From Deep: Giannis Antetokounmue Bucks sets out to finish what they started

if it was Milwaukee Bucks I feel like they’ve never been able to defend their title, which is understandable. Jordan Nora has started more games (13) than Brooke Lopez (11) in the regular season, and Khris Middleton Lowe MCL in game two of the playoffs.

Without Lopez, the Bucks had the third-best attack in the NBA, but they never really felt like themselves. They fell 14th in defence, and Giannis Antetokounmpo played midfield for about as many minutes as he had in his previous eight seasons combined.

Without Middleton, Milwaukee almost advanced to the conference finals. He lost a double-digit lead late in the third quarter in Game 4 of the second round series against Boston Celticsand he came up short when he had the chance to win at home in Game 6. After the Bucks season ends In Game 7 with the worst offensive performance of the year, Jrue Holiday said they “definitely could have used it.”

There were familiar themes in that series. In the Bucks’ wins, they dominated the attacking glass and celebrated their transition. In their loss, they shot terribly from a 3-point range. In Game 7, they constantly left Celtics striker Grant Williams open on the ocean, bet he would either miss 3 seconds or turn it down. Williams sank seven outside shots, and the Bucks lost that bet historical fashion.

Unlike previous defeats in playoffs, no existential account followed. The Bucks would have lacked the firepower without Middleton, and they had already sealed themselves as champions. You had to be deep in the Bucks Twitter to find serious criticism of coach Mike Budenholzer, and Gilbert Arenas is the only one still playing Antetokounmpo.

Despite all the ways Milwaukee has progressed in its championship season, it has never tried to hide its flaws as much as it has sought to make up for it. The Bucks know their halfcourt attack isn’t nearly as beautiful as the Golden State Warriors, and they know they’re going to give up a lot of 3s. They think this is good because they are able to dominate the paint, win the game of possession, thwart opponents and make enough plays to win ugly. The frustrating part of the 2021-22 season is that they haven’t figured out if they’re right.

So they will try again. The only player to leave in the summer was Raygon Tucker, who made only two appearances for Milwaukee last season. Wesley Matthews, Pat Connaughton, Bobby Portes, Jevon Carter, Serge Ibaka and Nora re-signed. The Bucks’ biggest addition was undoubtedly Joe Engels, whose half-court shots and assists would help him, provided he successfully returns from an ACL tear. Their second biggest addition was the 24th pick of MarJon Beauchamp, the 21-year-old winger who chases after him in defense but hits poorly with the G League Ignite. Their third biggest addition may be DeMarre Carroll, who has joined the coaching staff.

holiday He said on Media Day Bringing everyone back “puts us first” at the start of the season. There are other top-tier teams that are back bone of their key players, but Milwaukee is clearly trying to finish what they started.

Conversation

Momin Bucks: When it comes to dollars, I zen like Giannis. Did you see what he said? On Media Day? He just wants to have as much fun as possible. He’s glad the front office brought the group back Because he knows where his teammates want the ball and who they are as people. We should all have his point. It’s a well-built team with a chance of winning a second title in three seasons. Let’s sit back and watch how it all comes together.

Skeptical Bucks: I wish I could share your no-worry approach. The whole time the Bucks were in contention, I worried about them. Even when they won the title, I worried – they managed to get past Brooklyn and erase another 0-2 deficit in the Finals, but I thought those wins would give them a false sense of security about their ugly attack. Now I’m afraid Khris Middleton’s injury could lead to the same thing; Instead of having to recalibrate in the off-season, they can just tell themselves that they are going to win the title again with full force.

Momin Bucks: Here in a spiritual retreat in the clouds over an island in my mind, we prefer not to think about what Will be It happened if Middleton remained healthy. There are no certain things in life or the NBA. You could lose the overtime match that would have put you 3-0 ahead in the second round, then lose another three in short relay and find yourself on summer vacation. You can, two years later, win a fierce avoidance bout 3-0 in the second round, then rally to win the series and, eventually, a championship. You should accept this, and you should do everything in your power to give yourself a chance. The more I think about it, the more I understand Giannis’ point of knowing where his teammates want the ball – that’s how the basketball gods reward the team for sticking with it.

Skeptical Bucks: Are you hallucinating now? Am I? You got me confused because I really can’t tell if you’re trolling or not that way it could be. As far as I can tell, though, this jumbo mumbo all boils down to, “It’s all right, it’s been a bad luck.” I hated when they took this approach yet wild birds series, and I don’t like it better this time.

[Unsure of whether to rant about the “Milwaukee would’ve beaten Boston with Middleton” sentiment or this season’s roster, the Bucks skeptic screams in frustration.]

believer bucks: I can tell that there is some negative energy inside of you, and it seems to be building up since the Celtics series. Why don’t you try launching it?

Skeptical Bucks: How did you do.. whatever. Listen, no one likes Middleton more than me. He’s a key part of that team, an amazing bullet maker and his two-man game with Giannis has become the Bucks’ bread and butter. But the idea that his presence would have judged a Celtics side that played some of the best defense I’ve ever seen drives me crazy.

