Archive for the ‘Milwaukee Bucks’ Category

I before E, except after C, or when getting a tattoo and putting it on Instagram for everyone to see.

(via Bleacher Report)

Just when Brandon Knight thought it was safe to lay low and let things blow over, someone has to get DeAndre Jordan to gleefully recreate his dunk over a fake Brandon Knight. Worst year ever.

tony-snell-showing-off-uniform

With the dust mostly settled on this offseason’s player movement — and there was a whole lot of it this year — it’s time to take stock of all the fascinating new faces in new places, as well as the more compelling stories of players who will face new challenges while sticking around. Over the course of the next few weeks, Andrew Unterberger will do a team-by-team look at the most interesting players going into next season — one new to the team, and one returning — as we all try to pass the dog days of NBA-less summer, dreaming of hoops-filled months to come. The series continues today with the teams in the Central Division: the Bulls, Cavaliers, Pistons, Pacers and Bucks.

CHICAGO BULLS

Most Interesting New Player: Tony Snell

Not a ton to choose from here, obviously — it’s Snell, fellow rookie Erik Murphy, and reserve sharp-shooter Mike Dunleavy, now about a team away from officially reaching journeyman status. Murphy seems unlikely to make a huge impact, Dunleavy’s impact will be decent but predictable, but Snell intrigues me. From his play in Summer League, he looks a lot like budding Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, and I of course mean that in the most literal sense — with his dreads, tall but slight build, and expressionless demeanor, there’s probably not a better physical comp in the league for Leonard than Snell. But he also looks like he could maybe provide a good poor man’s facsimile of Leonard’s skills: solid three-point stroke (39 percent his final season at UNM), long and athletic wing defender (6-foot-7 for a nominal shooting guard), toughness to spare. We’ll see if it actually pans out as such, but from the little I saw, I was impressed.

In general, I was also impressed with the way the Bulls basically oriented their entire offseason around one simple strategy: improving their outside shooting. Maybe not all of Snell, Murphy and Dunleavy will end up being legit contributors to the team, but if two of them do, that’s a simple dimension added to the Bulls’ attack that simply wasn’t there last season, when Jimmy Butler and the departed Nate Robinson were the only outside threats of any consistency. Nothing too sexy, but you never know when an outside shot or two could make the critical difference in an Eastern Conference playoff game, even a whole series. Definitely better to have than not have.

Most Interesting Returning Player: Derrick Rose

Would’ve loved to say Jimmy Butler here, since I’m fascinated to see if he can continue the improvement of his breakout season and become the near-All-Star contributor I feel he might could be, but c’mon. There’ll be no bigger story the first month of the season — with the possible exception of Dwight’s first games in Houston, but I can certainly tell you which of the two I’m more excited for — than D-Rose’s return to the Bulls lineup after a full year’s absence. I practically had heart palpitations when they announced that the first TNT game this year was going be the Rose-led Bulls against the two-time-defending Heat — there might not be a better opening night matchup possible than those two old foes squaring off with both sides finally back at full strength.

Can a fully healthy Derrick Rose lead the Bulls past the Heat in the East playoffs? For now, I’m still pretty skeptical, but to have one more legitimate challengers to the throne — in a season where there are already one or two other credible contenders on the far side of the map as well — should certainly make things more interesting (and less depressing), for the regular season and beyond. I can’t wait.

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eric-bledsoe-warming-up

Aside from the perennially underpaid and underappreciated Matt Barnes, and the usual brand of streaky offense from Jamal Crawford, the Clippers lacked sorely for production from the wing positions last season. This would have been their single biggest weakness if it wasn’t for their complete absence of an offensive playbook. Caron Butler has declined to the point that he is scant little more than a spot-up shooter at this point, and despite finally adding three point range, Willie Green is much the same. Compounding the problem is the fact that, Barnes, seemingly the only player who knew how to cut and get open for the league’s best passer, is an unrestricted free agent with mere non-Bird rights.

Without cap room and yet also without all that much wiggle room under the tax, the Clippers needed to rebuild this rotation. Their lack of wing quality was exposed against the Grizzlies, and notwithstanding the lack of a backup center (and the less-than-reliable nature of the starter), it was a priority on a roster entirely set at two positions. And in Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick, the Clippers have achieved exactly that in one fell swoop.

Dudley and Redick aren’t athletic. They aren’t dynamic, they aren’t brilliant at any one thing (except perhaps Redick’s shooting), and they aren’t primary options you turn to on either end. But they’re just … good. They get it. The two are high IQ players with no distinct holes in their game, who defend with guile rather than physical tools, and who fit every great-teammate, great-role-player cliché going. They move the ball, make few mistakes, and, along with Reggie Bullock, provide the spacing lost in Butler along with bringing more well-rounded games and better perimeter defense.

