Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee Bucks’

Magic Johnson sees a lot of himself when he watches the Greek Freak, and that’s good news for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Much like Giannis Antetokounmpo today, Johnson’s rare combination of size and ball-handling skills allowed the point guard to thrive during the Showtime era of the 1980s, when he helped deliver five NBA championships to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Now the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, Johnson believes the 23-year-old has the potential to do for Milwaukee what Magic did for Los Angeles.

“Oh yeah,” Johnson recently told ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “With his ball-handling skills and his passing ability. He plays above the rim, I never could do that. But in his understanding of the game, his basketball IQ, his creativity of shots for his teammates. That’s where we (have the) same thing. Can bring it down, make a pass, make a play.

“I’m just happy he’s starting in the All-Star Game because he deserves that. And he’s going to be like an MVP, a champion, this dude he’s going to put Milwaukee on the map. And I think he’s going to bring them a championship one day.”

Currently ranked second in league scoring (his 28.4 points per game trail only James Harden‘s 30.9), Antetokounmpo’s all-around performance this season has even placed the Bucks superstar in the MVP conversation. According to Basketball Reference’s MVP tracker, Antetokounmpo is fifth with a 5.5 percent chance of earning the honor, trailing four-time winner LeBron James by just 0.3 percentage points (though they’re both well behind the favorite in Harden, who sits at 43.3 percent).

When told about Johnson’s flattering remarks, Anteokounmpo didn’t shy away from the spotlight, noting they simply reinforced what he had already believed.

“The craziest thing is that I believe that,” Antetokounmpo said. “But it’s even more believable when other guys see that, like Magic. Especially Magic seeing that, that’s big. Because it’s almost like, ‘OK, he sees that.’ So I’m on the right path, I’ve got to do what I’m doing.”

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Under this year’s new All-Star Game format, the leading vote-getter in each conference will be made a captain, and the two will then draft their respective teams from the pool of remaining All-Star honorees.

After the first round of fan voting, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has the inside track to earning Eastern Conference captain honors. There are still a ton of fan votes to be tallied before Antetokounmpo can start counting his chickens, but he already knows who he’d draft with the first pick. His choice won’t surprise you, but his reasoning might.

“If my teammates are available I’m going with my teammates,” Antetokounmpo told WISN’s Stephen Watson on Friday. “But if not, I gotta go with LeBron James, best player in the world, so we can have a good relationship for free agency.”

James, of course, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and has reportedly declined to commit to returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The popular consensus is that if he does ditch the Cavs it will be for a more glamorous market like Los Angeles. But in pure basketball terms, he couldn’t do much better for a new running mate than the transcendent, 23-year-old, 6-foot-11 unicorn who looks increasingly like his heir apparent.

“You never know,” Antetokounmpo said, “he might come play here.”

The Greek Freak has a fan in the Black Mamba.

Kobe Bryant was recently asked to name a few players whom he’s a fan of, and gushed about only one.

Giannis (Antetokounmpo) is really, really fun to watch,” he told SLAM on Monday.

“The way he plays the game and the passion with which he plays, I love watching Giannis play.”

Bryant, 39, added that the Milwaukee Bucks phenom plays with the “same passion and the same mean streak” he did during his illustrious 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, who retired Nos. 8 and 24 in his honor later that night.

“He’s aggressive, he’s always attacking at both ends of the floor,” Bryant said of Antetokounmpo.

Before the 2017-18 season began, Bryant challenged the versatile Bucks star to win the Most Valuable Player award.

The 23-year-old is currently in the MVP conversation, but not considered a favorite. He leads the fifth-place Bucks with 29.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.5 blocks over a league-high 38 minutes per outing.

Say what you will about Milwaukee, but Giannis Antetokounmpo loves it.

The Bucks phenom has rapidly developed into a superstar, and this young season has made a better case than anyone that he’s the league MVP.

Antetokounmpo, 22, believes his adopted city suits his personality, and is probably conducive to his on-court success.

