And so we’ve reached the final week of the 2022-2023 regular season. As far as NBA seasons go, this one feels like it went by relatively quickly and has teams up and down the standings in both conferences still competing most nights to improve their seeding as we ramp up to the playoffs.
For the Bucks, they did largely what they needed to do last week winning 3 out of 4 games — unfortunate that the loss featured them getting the brakes absolutely beaten off of them at home against the only other Eastern Conference team people peg as a contender, but it happens. Given that nobody on the team is pegged to win any personal awards, there is nothing to aim for other than simple team success in the four remaining games on the schedule.
The upside for Milwaukee is that the Washington Wizards are fully eliminated from playoff contention and so have little to play for this week. The downside for Milwaukee is the three remaining opponents will realistically be looking to maintain or improve their spot in the standings and so won’t just wriggle around on the floor like life-sized Trolli worms while we waltz to victories. It is horrible that Milwaukee must play the Raptors to finish the year; giving Nick Nuršević a chance to run both sets of starters into the ground days before the post-season is a recipe for disaster.
Two games at home, two games away. Just keep plugging away and set yourself up for success.
NBA, NBPA reach tentative deal for new 7-year collective bargaining agreement (NBA.com)
We’ll keep an eye out for more details as the newest CBA goes from handshake agreement to ink on paper. I like the games-played minimum for awards and All-NBA places, am indifferent to the in-season tournament, hostile to losing the mid-level exceptions and buyout guys as a roster building tools just because we’ve got billionaire owners, and dubious about green lighting players investing in or being sponsored by sports gambling companies. I’m sure it’ll all turn out fine or mediocre at worst.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: ‘I would love to stay’ with Bucks ‘as long as I’m healthy and as long as they want me’ (CBS Sports)
I advocated to make this quote a newser piece last week when it aired on CBS because Giannis is prone to the “maybe, maybe not” game to a fault. My expectation is that he’ll wait to see how any new media rights deal for the league juices cap numbers again and will time his next contract with the Bucks to garner the most dollars possible — maybe this summer, maybe next. Either way, he’s never leaving.
Giannis Antetokounmpo hears the MVP debate, but has a bigger goal in mind: to win another NBA championship (Yahoo)
And more classic Giannis-isms adamantly advocating that we should cherish everyone in the NBA right now. He could literally average 50 points, 27 rebounds, and 19 assists a game and he’d still be up on that podium post-game singing the praises of Talen Horton-Tucker and his impact on league history or whatever.
Three things to Know: Do the Celtics have the Bucks number? (NBC Sports)
Going into last week’s Celtics game, I wasn’t adamant that it was a must-win game. It was a must-be-competitive-at-least game. OOPS. If Milwaukee faces Boston in the playoffs, 1) The narrative leading up to the first game may be so obnoxious as to suffocate all life on Earth and 2) We sure as hell better win the first game lest I begin urging a more rapid heat death of the universe.
The MVP Debate Is No Longer About Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid (The Ringer)
The headline of this piece is correct. It isn’t about Jokic and Embiid. It is about how we crash the conversation Kool-Aid Man style to push Giannis to nab his third award out of the blue. We can position Giannis Antetokounmpo as the candidate that can bring a hurting people (read: contemporary fans of professional basketball) together on something akin to a unity ticket. A house divided against itself cannot stand; a house held up by Giannis will stand for eternity. I hope the voters remember that simple truth.
Who Are The Brightest Stars Left In March Madness? (FiveThirtyEight)
Well... almost nobody now as of posting since both tournaments are either wrapped or about to finish. However, as lightning-rod-man pointed out a couple weeks back, it is never too early to take stock of draft prospects via the tourney. Who knows, maybe the 2023 Bucks Draft version of Donte DiVincenzo just punched their ticket to millions by impressing Jon Horst with two good showings in March?
Fan Post of the Week
It is exceedingly rare that we have a completely new winner reach to podium for FPOTW — a shame that it has to be a bit of a downer of a post, but congrats anyways to dsereno4 for “Celts in 4”. I deeply appreciate the zig of highlighting Grayson Allen’s recent play as a sign for post-season hope along with the zag of wondering if Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez won’t just fall off a cliff once the playoffs start. Thanks for writing and posting it, dsereno4!
Know Your Enemy (Until SBNation Ceases to Exist)
Washington Wizards - Bullets Forever - Just how good has Avdija been the past five games?
- The Wizards are marching back to the draft lottery and another summer wondering whether Bradley Beal should get shipped off. BUT! Not all hope is lost. 22 year-old Dani Avdija has been on a recent heater and gave BF’s Kevin Broom an excuse to dust off his in-house statistical category, Player Production Average (PPA). I love that kind of stuff.
Chicago Bulls - Blog a Bull - How I learned to (mostly) stop worrying and (sorta) love the Play-in PatBev Bulls
- Worth reading because there is a certain strain of loser fraudulence to the Bulls fanbase that I see mirrored in our own (in a good and recognizable way!). The author wants to stick it to the tank-loving Bulls fans and enjoy a play-in berth, all while keeping in mind that, “The Bulls, big picture, are still in a bad spot, and helmed by someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing...” Excellence.
Memphis Grizzlies - Bluff City Media (formerly Grizzly Bear Blues) - Dillon Brooks is worthy of Wrestlemania
- My heart sank when I typed up GBB’s address and came back with a broken link. Then I found out that GBB rose from the ashes as a new side project tracking all of Memphis’s sports! Wishing our former colleagues the best of luck as they try to justify Dillon Brooks being a raging asshat.
Toronto Raptors - Raptors HQ - Postseason mode is officially engaged
- I had no idea a compatriot at Raptors HQ did my bit of weekly predictions and posted it as a standalone article. Looks like they’ve a much better track record than I do, so at least they aren’t going 10-72 and bloviating like I do to end each edition of the MMMR.
The Social Media Section
The only man capable of helping us avoid getting 50 burgered on our home court
God Emperor Goof will lead his army of fancy bois to the fiery gates of Hell to slay Satan (AKA Mo Wagner)
Shoutout the Holidays
The evolutionary path from Manu Ginobili to Mamu Ginokelashvili is just a straight line
Serge is going to sign on with a contender and have a 20 mpg role any day now
He does really only wear Carhartt
This one’s for Van
April 1, 1993: Milwaukee's Brad Lohaus drives and dunks on Houston's Hakeem Olajuwon.— NBA Cobwebs (@NBACobwebs) April 1, 2023
Rockets 121, Bucks 115.
Asked my brother what he thought about Cavalier’s bet. His response: “Whatever, I hope he likes losing money. I’d have taken the Kings for good value.”
There it is. The first legal sports bet in Milwaukee history. Mayor Cavalier Johnson with $5 at +250 for the Bucks to win the championship pic.twitter.com/7vRXTMOLbp— Jeramey Jannene (@compujeramey) March 31, 2023
The modern NBA*
the Sixers were manufactured in a government lab to disappoint you https://t.co/Qg6hyoAhBd— Michael Levin (@Michael_Levin) March 27, 2023
Riley’s 2022-2023 Weekly Prediction Record: 45-33
Milwaukee’s Actual 2022-2023 Record: 56-22
Things start tomorrow night in Washington before the Bucks return to Milwaukee to host Chicago on Wednesday. Then, the Bucks remain at home to host the Grizzlies on Friday before heading up to Canada on Sunday to finish the year.
I think the Bucks will do right by themselves and us and win all four games this week (unless they’ve got the one seed locked up). It is good that the pressure is still on and that we’ll have competition to keep the team working. Just have to hang in there a little while longer.