The internet loves a good “winners and losers” column written, preferably, in a haze of Five Hour Energies binged by an online correspondent furiously tapping out a piece with conclusions as ephemeral as the article itself. So, in that vein, here are my winners and losers from the 2023 NBA Draft:
Winner: Bucks fans who had not one, but two new players to seek out poorly edited highlights clips of on YouTube
Loser: Hugo the Hornet
Nabbing a pair of young guys was essential not merely from the standpoint of granting us fans some new faces to erroneously place our faith in. Even if they fail to live up to expectations — a likely outcome — the Bucks have simply very few options available to even field a full complement of 15 players next season. Bodies are needed at the end of every bench, and if you’re going to churn through young guys in those slots, you might as well start by chancing it with draftees you believe in and who could be cost-controlled from the jump. From that perspective, the Bucks were winners for doing the obvious.
Let’s gameplan out how the roster may look heading into next season barring any further changes via trade/free agency:
Starters: Holiday, Allen, Middleton, Antetokounmpo, Lopez
Bench: Portis, Connaughton, Beauchamp, Crowder (we have his Bird rights & few other options), T. Antetokounmpo (he’ll be back), Jackson Jr. (rookie), Livingston (rookie)
Two-Ways: Wigginton, Moore
The guys who could be brought back include Joe Ingles on a deal for $7.77 million and Jevon Carter if he opts in to his player option. If those two are brought back, we’re up to 14 roster slots filled with a 15th available for converting a two-way player or running through non-guaranteed options.
If the Bucks held pat and only picked at number 58 last week, that’s one fewer developmental option and another roster spot that would need filling via imperfect mechanisms. That they were so active and successful in avoiding that indicates that they aren’t asleep at the wheel. With a new coach and an aging roster, our deep bench will have to go from clearing house to exiting from the NBA to a resource that very occasionally generates even a single playable player. Last Thursday was, hopefully, a step in that direction.
A guide to finding former Bucks players on BIG3 rosters (Milwaukee Record)
Truly a list of some of the Milwaukee Bucks of all time. A list of guys who had even partially a hand in the extensive timeline of modern failure that were the Bucks prior to the ascension of Giannis Antetokounmpo. We wish them all a successful campaign in the upcoming BIG3 season.
The Milwaukee Bucks should set their sights on Damian Lillard (Pounding the Rock)
This line from a writer at Pounding the Rock rules: “There are 29 teams that do not want to see the San Antonio Spurs go from one of the worst records in 2022-2023 to playoff contenders a year later.
We need to determine how they plan to stop us.”
I know Spurs fans are marginalized weirdos in the mold of their franchise, but do they really think there is a particular target on their back because they drafted Victor Wembanyama? That organization is routinely held up as the gold standard for stability, professionalism, competitive aspirations, and doing things the right way. Gregg Popovich is nigh-beloved and the sense is that people are pleased San Antonio will have another chance to do it the right way with another generational big man.
But if we acknowledged all of the above we wouldn’t have gotten a piece straight out of draft night fever dreams. Its about give and take.
Admittedly, it's my rabid American ultrapatriotism showing, but are we starting to edge a little too close to jumping the shark on this whole thing? My internet bubble is different from others, but haven’t we seen a gradual (hell, monumental, given the long span of sports history) shift towards broader acceptance that athletes are put under immense strain and shouldn’t be categorically blasted for admitting to all-too-human weaknesses in the face of that stress?
Naturally there is a contingent who are stridently opposed to this change, yet to stuff the whole of a nation’s sports fans into a single straw man is to give the haters too much credit while undercutting a move to a better middle ground.
Modern organized sports are fueled by greed — greed from every angle and every level, manifesting in all sorts of ways. The masses keenest on sports need window dressing to adequately cover that greed to keep the show on the road. Unfortunately for athletes, their singular place in the operation means much of the decorating falls to them. We can find a way to acknowledge and accept that sports are truly meaningless while still wanting to keep visible that “purity of competition” theoretically elevating the athlete of today above the insatiable machine.
In a context where sports remains one of very few things capable of the kind of abstract poetry that can speak to a large and diverse group, I understand what the author is going for here. The trick is finding the balance that allows for a more humane industry that can still inspire hope and togetherness. We’re all grasping in the dark, but I thank The Europeans for showing us the way forward yet again.
They’re completely fine, if over-engineered — not atypical in the space of annual clothing line releases. My only changes would be to scrap the blue anchoring the strings and the blue on the “camo” design on the bottom of the shoe. Making something as garish as you can manage ≠ something that will be remembered and admired now and for years to come. That’s the point, I guess.
Brook Lopez makes the list at number seven, even with the background murmurs indicating the Bucks will be prioritizing bringing him back along with his mid-season comments about desiring to stick in Milwaukee. As with a number of guys on this roster, if they leave in free agency we have no real way to replace them barring hitting a home run on some unproven young guy or a reclamation project. The team’s tricky history on these fronts makes re-signing Brook at whatever number to avoid his becoming a Rocket likely a must.
Fan Post of the Week
The Social Media Section
The Ur-God Emperor Goof discovers elementary rhyming schemes
Greek freak is a baller so tall and sleek— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) June 21, 2023
And his moves are smooth as a kiss on the cheek.
I’m transitioning from jokes to poems!! pic.twitter.com/G5FdkbIgPo
A gazillionaire who can’t answer a question about acquiring a relatively rudimentary physical good
How do I get one of these for my house?? pic.twitter.com/dyjtDy37VS— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) June 21, 2023
Please don’t post stuff like this again, Admin
Ain't nothin' but a G League thang. pic.twitter.com/VgOCIEt7HD— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 22, 2023
The Bakers are a Milwaukee institution
UW-Milwaukee’s Vin Baker II has agreed to join the Milwaukee Bucks for NBA Summer League, I’m told.— Jon Chepkevich (@JonChep) June 23, 2023
The 6’9” forward is the son of 13-year NBA vet, Vin Baker, who was drafted by the Bucks 8th overall in the 1993 NBA Draft.
Sandro must’ve missed the meet up text
With the draft out of the way it seems there is still more dust needing settling: Brook and Khris Middleton’s contracts are TBD, and the league will be keeping an eye on Portland as the fallout of the Scoot Henderson selection is navigated.
The Bucks also have Bird rights on Jae Crowder (lol), Thanasis Antetokounmpo, early Bird rights on Wes Matthews, and nothing special besides CBA-mandated raises that could be offered to Joe Ingles and Meyers Leonard if any of those guys are in the cards. Jevon Carter must also make a decision on his $2.2 million player option by the end of the week.
Free agency kicks off on June 30th, so stay tuned while we watch Jon Horst work his magic.