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Monday Morning Media Roundup: Wildcard to the Rescue

Milwaukee Bucks links for your perusal on February 12th, 2024

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

There is a strange defect at the heart of the Milwaukee Bucks machinery. Perhaps it can be labeled a quirk, or I can (probably accurately) be accused of reading into things that aren’t there; trying to make sense of an abstraction I view through digital screens. The defect I speak of is the apparent need for large segments of a veteran roster to be vociferously pushed into the competitive fire by one of their colleagues.

A defect is going too far. It implies something unnatural or wholly negative when in reality what we are looking at is the reality of these individuals’ personalities and how they’ve grown used to the circumstances around them. In trying to strike the balance between “these 82 games are meaningless” and “I will die for this team against the Detroit Pistons on a Tuesday night in January”, the Bucks have understandably tended strongly to the former. That’s the logical choice, and we’d be going too far by implying that the players/coaches/organization literally care not a whit about the regular season. But you do grow used to lowered expectations when ~80% of your annual work hours. That is human nature.

So now, for the second time four seasons, GM Jon Horst has opted to acquire an outside voice on the trade market to make up the shortfall in outwardly expressive drive on his roster. There are differences from then and now, of course. Patrick Beverley is not PJ Tucker. Doc Rivers is not Mike Budenholzer. The core duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton do have a title to their names. In the abstract, “winning” in a serious manner should come far more naturally now than it did three years ago.

Yet this iteration of the Bucks has been plagued by a sense of malaise and indifference unlike anything in prior years, even the PJ season. At that time, I think we only discovered together how crucial a voice like Tucker’s could prove to be. There is no shame in admitting that the team is in need of something similar again and that finding such a voice on, say, the buyout market, was unlikely (a guy who pushes teammates, especially superstar teammates, has to be able to back it up by getting minutes, too. Pat will do just that. Danilo Galinari et al., less so). With Beverley on board, the task of integrating the core eight or nine players who will be part of Doc Rivers’s rotation should be at least a little easier inasmuch as guys will try harder due to ambient noise.

If the new guy can push the boat in the right direction and be a viable option in lineups alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, and Khris Middleton, what’s not to love?

Let’s roundup!


Milwaukee Bucks Links

Patrick Beverley vs. Damian Lillard: A timeline of the feud (Hoops Hype)

The upside to a player like Beverley is that his particular brand of competitive emotion can pull off the two-step of fueling his teammates and knocking opponents off their game. The downside is that his multiyear beefs with other players introduces the possibility of awkward interpersonal relations should he ever become teammates with one of said co-beefers. Here’s to everyone working it out with relative ease.

Should the Sixers have second thoughts about trading players to the Celtics and Bucks? (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Tend to agree with Morey (ick) that you shouldn’t quibble too much when trading with in-conference rivals when you start heading down to the deeper parts of the roster. At least when it comes to whatever the rest of that season may hold, the odds of 1) Facing off and 2) Your deep bench guy blossoming into a top-end option for your competitor are slim. I do wonder if the leadership loss of Beverley will be felt even moreso with Embiid away with a torn up knee, though. Hopefully it is all to our benefit.

The 2024 Post–Trade Deadline NBA Power Rankings (The Ringer)

Color me impressed that the Bucks weren’t heavily dinged for their mediocre performances under Doc (mitigating factors kept in mind) and for retaining a short roster. If Rivers & Co. do get the team pulling in the right direction together and can get an Andre Jackson Jr. or MarJon Beauchamp in a place to soak up minutes, that’s a great post-deadline start.

Milwaukee Bucks Add Two Over-the-Air TV Partners (Radio+Television Business Report) & WBAY to broadcast Milwaukee Bucks games (WBAY)

Fresh off recent news that the Bucks will be broadcasting 10 games on over-the-air channels in the Milwaukee area, the team has expanded its partnership to stations around the state and Illinois/Iowa. Not sure there’s a clearer sign that we’re entering a new era for media rights and relations for the NBA, really.

25 players to watch in free agency after NBA trade deadline passes (NBA.com)

Malik Beasley gets a mention here thanks to his supremely hot shooting since arriving in Milwaukee. The Bucks could give him a slight raise on his current $2.7 million contract after this year, but obviously he may have a stronger market elsewhere as a free agent. I take it as a positive sign, though, when the Bucks continue to give vet free agents a shot at minutes and they turn it into big dollars elsewhere — a positive endorsement of the front office’s talent eval, I’d say.

Milwaukee Bucks acquire draft rights to Dimitrios Agravanis (Eurohoops.net)

Some are calling him the legendary Sixth Antetokounmpo Brother in-waiting. Others are saying he’s yet another horse in the Jon Horst-Alex Saratsis stable. Both groups are probably correct.

Know Your NBA Enemy

Denver Nuggets - Denver Stiffs - Is Christian Braun having a sophomore slump?

Definitely could’ve used a few more clicks of the enter button on this one for readability’s sake (trust me: takes one to know one), but the conversation around Christian Braun is one all contenders will have with young players who get minutes. Inconsistency is part of the tradeoff and the questions about whether the long-term usefulness outweighs the short-term team needs never really quits.

Miami Heat - Hot Hot Hoops - No moves made Thursday ahead of trade deadline

Can’t wait for buyout guy X and two-way convertee Y to torch us for 25 and 20 points, respectively, in a pivotal game five against the Heat in a few months time. This is how the universe works.

Memphis Grizzlies - Bluff City Media - Charlotte Beats Memphis, Grizzlies Losers of 8 Straight

It was always going to be an uphill climb for Memphis with Ja Morant serving a lengthy league suspension. Then he got injured not longer after his return, and a full on tank job is in full effect. The Grizzlies own their own first round pick in 2024, so if they can get someone with real talent while they rehab a ton of injures, that isn’t a horrible outcome.

Comment of the Week

In the heat of the Patrick Beverley rejoicing/groaning, JSOnline Castaway 2.0 decided to light one up for a take so hot, it was bound to be technically incorrect around 24 hours later:

(Give a few weeks and your prescience may indeed be vindicated)

The Social Media Section

Patrick Beverley Podcast-Deer Diaries collab. Let’s make some magic happen.

Bobby remains an important lodestone for this team

Raychael Beallen

Jae Crowder motivational mood board in full effect

The best being, of course, Grayson Allen

My guy is making Cannes Film Festival-type moves


Riley’s 2023-2024 Regular Season Prediction Record: 27-26

Milwaukee Bucks 2023-2024 Actual Regular Season Record: 34-19

Getting dangerously close to falling to under .500 for the first time in a long time for my predictions. Here’s hoping the team eventually pays off the faith I so lavishly place in them here week after week. They’ve got three games on the docket before the All-Star break.

v. Denver Nuggets, Monday - 7:00 PM CT

v. Miami Heat, Tuesday - 7:00 PM CT

@ Memphis Grizzlies, Thursday - 7:30 PM CT

I will remain optimistic that the team can turn it around here sooner rather than later, although I do think a loss to the Nuggets is in the offing. Wins over the Heat and Grizz should have the Bucks heading into the break with the right momentum and a chance to build something meaningful the rest of the way to the playoffs.

Happy Monday!