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#pounditThursday, August 6, 2020

Articles tagged: Milwaukee Bucks

Biggest questions facing Eastern Conference’s best teams

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The NBA is set to return to action at the end of July, and numerous questions pertaining to the logistics of the league’s plan remain. While we are learning the answers to those questions gradually, NBA teams must now question how they will perform when the season does return.

With playoff basketball on the horizon, here are the most critical questions surrounding the championship contenders in the Eastern Conference.

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5 biggest NBA title contenders if the season resumes

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The 2019-20 NBA season is suspended, with the standings frozen in place as of mid-March. The league has every hope of resuming the season and giving teams a chance to finish what they started. There are certain teams with a better chance of winning bigger than others.

These five teams in particular had a legitimate chance to win an NBA title in 2020 and will want to make sure that they get to play out that opportunity.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo thinks Bucks were disrespected by All-Star selections

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo will be a team captain for the NBA All-Star Game, and Milwaukee Bucks teammate Khris Middleton will also be part of the festivities. However, in Antetokounmpo’s mind, that’s not good enough for the team with the NBA’s best record.

Antetokounmpo cited Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez as other players who he felt deserved All-Star nods and suggested that the NBA still does not respect the Bucks enough.

“I want to be honest. I feel like at times that we don’t get as much respect and it’s OK, we haven’t earned anything, at the end of the day,” Antetokounmpo said Friday, via Eric Woodyard of ESPN. “I think [Eric Bledsoe] should’ve made the team. We have a great team. We have guys that don’t play a lot of minutes.

“Bled could average 20-25 points if we actually played a lot of minutes but we didn’t. He’s sacrificed also, a lot for this team and is one of our leaders,” he continued. “Not just Bled, and Brook [Lopez] also. I wanted Bled to be on the team, the whole team wanted Bled to be on the team because he’s definitely deserving, but this team is unselfish.”

Antetokounmpo undermines his own point here. Perhaps Bledsoe could have huge numbers if he played more, but he doesn’t. He averages 26.3 minutes per game and scores 15.5 points per game in that span. Those aren’t All-Star numbers. Neither are Lopez’s 10.1 points per game in 26.4 minutes per night.

The Bucks are great because guys like Bledsoe and Lopez accept these roles and contribute immensely. That does not make them All-Stars. It makes them an exceptional and well-rounded team. The lack of All-Star selections doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being disrespected, especially when Giannis isn’t the only member of the team to make it. There are other players who should be far more aggrieved by their All-Star snub than anyone from the Bucks who didn’t make it.

Bucks jab Lakers on Twitter after big win

Bucks logo

The Milwaukee Bucks took care of business with a big win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, and the team decided to put in the final dagger via Twitter.

Milwaukee won 111-104 to improve to an NBA-best 25-4, while the Lakers are now 24-5. The two teams are the best in the league this season by record, but that didn’t stop the Bucks from trolling the Lakers after the win.

Milwaukee shared a screenshot of an October tweet from the Lakers that bragged about winning a preseason game over the Warriors. The Lakers said in that early-October tweet that the league should be warned that they would be a threat. The Bucks then included a burn over that screenshot, saying:

“Was this just for preseason? Asking for a friend.”

Ouch.

The Bucks better hope that tweet doesn’t come back to bite them. If I were the Lakers, I’d start preparing a followup tweet in case the purple and gold beat the Bucks in the NBA Finals. Between this and what Giannis Antetokounmpo did during the game, the Bucks were definitely celebrating the victory.

Bucks fined $50K for comments about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s contract

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks have every intention of paying Giannis Antetokounmpo as much money as they possibly can to convince him to finish his career with the team, but apparently they are not allowed to say that publicly.

On Tuesday, the NBA announced that the Bucks have been fined $50,000 for comments general manager John Hurst made about the team’s plan to offer Giannis a super-max contract extension next summer. NBA rules state that they are not allowed to talk publicly about that yet, even though Antetokounmpo is their own player.

That seems a bit absurd.

The NBA recently took steps toward penalizing teams more severely if they are found guilty of tampering, but tampering almost always involves talking about a player who is under contract with another team. Giannis is one of the best players in the NBA, and contract rules are designed to give the Bucks the advantage in re-signing him before or when he becomes a free agent. They shouldn’t be fined for stating the obvious.

For what it’s worth, Giannis has hinted that he may accept the insane max extension the Bucks will be eligible to offer him after next season.

Report: Joe Johnson to visit with three NBA teams

Joe Johnson

After a successful BIG3 campaign, Joe Johnson is eyeing a route back to the NBA.

According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Johnson is set to visit the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, and Brooklyn Nets next week in a bid to return to the league.

Johnson last played in the NBA in 2017-18, when he split the season between the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. He featured in the BIG3 league this season, where he was a massive success, winning a league title and an MVP award.

The 38-year-old, who has been linked with an NBA return for a while, would be the first major figure to parlay BIG3 success into another NBA opportunity.

Kyle Korver agrees to one-year deal with Bucks

Kyle Korver

Kyle Korver will be lurking on the perimeter in support of a new NBA superstar this season.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Saturday that Korver has agreed to a one-year deal to join the Milwaukee Bucks, reuniting him with Mike Budenholzer, who coached him with the Atlanta Hawks.

Korver will provide perimeter firepower around Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose outside shot is still very much a work in progress. He had been previously linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, partially due to his experience playing with LeBron James.

Korver is a career 42.9 percent three-point shooter. The 38-year-old shot 46.7 percent last year, averaging 8.6 points per game as he split the season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz.