Joe & Ebo Experience: Snowpocalypse

Scorer v. All-Around Player (0:00)

Wild Conspiracies (9:25)

Team Game (22:59)

Sports Director Zach Heilprin (35:23)

Ebo will walk 13 miles .. and 13 more (47:04)

Bucks set multiple records in win over Kings

The Milwaukee Bucks set multiple records on Sunday afternoon and remain undefeated at the Fiserv Forum after a 144-109 win over the Sacramento Kings.

The Bucks set a franchise record with 22 made three-pointers in a game and a season high 144 points. Milwaukee is now 8-1 on the season, which is the team’s best nine game start in franchise history.

 

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the team with his second triple double of the season. Antetokounmpo finished with 26 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists on eight of 11 shooting.

But Giannis wasn’t the only reason for Milwaukee’s offensive outburst. All but two Bucks players made at least one three point basket, and the team finished shooting 39% (22/56) from behind the arc.  Milwaukee had every single player contribute to the scoring explosion, including eight players in double figures.

The Bucks will start a tough four-game west-coast trip against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo named NBA 2K19 cover athlete

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo received good news on Monday when he was officially named the cover athlete for NBA 2K19.

Antetokounmpo picture will be featured on the cover of the standard edition of the game which is set to release in September. The game also will have a special cover for the 20th anniversary of the game which features Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James.

Antetokounmpo becomes the first ever international player to be named the cover athlete. He joins the likes of James, Steph Curry, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Paul George, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul as active players that have graced the game’s cover. Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Kevin Garnett are among the retired players that have been featured as well.

With LeBron James leaving, the east is for Giannis’ taking

The Milwaukee Bucks have not had the best player in the Eastern Conference since 1974 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took home the league’s MVP award as a member of the Bucks. Since then the conference has been dominated by the likes of Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James.

With James’ announcement on Sunday that he is joining the Los Angeles Lakers via free agency, the Eastern Conference is now up for grabs. James had been on the team that represented the conference in the NBA Finals each June from 2011 until 2018.

The door is certainly open for the talent-laden Boston Celtics, the young and exciting Philadelphia 76ers, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo now becomes the presumptive best player in the Eastern Conference, with a chance to enter his prime with a wide-open conference.

There is still talent in the conference, for sure, but there’s no doubting that each of the – at the very least – top five players in basketball now reside out west. Antetokounmpo very well may be the highest-ranked player in the east.

There’s certainly competition, as players like Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons all play their basketball in the Eastern Conference. But of those players, there’s not a single one of them that Milwaukee would even think about swapping with Antetokounmpo, and it would be tough to argue that their respective teams would not jump at the chance.

Antetokounmpo still has plenty to work on in order to reach his ceiling. There’s no doubt his passing has room to grow, as does his ability to score from the outside as well as his basketball IQ.

Like their star, the Bucks have plenty of room to improve the roster as they attempt to win a playoff series for the first time since the spring of 2001. Milwaukee is in a cap-space bind for the time being, but the future of Antetokounmpo is bright.

Earlier in 2018 Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson was fined by the NBA for tampering as a result of comments me made regarding Antetokounmpo. Those comments seemed to be good natured and unworthy of a fine according to public opinion.

“He’s going to be like an MVP, a champion,” Johnson told ESPN. “This dude, he’s going to put Milwaukee on the map. And I think he’s going to bring them a championship one day.”

While Johnson isn’t directly helping to build the Bucks into a contender, he just did help Antetokounmpo become the best player in the conference. Now it’s up for Antetokounmpo to take things from there and put Milwaukee on the map.

Five thoughts from Mike Budenholzer’s introductory press conference

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Bucks officially introduced Mike Budenholzer as the 16th coach of the team on Monday afternoon at the Wisconsin Sports and Entertainment Center. Budenholzer had spent the past five seasons as the coach of the Atlanta Hawks, with his role doubling as President of Basketball Operations in the first four of those seasons.

The hiring of Budenholzer concluded a search that officially started when the Bucks lost Game 7 of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs to the Boston Celtics back on April 29th. Milwaukee reportedly interviewed a number of candidates including Spurs’ assistants Becky Hammon, Ettore Messina, and James Borrego, former Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford, and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt before hiring Budenholzer.

