The Mafuzzy Man Era sadly looks to be coming to an end. Turns out he may have been cooked all along, despite the highlight package Bucks social ran out when we acquired him showing footage of when he was a decade younger and could still jump. With Milwaukee’s strict roster-building maxim of “no assholes” in place, we will likely see Serge moved swiftly along to Oklahoma City’s vistas where he can finish his days a professional athlete.
There are two costs that came with the Ibaka acquisition: The first being the departure of Donte DiVincenzo, the second being the opportunity cost of having given Serge’s roster spot this past summer to someone else entirely. On Donte, the relationship’s writing was on the wall the moment Grayson Allen came to town, and DiVincenzo has been more or less the exact same player in Golden State as he was in Milwaukee — a fringe starter or backup guard who can do a little of everything without excelling at anything. Frankly, I haven’t seen much quibbling on this point and so don’t regard it as a true loss.
Regarding signing a different player altogether, I’ve more sympathy on this point. I can understand the value in bringing back a veteran who, in theory, could provide spot minutes and should been manifestly aware of his current limitations. That he could be bought out at any time gives the Bucks wiggle room on the vet buyout market down the road. Understandable. However, that a 33 year-old vet on the verge of launching a full-time multimedia career was the best option at hand (in the front office’s mind) also speaks a tendency towards conservatism, forced or embraced, in the Bucks org.
Keep the guy who is here because we know him and think he’ll keep mum if Mike Budenholzer puts him on deep freeze. He can join Jordan Nwora and Thanasis Antetokounmpo to form a triumvir of player filling roster slots and serving little purpose (Nwora might at least get traded, Thanasis is here as the Giannis tax). Three spots that could be used to try something or someone new who hasn’t been here before and shown to be mediocre or worse as a Buck. Maybe they end up being as useless as Serge, but maybe he could be in the mix for the 10th-12th rotation spots during a long regular season? Perhaps I wish for too much.
We will always have this, at least:
Subscription needed, so sorry about that, but Zach Lowe dedicated one of his 10 weekly slots to Joe Ingles’s short time as a Buck. He particularly spotlights the entry passing Ingles brings to the lineup — a skill I’d been mildly clamoring for for a long while now. There is a lot of talk about wanting Giannis to up his post moves, yet there’s only so much he can do in game using chunks of possession to force himself into the right spots. If he can get to those spots in transition or before a defense is set and is then fed the ball by Ingles, that may help quite a bit.
Does the NBA Have Any More Statue-Worthy Superstars? (The Ringer)
A really long article talking about player statues without ever mentioning Giannis Antetokounmpo as one of the leading candidates currently playing. Steph Curry makes sense, as would LeBron if he patched things up with greater Cleveland again, but I don’t think there are many others right now who would be deserving of the honor.
Even then, I think retiring a number is the most significant thing a team can do to honor any player, especially since contemporary bronze statuary is... not aesthetically pleasing (to me).
Let’s guess how Coach Bud feels about different types of water (Milwaukee Record)
Yeah no, we just, we want to keep hydrated, do whatever it takes day by day, hour by hour. Its a long process and we’re just going to look at all the options and we want to work together with what we have and uh... yeah we just want to win.
Does the NBA have a load management problem? (Yahoo Sports)
Really good read here and one I think most people can sympathize with. The price to go see the Bucks the one time a year they’re here in Minneapolis is hefty, and I’m the type of person who would happily go to a sporting event by themselves to help save costs. When the playoffs arrive the games can be compelling, yes, but the 82 games leading up are less so. We’re now at the point where decreasing the schedule to 72 or even 60 games would probably not fix the resting and load management tactics teams employ, either. There is no incentive or punishment for them to do otherwise.
Jaren Jackson Jr. Is The Defensive Player Of The Year Front-Runner — But He Wouldn’t Be A Typical Winner (FiveThirtyEight)
Checking in on DPOY not because anything is set in stone, but merely because it is one of the awards Giannis will have a legitimate shot at winning depending on how the second half of the season goes. Jaren Jackson Jr. has been knocking on the door of the elite defenders in the league for a few seasons now, and in limited appearances so far this year, looks to be there. But he also fouls like he’s prime Larry Sanders and gets load managed a bunch due to a moderate-length injury history. JJJ v. Giannis is always a fun matchup, so I’m happy there’s another guy out there pushing Giannis to play at an ever higher level.
A pair of good posts this week and so the decision is a bit tough, but we’re an awards committee that values the here and now over the far distant future full of draft picks we’ll never make. Therefore, we ask G may to come down and accept the FPOTW award for “Trade Proposal Thread”. If you have a way to get us Tyrese Haliburton for a bag of Lays potato chips, applications are open!
And also check out stoneAge’s draft piece, “The Way Too Early Draft Post” if you want to fix the team via picks, as well.
Know Your Enemy
- The Pacers are here, which means Indy Cornrows and Caitlin Cooper. Spotlighted this week is an article that doesn’t dive deep into Xs and Os, but brings us up to speed with a Pacers team who is suddenly hitting a bit of an injury patch. Tyrese Haliburton will be away for a few weeks with a knee injury (shoutout my fantasy team), but that doesn’t mean Indiana will be pushovers, necessarily.
- Thad Young could’ve avoided a C- midseason grade if he made the correct call and had joined the Bucks for free. Instead, he’ll have to watch the Bucks joyously celebrate barely beating Toronto’s starting five from the bench later this week. It’s not too late for a buyout, Thad!
Cleveland Cavaliers - Fear the Sword - The numbers behind Donovan Mitchell’s 71-point night
- Guys putting up point totals like that make me wonder... just how much could Giannis feasibly score if he was matched up against an ideally weak defense (incompetent players, undersized players, etc.) and had the team force feeding him every single possession. It’d be stupid, but I bet he could go for 80 before gassing out completely.
The Social Media Section
Anti Social Social Club on a cheetah print sweater. Aight.
Keep pushing, having fun and playing together pic.twitter.com/tchRMxPQrV— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) January 12, 2023
MarJon meets fan (Colorized, 2023)
Serge’s last RT
Check out @sergeibaka album Art.— Somaliland Rural Education Committee (@RuralCommittee) January 14, 2023
A renaissance man.
The kind of efficient night that could see him wearing Red Star Belgrade red and white in the near future
This one comes to us courtesy of my brother Jacob who forwarded it my way
All of Bucks twitter every time there’s a new trade rumor pic.twitter.com/i1Nuk0eJG1— Alex Sage (@sage_alex) January 14, 2023
Riley’s 2022-2023 Weekly Prediction Record: 19-24
Milwaukee’s Actual 2022-2023 Record: 27-16
The Bucks are back in action later today at home against the Indiana Pacers, will host the Toronto Raptors tomorrow, and then head to Cleveland on Saturday to play the Cavs. I will be optimistic and say the team will break out of its funk and win all three while holding out hope that this is the week Khris Middleton really returns.