there’s a party of adventurers who combine their skills and experience to achieve a common goal. They face many enemies and obstacles along their path, but have to find a way to persevere and emerge victorious. Every D&D class has its own flavor. The options are Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard. So which ones are the Buck’s players? Who’s the frontline fighter, tanking hits for his fellow party members? Who’s raining down hellfire from afar? Who’s speaking inspirational monologues to bolster his comrades? These are all very important questions that deserve answers. Well, fret not my fellow companions! I’m here to provide.
To begin the conversation let’s start with the ‘Big Three’... Khris, Jrue, and Giannis.
Player: Khris Middleton
D&D Class: Ranger
Confident and focused, the Ranger doesn’t need to get close to hurt his opponents. Armed with a quiver and longbow, he rains down a barrage of arrows on his enemies from afar before they can even touch him. His opponents know how deadly his aim can be, so they scramble to stop him…but the arrow’s already been loosed, the shot’s been fired, the damage done. But if the Ranger’s opponents close the distance on him, he can go toe-to-toe with them in melee combat, matching them blow for blow. These things are also true about Middleton. His confident mentality about shooting the ball, ability to create his own shot, and impressive full court assists are all in his wheelhouse. He has the size to guard multiple positions and does so with expertise, all while averaging 20.1 points/game last season. Opponents know Middleton is going to score on them. All they can do is damage control. And if he gets hot? Boyyyy, you better watch out.
Player: Jrue Holiday
D&D Class: Monk
Calm and serene, the Monk never lets anything get to him. He goes with the flow of battle, using his balance to overthrow his opponents. He enters the battle wielding the two deadliest weapons known to man: THESE HANDS. The Monk can unleash a flurry of blows to rattle his opponents, leaving them disarmed and on the defensive. His opponents know he’s quick, strong, and unflinching in the heat of battle. All these things apply to Holiday - he never gets off rhythm and approaches the game with a silent calmness. It’s like PJ Tucker said, "He’s a dog, but he’s the quietest dog you’ve ever seen." (or something like that) He’s always going to get after it and make it extremely difficult for his opponents. His hands are indeed the weapons his opponents fear the most, because of their ability to strip the ball or block a shot. But he’s also capable of delivering blows with THESE HANDS, averaging 18.3 points/game last season. In short, Holiday is someone opposing point guards have to prepare for.
Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo
D&D Class: Paladin
Driven by a righteous purpose, the Paladin is a front-line fighter who demands a lot of attention from those he battles. Heavily armed with a shield and warhammer, he sprints at break-neck speed into the fray. His opponents know they will have to surround him in order to keep him from reaching his goal...hopefully. But it’ll probably end up being futile because the Paladin is a juggernaut - a force to be reckoned with. There’s a spark in his eye and a fire in his belly! All the same things can be said of Antetokounmpo - He’s constantly drawing double and triple teams (sometimes more!) as he drives to the hoop. His offensive prowess (averaging a blistering 29.9 points/game last season) is only matched by his defensive stoppage. His "shield" is his muscle, his speed, his erasure of opponents’ shots. His "warhammer" is his ability to finish through contact, his jumpshot, his ferocious dunks. As for his "righteous purpose," well, that’s easy: to bring more chips back home to Milwaukee.
So there you have it. The Big Three - a Ranger, Monk, and Paladin.
Let me know in the comments if you agree with my nerdy assessments!
Also, we know who the Big Three are…but what about the rest of the team? Any theories?