With a 40-36 record, after going 14-3 since March 1st, they head into Sunday's matinee matchup vs the playoff eliminated Dallas Mavericks looking to solidify their playoff standings with 6 games left on the regular schedule.
I will admit, even the most optimistic Bucks fan could not have predicted this run. I had buried the Bucks season nearly 3 times since February. When Jabari Parker went down with another ACL injury, on Feb 8th vs the Heat, I felt this would begin the long slide into the lottery Bucks fans were used to feeling as the Wisconsin winter long cold freeze began to thaw into March madness.
Top draft prospects would be put on display and fans were ready to debate who to tab as the best option to help the Bucks in this years NBA Draft Lottery.
The Bucks embarrassing home loss to the hapless Lakers two days later felt like this is exactly what was going to happen. But, they were able to rebound with 3 wins before the All Star break providing some hope that the wheels weren't ready to fall off just yet.
Khris Middleton was back from a freak training camp injury and was providing some stability, but I didn't have him pegged as a season savior ready to take on the 'John Salmons' role ready to lead the team on another Fear the Deer torrid run circa 2010.
Out of the All Star break, it was more of the same see saw basketball losing 3 of 4 games right out of the gate with an especially low effort matchup with the surging Denver Nuggets. I left the Bradley Center without any hope that this team would come together in quick fashion and put together a playoff run.
Boy was I wrong.
Giannis has carried this team along with Khris Middleton to a 14-3 record since the Nuggets loss and put themselves in the drivers seat to potentially win the Bucks first playoff series since 2001. It's been 16 years since the Bucks have won a playoff series and I believe they are ready to break that streak this season.
This is our time.
This is Giannis team and he's not ready to go home yet.
With Dirk coming to town as the most celebrated International Player in the history of the game, it's hard not to think that Giannis could be next in line to become the NBA's top International Player in the history of the league. We are literally watching history unfold as Giannis establishes himself as one of the NBA's most unique talents. You've seen the stats, you've seen the historic company he is putting himself in and it's hard to really grasp what he's doing.
BROOKLYN -- Kristaps Porzingis isn't the only extraordinarily talented 21-year-old who could be learning from Dirk Nowitzki next summer. Giannis Antetokounmpo revealed Thursday that, when the Milwaukee Bucks visited the Dallas Mavericks in early November, he received an invitation from Nowitzki's personal coach, Holger Geschwindner.
"They're working out in Germany," Antetokounmpo said after the Bucks' 111-93 win over the Brooklyn Nets. "Germany is not far away from Greece, and he told me, if I want, he can come wherever I am or I can come to Germany and I could work out with him. That's a nice invitation. Hopefully my schedule with the national team and the Bucks, I can be able to make the trip there."
I woke up this morning and watched 'Dirk-The Perfect Shot' documentary after remembering Holger Geschwinder's offer to help coach Giannis and teach him how he taught Dirk how to shoot. After watching some of his methods, I have become more and more enamored with the thought. Holger is a unique coach using sports science and physics to map out how a player should be standing, shooting, running, etc for the perfect basketball execution. Rare players training with rare oft-guarded training methods and coaches is a intriguing process to ponder. He's made a similar offer to Kristaps Porzingis, but for the most part, Holger had taught Dirk and Dirk alone.
Bucks Make Roster Move
The Bucks have also made a roster move, releasing little used forward Terrence Jones and will be signing Gary Payton II to a contract for the remainder of the season. Jones had not seen much time and with Michael Beasley's return, it made sense to balance the roster. No official word on the severity of Malcolm Brogdon's back injury, but a move like this must mean the Bucks are looking to solidify the PG position heading into the postseason. Payton II would be eligible for post season play. Payton I and Kidd are long time friends from the Oakland area.
I have not been shy about my sour feelings for Gary Payton I after the Bucks acquired him for Ray Allen in 2003 and he bolted for the Lakers after 28 games and a playoff series loss vs Jason Kidd and the Nets. He's never shied away from the chance to speak ill of his time in Milwaukee and of the city himself. But, I will not hold his fathers record here against Payton II. It's somewhat poetic justice the only team that would sign his son is the team that Payton has badmouthed for years.
GPII is a defensive minded guard cut from his father's cloth, but a less talented player and he went undrafted in the 2016 draft. Bucks were reportedly very high on him, worked him out and some projections had him going to the Bucks at 36 or 38. Hopefully he can provide some quality minutes for the Bucks and learn on the fly.
Mt Dew, Giannis and April Fools Pranks
.@Giannis_An34 told me he likes me.— Paul Henning (@brewcitypaul) April 1, 2017
So I got that going for me. Which is nice. pic.twitter.com/hQEq3gA03q
In what was a totally, random occurrence (sarcasm), I found myself in the Mt Dew commercial filmed in Milwaukee on a beautiful February day on Milwaukee & Mason St. in which Giannis surprised unsuspecting Milwaukee Bucks fans with a surprise phone call and conversation. I legit had no idea what was going to happen that day and it turned out to be a really fun experience.
Don't forget to marvel at the Bucks arena progress as you head to today's game. The roof is taking shape and it looks like it has to be ahead of schedule. 6 games left this year and one more year at the Bradley Center before they head into their new home.
Giannis is a superstar.
The Bucks are winning and playing meaningful games in April.
The New Arena is going up faster than a Giannis fast break.
It's a great time to be a Bucks fan. The best is yet to come.