It cost them their two best assets to do it, but the Clippers improved their team in what was almost a financial wash. Moving Bledsoe for players who aren’t and never will be stars may feel deflating to those with higher aspirations, yet the value of the returning duo must not be overlooked. The Clippers got what they needed. Without having a single star in it, L.A. has assembled a wing rotation with good depth and few holes, exactly the kind of thing you want to flank a superstar point guard with. If they can convince Matt Barnes to sign for far below his market value for the seventh straight season, even better. Combining this with the enormous coaching upgrade from Del Negro to Rivers, and the biggest news of all in getting Chris Paul to re-sign, has significantly improved the Clippers’s fortunes for the foreseeable future. Now, they just need some depth.

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giannis-antetokounmpo-jersey

I’m not going to lie to you — when I used “Giannis Antetokounmpo” in the title of this post, I copy-and-pasted it so that I didn’t mess it up. And honestly, I did it again in that previous sentence. And to be even more honest, I’ll probably keep doing that unless he becomes such a notable guy in the NBA that I accidentally memorize how to spell it whenever his name comes up.

And you know what? I don’t feel bad about it, mostly because I know I’m in the same boat as the guy who just drafted him in to the NBA. From the Milwaukee Sports Journal:

It’s a name difficult to pronounce, even for the man who drafted the newest Milwaukee Bucks player, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“After the draft, probably 11:30,” Bucks General Manager John Hammond said, “I said to (Media Relations Director) Dan Smyczek, ‘can you forward that pronunciation to me?’ Yeah. So…we’re doing our best.”

For the record, Giannis Antetokounmpo is pronounced [YAHN-is anh-teh-toe-KUHN-po], but for now , simply “Giannis” will probably suffice when addressing Antetokounmpo.

A little digging shows that Giannis “CTRL-C, CTRL-V” Antetokounmpo, whenever he makes it to the NBA, may have the longest single last name (Chris Douglas-Roberts doesn’t count) in the NBA since this guy messed around for the Cavaliers half a decade ago. So really, you can’t blame John Hammond for not knowing the pronunciation, because it’s basically impossible to keep all those vowels and consonants straight in the first place, let alone trying to figure out how they actually relate to each other. Plus, when you consider league officials didn’t even know how to correctly spell his name until a month before the draft, I think this is a pretty forgivable offense.

The person I really feel bad for in all of this, however, is the equipment manager in charge of stitching the names on the backs of the Bucks’ jerseys. Between Antetokounmpo, Mbah a Moute and Ilyasova, they’ve got their work cut out for them. And if Samuel Dalembert and Joel Przybilla somehow find their way back in to the fold? Yikes.

kareem-abdul-jabbar-backwards-shorts

Click here for a full-sized version of this newspaper clipping from a 1972 recap of a game between the Bucks and SuperSonics, then please explain to me why Kareem-Abdul Jabbar didn’t change his shorts at halftime. Even Kevin Seraphin isn’t that silly.

(via Uni Watch)

brandon-jennings-with-son

If you’ve managed to catch any of the Bucks-Heat series thus far — and if so, hopefully you’re turning every game off after three quarters — you’ve probably heard mention of something Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings said about the series a couple days before the playoffs started. The quote came from the Wisconsin Sports Awards ceremonies, where Jennings was presumably asked about the Bucks’ upcoming first round series against the heavily favored Heat. His take on the series? “I’m real confident. I’m sure everybody is writing us off but but I see us winning the series in six.”

After the Bucks lost the first two games of the series in Miami — by a combined 35 points, with Jennings shooting 31 percent — the over-confident point guard was given a chance to retract his initial prediction. He respectfully declined. “I still say six,” he told Craig Sager. “I think we just showed so much [in Game Two]. We just let it slip towards the end … but as a team, we showed a whole lot of improvement.” Brandon looked a little nervous while giving the interview, perhaps, and did allow that the Bucks’ victory in six “might take a little longer,” but for the most part, he held strong in his initial bold prediction.

Well, after last night’s Heat victory in Milwaukee — which, like the first two contests, was a game for about three quarters, until the Heat hit the NOS and just sped away, as they are wont to do — Jennings’ prediction is officially a bust. There’s still a chance that the Bucks come back to take the next four games — though it’s not a particularly big one, considering no team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit in NBA postseason history, and if it ever does happen, it probably won’t be a team as average as the Bucks doing it against a team as outstanding as the Heat — but no matter what happens from here, Bucks in Six is officially a no go.

So the question then becomes: Do we get to make fun of Brandon Jennings for this yet? His prediction was basically laughable from the get go, but there was always that tiny chance that he and the Bucks had been playing possum for the entire season, or that he knew of some secret weapon the Bucks were about to unleash on the Heat for the series (Drew Gooden?), or maybe just that he was going to hire someone to whack LeBron James in the back of the leg with a crowbar in the locker room before Game One and then say mean things to Chris Bosh on the way out. Now that three games have passed and none of those things appear to have been the case, it seems like a pretty good time to start pointing and laughing at No. 3 for Milwaukee.

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