Last year, the Bucks crashed amid high expectations. Maybe it’ll be better for them to grow slowly this year.
Paul Flannery and Tom Ziller are previewing all 30 teams via conversation. Next up: the Milwaukee Bucks. Find all of the Flanns and Zillz previews here.
ZILLER: The most notable offseason news in Milwaukee actually hit in the middle of last season, when Jason Kidd declared that he was turning Giannis Antetokounmpo into the Bucks’ full-time point guard. It worked beautifully. I mean, the Bucks didn’t make the playoffs. They didn’t even come close, really. But Giannis looked great in that role, like a modern-day Penny Hardaway. So this is the plan.
Is it sustainable? Is it the best use of the Greek Freak?
Offensively, yes, although it still feels like an incomplete solution to the issue of having a position-less 6’11 dude who can’t shoot and needs the ball on his hands to be effective. Defensively, not really. That’s why they signed Matthew Dellavedova, who is automatically now one of their best defenders. Look, the Bucks stay weird as hell and there’s no greater avatar of their nonconformity than having Giannis run the point.
Don’t take that to mean that I am down on the guy or this team’s prospects. I’m just not sure what to make of them. Still.
You have a better feel for them?
ZILLER: Certainly not, but I remain intrigued. If Point Giannis really works, there’s enough talent in hand for Milwaukee to be in that third tier in the East, which makes for a low playoff seed. With Khris Middleton out, it’ll depend on Jabari Parker becoming a reliable 20-point scorer and the front line figuring something out. No one was inspired by Greg Monroe last season, but he’s still in place as the team’s best big man. What a weird position for the Bucks to be in.
Where are you with Jabari? He certainly hasn’t trumped Andrew Wiggins, but I think there’s something here. Hopefully more Melo and less Rudy Gay.
FLANNERY: That sounds about right and that’s kind of where I am with this entire Bucks team. There’s a wide range of outcomes and even the best case scenarios are a little flawed. Parker is clearly skilled, but he’s not yet a winning player. Giannis is a freak, but he’s not yet a franchise player. Maybe in time all of this works out, but I think it’s fair to be skeptical about how the pieces fit.
In a way, this is a better place for them to be than last year, when people were expecting big things and a sizable leap in the standings. Now we can get a truer picture of who these guys are as players.
So, what do you with Monroe?
ZILLER: Good question. What’s so weird is that on paper Monroe should be a good fit for this team. (That’s part of why I think so many were so excited about the Bucks’ immediate fortunes a year ago.) He’s a post scorer, rebounder, and good passer. The Bucks need all of that!
It’s the style conflicts that pose the problem. Kidd wants to play free and fast, and that makes sense with Giannis and Jabari. It does not make sense with Monroe. So you either need to bring him off the bench behind John Henson or Miles Plumlee, or you need to trade him. I feel like plenty of teams would give up an asset for Monroe — it’s not an issue of whether he’s a quality player, it’s just a fit problem. Do you agree?
FLANNERY: Yes, but I think Monroe’s issue is that he doesn’t fit in with a lot of other bigs and that limits his trade market. He’s an offensive center, but not a rim protector. I think he’d be great in, say, New Orleans playing next to Anthony Davis. I remain high on Monroe’s ability to contribute to a good team in a different city, but I just don’t see it happening in Milwaukee. I’d love to be wrong about that, by the way. I think he’s been unfairly maligned these last few years.
So, let me add a dose of optimism to my otherwise pessimistic responses. I think this a playoff team with talent and potential to grow into something more. But we have to see progress across the board before I get too excited.
ZILLER: In the meantime, no matter how good they become, at least we can get excited about some more Giannis.
Injured Aminu Out For 2-3 Weeks
D’Tigers guard, Al-Farouq Aminu, has been ruled out for two to three weeks after he sprained his right ankle, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Aminu who missed the Portland Trail Blazers’ 113-110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers Friday morning has suited eight times this season in the NBA.
The 27 year old was on crutches before the Portland Trail Blazers’ win over the Los Angeles Lakers game at the Moda center.
In his place, Noah Vonleh was listed as the starter for the game which was the Portland Trail Blazers’ fifth win in nine games.
