There’s a story you’ll find below about Serge Ibaka breaking his silence when it comes to explaining why exactly he demanded a trade away from the Milwaukee Bucks. In an interview with The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Serge largely cops to being closer to out of the league than starter on an NBA champion. Thus, we can deduce that Ibaka is not delusional (or at least has the sense to not present himself as such to the public).
What I found interesting was not so much the drama of a stung ego, but that Serge’s complaints appear to be another area where former coach Mike Budenholzer and new coach Adrian Griffin may end up parting ways: Talking to deep bench guys.
You see, a few seasons ago when it was accepted that Sam Merrill was set to be AJ Green before AJ Green was even thinking about the league, I recall stumbling on an interview Merrill did talking about his rookie season. What stood out to me wasn’t the rah rah crap about getting better and staying ready, but a question from the interviewer about what Budenholzer told Merrill he had to do to improve/get more consistent playing time. Sam’s answer? He never really talked to Bud.
Now, does the head coach of a title-aspiring NBA team need to be spending a ton of his work time speaking individually with the Merrills and Ibakas of the world? Not really; they’ve a huge coaching staff for a reason. But do I find it a hint strange that there was apparently no time at all for, let’s say, a third of the active roster? A little. No wonder the aura of supposed “daily vitamins” and player development got rapidly kicked in a ditch after his hire.
Will Griffin be different and will he see better results? On the former, I think he will be. Look no further than his actually coaching the Summer League team (experience and a chance to interface), traveling overseas to see the Antetokounmpos (unsurprising), heading to Team USA’s camp to meet with Bobby Portis, etc. Small signs that the interpersonal strengths we heard much about with Griffin are being applied ASAP.
What could the ultimate end result of that relationship management be? Hopefully fewer disgruntled has-beens who we hand contracts out to and young players who can see sustained success through the consistent evaluation of progress and setting of goals with the head coach himself. If it will take Griffin awhile to bring himself up to speed as an Xs and Os maestro, it would serve him well to build his team up in the way he knows best: by talking.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Shares ‘Rehab’ Routine with Son Maverick: ‘Paw Patrol and Shooting’ (People Magazine)
I could be totally wrong (long-time MMMR readers will let me know), but this should be the very first time People Magazine has made the illustrious cut to publication. My one and only concern is just how much of his strength training regime Giannis is outsourcing to his son Maverick. He’s a literal toddler, and yet... and yet having a three year-old shape his workout habits would certainly be on brand for Giannis.
This dude is so goddamn funny, man. Serge really expected to show up and get something more than the Sam Merrill treatment from Bud? Jesus. Giannis really did sign his walking papers when he confronted the truth that Ibaka was best for rebounding.
Anyways, final decisions on playing time and pecking order fall on the head coach. Milwaukee’s front office may have genuinely been in love with Serge while Bud wasn’t. It happens. I’ve no genuine idea why Ibaka is going public about it now unless he believes he has nothing left to lose on the way out of the NBA.
Congrats to Melanie on her permanent hiring to the role of sideline reporter for the team. I thought she did a solid job filling in for Zora Stephenson over the past season, and she quite obviously quickly builds a good rapport with folks around her. That she’s a Milwaukee native who is getting a shot to climb the local corporate ranks is great as well!
The bad news? Steve Novak got the name drop in the press release. He’s back.
In-Season Tournament: East Group B preview & Offseason Power Rankings: Bucks return to the top of the East (NBA.com)
Another series of articles attempting to suss out what the Bucks may look like this coming season with the written equivalent of the shrug emoji. As of early August, I suppose I feel neither particularly optimistic nor pessimistic. Perfectly apathetic is probably a better way to express the wait-and-see approach I’m going to try and willingly take.
I certainly hope I didn’t miss this post going up while I was working on last week’s MMMR; if I did, Mark_Newman has my sincerest apologies for making them wait another seven days for a well-deserved FPOTW award. “Marjon goes for 83(!) at Crawsover pro-am league” would’ve gone unbelievably well with my waxing nonsense about What This Means for MarJon and the Bucks, too. Thanks for posting, Mark!
The Social Media Section
Happy to see another Buck getting the opportunity to play for Team USA (also looks like Adrian Griffin stopped in by training camp per a NBA post)
Extremely endearing that Giannis has posted pictures with Nikos Galis on a number of occasions now. It’s about basketball heritage.
PS: This dude’s highlights and awards page is ridiculous.
The loyalty Giannis shows to Brandon is as wonderful as it is inexplicable
Malik is in town working on his physique in a Bob Marley t-shirt. Talk soon.
Actually looking forward to his next album. I hope he has a Bud diss track in there.
Congrats to MarJon!
Local area real estate magnate does good deed while eyeing historic property next door for demolition
As before, we’ve got national teams ramping up around the globe in preparation for the FIBA World Cup. Still no word on how much participation we can expect from Giannis with the Greek team. I do wonder how many minutes Bobby will be getting with Team USA as another tweener-type center, smaller than Jaren Jackson Jr./Walker Kessler, but a better scoring threat.
We’ll find out soon enough!