Apologies to regular readers for having missed last week’s MMMR. Memorial Day weekend saw me back in Wisconsin with family and the in-laws, grabbing brunch in Milwaukee, and enjoying long walks along Lake Michigan. Evidently, we hadn’t missed much as the only Bucks-related stories floating around the internet all focused on Giannis Antetokounmpo being spun as primarily responsible for Adrian Griffin winning the head coach race.
That such a narrative gained prominence is fascinating to me. It begs the question of who is feeding this spin to every reporter on the internet. The Bucks FO are a candidate to help hedge their bets and cover all negative eventualities. Griffin himself could be looking for a bump in theoretical authority by putting it out there that one of the most gifted athletes on Earth is in love with him. Then there is Giannis, dabbling in a mix of flexing his organizational muscle while being comfortable with the boom-bust risk in tying himself directly to the coach who will lead him through the latter portion of his physical peak.
More likely than not, it's tied primarily to org ass-covering. So it goes.
Narrative control aside, there are two important things to be decided that should stem directly from Griffin’s hiring: 1) Giannis signing another extension with the team and 2) winning another title (or two? three? if we may dream) before the duality of time and the CBA turns the Bucks into another annual also-ran whose single aging star inadvertently removes all avenues of flexibility by simply existing.
The former should be a foregone conclusion. All teams put the keys in the hands of their superstars by necessity; however, if a player exercises such power on consequential decisions that will impact the team’s fate, I hope that player will also willingly choose to stick around and make gazillions of dollars to see out whatever may follow.
It's the winning in the short-term that’s unclear. If any of the major stakeholders slip — Giannis does the battering ram thing, Jrue Holiday does the forgetting how to make layups thing while getting torched for 50 thing, Khris Middleton does the dribble off his foot thing, GM Jon Horst does the run it back (again (again)) thing, Adrian Griffin does the first-time coach thing(s) — the entire edifice crumbles. Changing coaches is still a step in the right direction in this writer’s mind. We’ll just have to see what happens next this summer while we see if our destination is glory or oblivion.
How the 2023 NBA Finals rosters were built: Miami Heat (NBA.com) & NBA Finals: How Nuggets built a title-contending roster (CBS Sports)
If we glean nothing else about roster building by analyzing the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets, know that hitting on two-way contract guys and drafting an offensive supercomputer in the second round seem to be pretty important. It is actually amazing how many members of the Heat’s playoff rotation have come to the organization through the signing of two-way contracts. Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson, and Caleb Martin all began with two-way deals. That is an unbelievable conversion rate — heartening in that it is a path readily available to Milwaukee, disheartening in that our two-ways often tweet about being caged birds needing to fly.
As regards Denver, some gambles paid off and Jokic is a one-of-one. Not much to be done about that unless Giannis can show meaningful progression in his game and Horst starts signing dudes with documented back issues.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ Coaching Hire Is on Giannis (The Ringer)
This is point no. 6 on Kevin O’Connor’s “Seven Observations” column. I heartily look forward to bookmarking whatever website is set up to count down the number of days remaining on Jrue Holiday’s contract/until his retirement in 2025. Nobody predicted that line getting dredged up from the bottom of the web floor when the Bucks were clown-car’ing their way to Cancun, eh?
On the one hand, I’m pleased Giannis has a paid partnership with a company I’ve actually heard of. On the other hand, the ad in question features not a single green Bucks jersey; only the black alts with the antlers up the sides are included. At least they didn’t find a way to shoehorn our neon blue court in there, too.
Greek Fest returns to Wisconsin State Fair Park June 23-25 (Milwaukee Record)
The advertising poster in this story is truly a treat to behold. Name a duo more dynamic than Milwaukee’s Greek Fest and the band Boomer Nation. I’ll wait.
Judge rules for Twins, other MLB clubs in Diamond Sports dispute. What happens next unclear (Star Tribune)
Yes, this is about baseball, but the fate of Diamond Sports and its Bally Sports network will have direct consequences not only on how Bucks fans will watch games next season, but also on team income. We’ve not a clue how much the Bucks are contracted to receive from Diamond Sports — using the Twins’s $54.8 million as a guesstimate, that’s a shiny chunk of change ownership would be missing out on if it went away. While another regional network could try to jump in it looks like an increasingly hard business to be in. The NBA could produce and distribute games themselves, but League Pass is a laughable product that hasn’t been worth its price tag in the decades of its existence.
Just add broadcaster trouble to Marc Lasry’s list of “thunderclouds” on the horizon.
Back with a philosophical vengeance, it is G may in the FPOTW winner’s circle with, “A case against analytics.” A parting note for the Budenholzer regime and the blue box offense and a wishlist for qualities desired in the next coach, G may distills what I believe to be the middle ground for most informed contemporary basketball fans. That mathematics has a clear and obvious place in everything a team does, tempered with the belief that human spirit and creativity still has a decisive role to play on the finest of margins.
The Social Media Section
Nah, he’s still going???
A winner is just a loser who tried one more time pic.twitter.com/sC4Ug0ZkmI— Serge Ibaka (@sergeibaka) May 23, 2023
Thanasis literally having professional colleagues on his podcast just to do Sam’s Club-level “Joe Rogan has his mind blown by mundane facts” impression
The haircut has me curious in both good and bad ways
I enjoy the implication that Mamu is the next Jokic
Someone cross check the timelines to see when news broke that the Bucks would interview Nick Nurse. I’m trying to see something.
God keep me protected… The devil tryna work.. but it ain’t moving me ✝️— Im Coming ! (@Marjon32) May 19, 2023
We may one day get that press conference with Adrian Griffin and Jon Horst. Until then, we’ll be cooling our heels waiting to find out who else will be filling out Griffin’s coaching staff. Keep enjoying your offseason!