Five takeaways from Budenholzer’s introductory press conference
Defense, defense, defense

One area where the Bucks drastically underachieved was on the defensive end of the floor. The team is comprised of mostly long, athletic players, and the defensive side of the ball should have been a place where Milwaukee thrived. Instead, the Bucks finished 17th in defensive rating this past season despite the talented roster they held.

“The thing that probably stands out to me first is the potential on the defensive side of the ball. I would say that’s been always something that’s prioritized,” Budenholzer said about his time in Atlanta and San Antonio. “We want to be great on both sides of the ball. Whether it be the last five years in Atlanta as a head coach, I think San Antonio at the end of the day has always been great defensively. With the individual talents we have here in Milwaukee and how we can get them – one of the words I used in the interview process is how can we unlock this talent defensively – I just think there is so much to work with.”

Budenholzer is correct in this thinking. All-star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has the potential to be one of the best defensive players in the NBA, and while his teammates aren’t exactly that caliber, there’s little doubt they should be better than they have been.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Much was made of the accurate report from ESPN’s Zach Lowe stating that Budenholzer shared breakfast with Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton the morning prior to Milwaukee hiring him.

Budenholzer reaffirmed that when he was asked about it at his introductory press conference on Monday.

“It was a great opportunity to sit and visit with both Khris and Giannis. Just kind of talk basketball, talk a little bit about families, life,” Budenholzer said. “I think it was such a smart and important part of the process. I think how important both players are to us in the short term and the long term. As a coach, you’re only as good as your players and I think to connect with them on a lot of different levels. It was important that morning, it’s important going forward. It’s important to connect with our entire roster.”

No word on where they ate, or what they had, but it seems as if that breakfast sold Budenholzer on the job, no matter who picked up the check.

Developing Antetokounmpo

Antetokounmpo is the most important player on Milwaukee’s roster, and probably is the most important in the franchise since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar donned a uniform that read Milwaukee across the chest. That’s no secret.

It’s also not a secret that Antetokounmpo still has quite a way to go in order to become the player that many believe he can be. Antetokounmpo has yet to turn 24, but he has also yet to win a playoff series, or see his team finish higher than sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

Antetokounmpo just finished the first year of a four-year contract that runs until the summer of 2021. He’s openly spoken about being loyal and wanting to play his entire career out in Milwaukee, but until he signs his next contract, that needs to be taken with a grain of salt. In today’s NBA stars move from team to team more frequently than they have ever before. In the past five seasons we’ve seen LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and many others either change teams in free agency or force their way out of their current situation via trade.

Not saying that will happen, but Budenholzer getting the most out of Antetokounmpo will ensure that it doesn’t. The relationship between those two will be key for the success of the Bucks today, tomorrow, and years from now.

San Antonio background

Almost every franchise in the NBA envies the success of the San Antonio Spurs. That’s no secret as San Antonio has been the model of consistency for the past three decades, missing the playoffs only once since 1989, including making the postseason every year since 1998.

The Bucks are trying to emulate the Spurs, and that was no secret during the interviewing process. Milwaukee reportedly interviewed three members of the (then) Spurs staff and one front office member in Monty Williams.

While they didn’t hire directly from San Antonio, Budenholzer does have almost as much experience under Spurs coach Gregg Popovich as the four direct ties combined. He was an assistant in San Antonio from 1996 until he accepted the head coaching position with the Atlanta Hawks in 2013. This hire is as close to hiring directly from the Spurs as it gets without actually doing so.

Wisconsin Sports and Entertainment Center

The press conference was held in the soon-to-be home of the Bucks, the Wisconsin Sports and Entertainment Center.

The arena is still waiting on a permanent name, it’s also waiting to be finished. In one of the stranger experiences of this writer’s career, all media and team personnel, with the exception of Budenholzer and Horst, were dressed complete with a hard hat, reflective vest, safety goggles, and work gloves while inside the arena.

Milwaukee Bucks new head coach Mike Budenholzer speaks at a news conference in the team’s new arena Monday, May 21, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

It was an oddity to say the least, and truthfully the press conference probably would have been much better served taking place in the team’s practice facility right down the street. The Bucks wanted to show off the brand-new arena, but the media having to wear protective gear for one of the bigger moments in the history of the franchise seems incredibly silly.

On the bright side, there was cake. And who doesn’t love cake.