“I’m a low-profile guy,” he told The New York Times’ Marc Stein. “I don’t like all these flashy cities like L.A. or Miami. I don’t know if I could be the same player if I played in those cities.”

That figures to be music to the ears of Bucks nation, as Milwaukee is one of the NBA’s smaller markets and, as such, tends to have a tougher time luring and keeping stars. There was offseason speculation that teams were plotting to poach Antetokounmpo, who responded with this tweet:

The Greek Freak has already shown loyalty to the club that drafted him 15th overall in 2013, giving the Bucks a discount on a four-year, $100-million contract extension last year to keep him in Wisconsin through 2021.

He said he “can take this organization to the next level and bring that championship.” While Milwaukee isn’t a title contender given its roster holes – including a lack of shooting and speed – Antetokounmpo is doing his part, and more.

Following a breakout campaign that saw him earn his first All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defensive nods, the versatile 7-footer is putting up a league-leading 31.3 points on 60 percent shooting to go along with 10.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game for the 4-4 Bucks.

Russell Westbrook might be the most aggressive basketball player on the planet.

That approach to the game had Jason Kidd comparing the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard to one of the most feared boxers ever.

“He is the (Mike) Tyson of basketball,” the Milwaukee Bucks coach said Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

“When the jump ball (goes up), he is coming as Tyson did (in getting) off the stool. When the bell rings, he’s coming for you. Whenever he’s on the floor, he plays at one speed and that’s fast and hard.”

Kidd, who had a Hall of Fame-worthy career as an NBA guard, wasn’t done praising Westbrook.

“He’s the best in the game,” the 10-time All-Star said. “Puts a lot of pressure on your defense, offensively and defensively.”

Those words rang true later Tuesday, as the reigning league MVP registered 12 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in 26 minutes as OKC stomped the Bucks 110-91 at Bradley Center.

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Charles Antetokounmpo, the father of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, has died, Bucks general manager Jon Horst announced Saturday.

The Bucks family is heartbroken about the sudden death of Giannis’ father, Charles. The entire organization, his teammates and coaches are here to support Giannis and his family during this incredibly difficult time. Charles was a big part of the Bucks and will be terribly missed by us all. On behalf of ownership, we express our utmost condolences and offer our prayers to Giannis and his family.

Charles, who was 54 years old, is also the father of EuroLeague player Thanasis, Dayton Flyers freshman Kostas, and high school prospect Alexis. He reportedly suffered a heart attack at home Friday in Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Rick Barrett.

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Fourteen of the NBA’s 30 franchises lost money last season before receiving revenue-sharing cash from the league, and nine of those teams still ended up in the red after that, according to confidential financial records obtained by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe.

The report appears to confirm suspicions that despite record income from national television contracts, some teams are having trouble turning a profit – and not just in small markets.

The nine franchises to reportedly come out in the red, by the league’s accounting, after revenue sharing are: the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, and Washington Wizards.

The Spurs and Cavaliers may raise eyebrows given their combined runs of success, but it was already widely reported the Cavs lost $40 million during their 2015-16 championship season – due in part to a $54-million luxury tax bill.

At the end of the day, small cities such as Memphis and Milwaukee cannot compare to markets like Los Angeles. However, Brooklyn is part of New York City, and Washington and Atlanta rank as the nation’s seventh- and 10th-largest media markets, respectively.

At least one owner brought up the idea of expansion as a way to increase team income, the report states. An expansion fee – likely over $1 billion per team – would be divvied equally among NBA owners and not subject to the 50-50 basketball-related income split with players under the collective bargaining agreement.

Commissioner Adam Silver is on record as saying expansion is not a priority, although markets such as Seattle may be soon waiting in the wings for a new team. Relocating less profitable franchises is another option, something a handful of richer owners have suggested, according to Windhorst and Lowe.

The chasm between the NBA’s most profitable and weaker franchises will be discussed at the league’s next Board of Governors meeting at the end of September, sources told ESPN.