Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Six-Pack of Coors Light® Cold Hard Facts

The author's favorite ESPN weekday afternoon gimmick is Coors Light® Cold Hard Facts.  An ESPN personality asks an ex-jock six questions, and the ex-jock responds with "Fact" or "Fiction".  The responses are, of course, neither fact or fiction.  They are opinion.  But I love it anyway and I'm going to add it to #BucksForest.

We now present to you a six pack of Coors Light® Cold Hard Facts on the Bucks as they enter the exhibition pre-season.

1. Fact or Fiction: Brandon Knight is the Bucks' starting point guard.

Fact.

It's a fact because Brandon Knight says it's a fact.  And when your best player (and yes, Bucks fans, your best player this season is Good Brandon) says something is a fact, then it is a fact.

Good Brandon is a very good NBA player.  I hope the Bucks re-sign him and I hope they realize that strong guards who can stop penetration are a golden commodity in this League.

Brandon has his flaws.  He lacks vision and his passes lack accuracy.  But screw it.  Nobody's perfect and he is a damn good player in just about every other area.  He wants to be the starting point guard? He's the starting point guard.

2. Fact or Fiction: The Greek Freak will play some point guard.

Fiction.

The Bucks are making the playoffs this season.  At least, they'd better.  They may need a new arena to stay in town, and a rousing run to the playoffs would do wonders in helping a new arena happen.  And if the Bucks are going to make the playoffs, the Bucks can't be doing dumb shit like letting the Greek Freak play point guard.

3. Fact or Fiction: The Greek Freak will play shooting guard.

Fact.

The guy can't shoot.  Giannis Antetokounmpo seems like a nice guy and it's great that he likes Milwaukee, but his shot is ugly and it's not getting better any time soon.

The thing is, you don't need to be a great shooter to be a great shooting guard in the NBA.  Dwyane Wade, for example, has always been a streaky shooter.  He has relied on his defense, smarts, athleticism and his ability to score on the move.  The Greek Freak can do that, and he can do it this season.

4. Fact or Fiction: Jabari Parker will play power forward.

Fact.

This ain't the 1980s.  For the sake of Bucks fans, it'd be nice if it was, but it isn't.  Lilliputian is in and that means that 6'9" guys with average (as NBA players go) athleticism play power forward.

It's a shame, though.  Jabari Parker is (in the author's estimation) the modern Larry Bird.  He can score in a variety of ways, he has excellent vision and instincts and he just has an inate feel for the game that few have had before or since.  Larry Bird was an all-time great small forward and he excelled playing alongside two bigs (usually Kevin McHale and Robert Parish).  Jabari Parker could do the same if the Bucks ever found their McHale (i.e. a post presence who can pass).

If the original Larry Bird played in the NBA today, he'd probably play power forward.  Conventional wisdom would be that he's not athletic enough to guard the wing, and the basketball world would be deprived of the beautiful basketball that Bird and McHale played together.  The same will probably happen with Jabari Parker, at least initially.  Yours truly just hopes that at some point the Bucks will take a chance with Jabari and two Bigs.

5. Fact or Fiction: Larry Sanders is back!

Fact.

I hope.

In 2013, Larry Sanders became my favorite Bucks player since Big Dog.  The season ended on a sour note, but he was still great.

In 2014, Larry Sanders became the first player in NBA history to have the worst contract in the league before the extension even kicks in.  He did everything wrong that a player of his makeup could do wrong.

There are certainly doubts about The Colonel as he enters the 2015 seasons, but it says here that he'll be back.  He'll patrol the paint, help neutralize penetration and, perhaps most importantly, forget about offense entirely.  The Rock doesn't need a drop kick and Larry Sanders doesn't need a jump hook.

6. Fact or Fiction: John Henson is in the rotation.

Fiction.

John Henson seems like a nice guy, but right now he appears to be the odd man out.

A good NBA rotation has nine or nine-and-a-half players.  Of those nine or nine-and-a-half players, only three or four are Bigs.  If Larry is right, he's going to play.  Jabari is classified as a Big, apparently, so that's two.  Big Ers and Zaza are veterans who can contribute in a consistent, positive way.  And there's your four.

It is possible that Big Ers will be traded or that Larry will be 2014 Larry or that Jabari is really a Wing or that Zaza has gotten old.  Any of those occurrences would get Henson in to the regular rotation.  At the moment, however, it appears that Henson is the benchwarming Big.


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