Momin Bucks: yes. How did you feel when she removed that from your chest?

Skeptical Bucks: I was relieved, but I wasn’t finished. Middleton took charge of a few play-offs in 2021, but there were some foul things mixed in as well – if those fickle ones. Networks It could force him into a 6-vs-23 game, and then Boston could definitely have it. People love to imagine Middleton making the jumps that Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, and Bobby Portis missed, but what about the possessions he would have taken from Giannis? Middleton wouldn’t have changed the way the Bucks guarded the Celtics, he wouldn’t have changed the way the Bucks guarded the Celtics. We’ve seen Milwaukee surrender 3s wide open to Grant Williams types with Middleton on the floor, and we’ve seen crime become very stagnant as well.

Momin Bucks: Some advice: Giving in to the uncertainty of the universe can be free. Milwaukee might have come up with Middleton in the lineup, and he might have accidentally bumped into Giannis’ foot in the first game. We can only live in one reality. With that in mind, please share your thoughts on the current Bucks, as they prepare to embark on a beautiful journey together.

Skeptical Bucks: Here’s an idea: I’d like this list to be a lot better if it didn’t exist nowadays. Brooke Lopez is 34, George Hill is 36, Serge Ibaca is 33, and Wesley Matthews is about to turn 35. In their primes, every single one of these guys would be amazing in this system. But Matthews didn’t cool down until December this time, Lopez missed most of last season with a back injury, and Ibaka got a DNP-CD against Boston and Hill coming out of this miserable, injury-ridden year that he considered retiring. The big off-season addition was 35-year-old Joe Ingles, who rehabilitated his torn ACL and, before the injury, looked like he lost a step. It’s a shame that Engels and Bex didn’t find each other two years ago; It was exactly The toy maker/secondary connector they need.

Momin Bucks: When relatively young teams lose, people say it’s because of their inexperience. When experienced teams lose, people say they are old. Only one team will make it to the end of the rainbow, and I’m sure you’ll realize that all Bucks veterans have something to offer. Competing against other elite teams is tough enough; Please don’t make them compete with their ex either.

Skeptical Bucks: You are definitely trolling. If the Pax wanted to “reach the end of the rainbow”, it was important that they used the mid-level exception in a defensive liability! It was significant last season that they replaced Donte DiVincenzo with a vet who couldn’t break the match rotation (instead of Bogdan Bogdanovic for example). I am not one who expects these men to be up to their former selves; They made Matthews take on the same kind of defensive assignments he did in his mid-twenties.

[The Bucks skeptic again screams in frustration, only louder.]

Momin Bucks: Phishing? I? Start. I sincerely urge you to open your hearts to the 2022-23 Bucks, a team that will bring great joy to basketball fans. Embrace the occasional Middleton bad film nights and holiday. Embrace the dad jokes that Giannis tells on the podium. Embrace the knee braces of the veterans, embrace the side faces of Mike Budenholzer, and embrace the moments you were absolutely convinced Jordan Nora would go places. It’s all part of the process.

Skeptical Bucks: number!!! Not a theoretical Nora outbreak again. I can’t talk about his rise anymore. I can’t talk about the Giannis-at-5 formations. I can’t talk about ‘random play’, the abuse in the big moments, the lack of coverage or the need for more athletes on the wing. I can’t do any of this. I need a spiritual retreat.

Curiosity: Sandro Mamokilashvili

I don’t want to over exaggerate Mamo. This time last year, I watched him drop 20 and 11 in a pre-season game at Barclays Center that didn’t feature any players who played in the Milwaukee playoff.

But… he had a great summer league…

… and a wonderful EuroBasket …

…and he looks good in pre-season again.

Mamokilashvili is skilled in attacking. Apparently he worked on his blouse. He’s on a two-way contract and there’s no shortage of VIPs on this list…but I’m keeping an eye on him.

another thing

The holiday gave Engels a wonderful endorsement on Media Day, Via Athletic: “Joe is one of the people you hate playing against. He’s a donkey—he plays against him, and he’s not going to lie. He’s kind of sloppy and trash-talking, boy. But now that he’s on my team, I’m happy.”

Milwaukee has trained among role-playing veterans throughout the Budenholzer era, from Nikola Mirotic, Iran Eliasova and Pau Gasol to Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and Marvin Williams. But she had never had anyone like Engels. Offensively, he’d be kind of like Rodney Hood, I think, with more charisma and an extraordinary knack for maintaining the advantages his teammates created. It’s the best pass Antetokounmpo has played since the days of Griffiths Vazquez and Kendall Marshall.

The timeline for Ingles’ return to play is unclear. He said he’s taking his rehab week by week, via Jack Maloney for CBS Sports, Bucks general manager John Hurst said January is more realistic than December. Engels had surgery for a torn ACL in February, and even before that he had been going through a tough season: less use, worse efficiency and, most worryingly, some slippage in defense.

The danger of this signature is that the version of Ingles that would have been incredibly convenient may be gone for good. From a Milwaukee perspective, the reward is more than worth it.

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