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The Inscrutable Team

By Adebayo Iyiade SundayPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
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If we could make it make sense, we, the staff of Brew Hoop, would be the inmates running the Milwaukee Bucks’s asylum.

What is most disappointing about the week the Bucks just concluded is that it feels so effortlessly of a piece with the season so far. One more low in a year that has had plenty — although this particular stretch feels comparatively worse with the “they just need time to gel” parapet we’d hidden behind for months getting chewed up by the passing of the days.

I use the term inscrutable, but only as a conceit. This Bucks team as constructed is closely conforming to the expectations you’d have of any super top-heavy roster. If Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, and Khris Middleton play there is a solid chance of a win waiting on the other side. If they don’t, well...

Once the long absences of Middleton started setting in the responsibility for filling the gap inevitably fell on the bench and secondary starters. Unfortunately, most of those players long ago aged out of surprising outcomes and are, instead, battling tooth and nail with Time to avoid the slippage from reliable vets to lost fastballs. When I read names like Brook Lopez, Jae Crowder, Bobby Portis, Malik Beasley, Pat Connaughton, and Patrick Beverly, the connecting themes to me are those of inconsistency and low ceilings. Their theoretical floor is higher than their younger compatriots, but the rigors of the season have them reaching their floor far less often than would be necessary to help carry the load alongside the stars.

Jimmer Fredette: next Steph Curry, international superstar ... NBA Flameout

If you love college basketball, you remember Jimmer Fredette as a legend. If you prefer the NBA, you probably remember him as a bust. How and why can same the player satisfy both legacies, and what do we make of the rest of Fredette's pro career? Let's visit the less-known chapters of Jimmer's story in the Prism.

Maybe what is inscrutable is how far they’ve gotten with all that has troubled them. In the aftermath of some tough losses, hope can still spring eternal if three players end up taking the floor later this April. Whether they should have ever found themselves in that kind of position is a discussion that can start now and be resolved in the offseason. As far as the chances of winning right now go, though, it is as scrutable as that.

MVP Ladder: Top contenders drop triple-doubles in final push

The MVP race is about as good as over for Giannis, valiant though his season has been (including coming back from a tight hamstring against the Knicks). Going to be tough balancing his minutes and the strain on his body the final four games and the need to shoot for whatever seed the team wants to land at. I will say listing him as fourth in the standings behind SGA feels a little disrespectful, even if neither ultimately has a shot at winning the award.

Ranking NBA title contenders (CBS Sports)

Piece was written and published on April 5th, so it hadn’t had the full picture of the Bucks’ week to write the evaluation around. Still, a fourth-place showing isn’t half bad for this team even if much of the stock placed on them relies on a series of big ifs and theory rather than much practice.

What Joel Embiid’s Return Means for the Sixers—and the Rest of the East (The Ringer)

Bucks are only tangentially mentioned in here in the context of a Sixers team that could try and drag itself out of the grave with Joel Embiid back. The downside to the bulk of the Eastern Conference playoff picture being such a s-show is that you may end up having to face another team with just as many Ifs going for/against their favor as your team is dealing with (and chance may land in their favor). The upside is at least it’ll be entertaining watching games this week to see how the playoff bracket shakes out.

Know Your NBA Enemy

Boston Celtics - Celtics Blog - No, the Celtics shouldn’t lure LeBron to Boston by drafting his son

While I’m fully aware the odds of the Bucks drafting Bronny James in the 2024 NBA Draft is close to zero, it would be darkly funny if the way we found to make the roster older was to... add LeBron James into the mix. If we’re going out, let’s go out chaotic.

Orlando Magic - Rest in Peace Orlando Pinstriped Post

Oklahoma City Thunder - Welcome to Loud City - Scouting the Playoffs: The Dallas Mavericks

I wouldn’t call the Substack successor to Welcome to Loud City dead per se, but it isn’t particularly active either. This is the last piece published there back on March 20th, so read it if you’ve got next to nothing else going on today.

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