Despite his injury setback, Aminu took to Twitter to applaud every fan who wished him well.
“Great win and thank you to everyone that has been wishing me well,” he tweeted.
So far this season Aminu has recorded 75 points, 65 rebound and 14 assists and six steals in 242 minutes for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Oladipo Named NBA Eastern Conference Player Of The Week
Indiana Pacers Nigerian forward, Victor Oladipo, has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week in the NBA, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The former Oklahoma City Thunders guard and former Indiana University All-American, Oladipo led the Pacers to a 101-83 rout of the Sacramento Kings Wednesday morning – their fourth win of the NBA season.
Oladipo becomes the 12th player in franchise history to earn Player of the Week honor. He added 14 points and four rebounds in the encounter.
So far this season, Oladipo has led the Pacers in scoring in each of their first seven games this season. He currently ranks eighth in the NBA with a scoring average of 28.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists over the last three games.
New Orleans’ Pelican star DeMarcus Cousins, was also named Western Conference Player of the Week.
The 25-year-old Oladipo praised his compatriot Ike Anigbogu, the youngest player in the NBA for scoring his first career points in the NBA after five games.
19-year-old Anigbogu who was the Pacers second-round pick scored four points in the five minutes he played.
Anigbogu scored his first points of his professional career on a pair of free throws. He later knocked down a jumper, then sent the Pacers’ veterans on the bench into hysterics with an emphatic block of Kings guard Frank Mason in the closing seconds.
“I’m proud of him (Anigbogu),” Oladipo told the Pacers official website.
“A lot of guys do a lot of the cheering. (The starters) got to do the cheering today. It’s an awesome feeling.
The Pacers travel to Cleveland for a clash against the LeBron James led Cavaliers on Thursday morning.
Occansey excited about giving Cote d’Ivoire supporters the opportunity to watch national team at home
ABIDJAN (FIBA Basketball World Qualifiers) – Cote d’Ivoire head coach Hugues Occansey feels his team will do everything in its power to reach the second round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers.
If they do, their supporters will have a chance of watching their heroes play home (and away) games in a battle for one of the five spots for African countries for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.
Occansey, who played for France’s national team in the 1980s and 1990s before turning his hand to coaching, looks forward to the challenge Cote d’Ivoire are set to embark on.
« We are happy to be one of the 16 African nations to compete in the World Cup Qualifiers. This is a good opportunity for us to get closer to our fans throughout Qualifiers and I really want to congratulate FIBA for this great initiative. »
It’s been over four years since Cote d’Ivoire last played a major tournament on home soil, as the country staged FIBA AfroBasket back in 2013. Occansey would like nothing better than to give local supporters an opportunity to relive a magical atmosphere like the one displayed on that occasion.
As hosts of FIBA Africa’s premier competition, Ivorian fans not only sold out the Palais des Sports de Treichville each time the « Elephants » stepped out onto the court but they also celebrated the game of basketball with choreographed dances, traditional chants and an impressive spirit of fair play after Cote d’Ivoire fell short to Angola in the Semi-Finals.
s part of FIBA’s new calendar and over a four-year cycle from 2017 through 2021, national teams will play regular official games to qualify for the China 2019 and the FIBA Continental Cups 2021 starting in November.
It is not lost on Occansey what it would mean for Cote d’Ivoire to reach the second round of Qualifiers for China 2019.
« It would be great to play official games at home. For us as coaches, every (Qualifiers) window is an opportunity to give our talented players based around the world the chance to represent the national team. That was not possible under the previous system. »
In order to advance to the second round of the World Cup Qualifiers, Cote d’Ivoire would need to finish in the top-three of Group D, which includes Senegal, Mozambique and the Central African Republic.
While Cote d’Ivoire did hosted the second round of FIBA Africa Zone 3 Qualifiers for the FIBA AfroBasket 2017 against Benin and Burkina Faso, there is nothing like the prospect of taking on the continent’s powerhouses in Abidjan.
The « Elephants » last played at the FIBA Basketball World Cup seven years ago in Turkey, where they defeated Puerto Rico to return home with a 1-4 record.
Source: Fiba basketball
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