The year is almost over! We’ve come so far, we’ve seen so much. We’ve laughed (both at and with the Milwaukee Bucks), we’ve cried (because of the Bucks), we’ve felt good and bad. Days move fast in the blog world. Every day, we’re onto the next story and the next post. We really don’t get a better chance to look back at a least than the chance we get at year’s end.
So here are my 2013 year-end Bucks and non-Bucks awards.
I’d do a game of the year or match-up of the year, but most games have been pretty depressing and most match-ups have been pretty one-sided in the favor of Milwaukee’s opponents. So we’ll focus on the people the Bucks put out there on the court and a few other things that are near and dear to my heart.
Bucks Player of the Year:
A. Larry Sanders
B. Giannis Antetokounmpo
C. John Henson
D. Ish Smith
E. Mike Dunleavy
I begged and pleaded for more Ish Smith minutes as the 2012-13 season wound down. I wanted to see if he could be a backup point guard. I heard fantastic things about him from a number of “people who knew things” and wanted to see him get a shot. I talked to him in Las Vegas as he competently handled point guard duties for Milwaukee’s summer league team. I was an Ish Smith fan.
But even I, ardent Ish Smith defender, can’t argue with the numbers. He can’t shoot. He couldn’t in March or July or October or November. It’s a bummer. That inability to make a basket outweighs my curiosity and appreciation of his speed and work ethic. So he’s out.
Dunleavy shoots a hell of a shot and was always the first guy out of the locker room at halftime for the Bucks. I appreciated both of those things, though I’m not sure why I liked how quickly he was out of the locker room. I guess I loved his sense of urgency, or the one I created for him based on his actions. Regardless, outside of being great at curling off of screens, he didn’t move the needle much and missed more free throws than I thought he ever would, given his form and 3-point shooting ability. He’s out.
Giannis. He’s going to win this award so many times. But not this year. He’s out.
We’re down to John Henson and Larry Sanders. Henson hasn’t had any issues with animals, but I’m not a big dog guy, so I won’t hold a mistake with a dog against Sanders too much. And I’ve been pretty intoxicated before, so I know how quickly things can go wrong, so I’m pretty much over Sanders club trouble. Both players have gone out of their way to attempt to ingratiate themselves with Milwaukeeans. Both players are tall and grab a fair share of rebounds. Neither is particularly effective outside of 10-feet. SO SIMILAR.
But I’m going to go with … John Henson!
He’s got the edge this season obviously, having played very well, out of position and with an undermanned group of teammates. But beyond that, Henson played pretty well last season when he was getting minutes last season and generally gives a sense that he could continually play well over the long term more than Sanders does. Sanders had one very good season, but doesn’t have the prestige that Henson does. I don’t know why that factors into this one year stretch, but I guess it helps me feel good about what Henson does, more than I feel good about what Sanders has accomplished.
Bucks Play of the Year:
Last season was so depressing. It’s hard to bring up those memories, though I recall being very enraged about Monta’s buzzer beater. Maybe it wasn’t that he made the shot, but it certainly was how ineffective that entire play was, from design to execution. Gross. YOU’RE OUT MONTA!
Thumbs up was great and Larry’s block of Burks was pretty incredible. But, again, last season. YOU’RE OUT LARRY.
Chris Daniels was fun to watch in summer league. He was a tough guy, who walked around doing tough guy things while looking menacing. That dunk was a great capper for him, as a guy who isn’t a big leaper. It looked so physical and tough and it came off a great pass from the aforementioned Smith. But, summer league, so, YOU’RE OUT CHRIS.
Our winner: GIANNIS! As if any other play had a chance. So incredible was that sequence that I have to embed it right here and watch it again.
Favorite Off Ball Mover:
A. Mike Dunleavy
B. Gary Neal
C. Caron Butler
D. JJ Redick
Dunleavy is the obvious favorite here. I’ve written ad nauseum about his curls and how much I enjoy them. Neal has kind of stepped into his role a bit this season, with more of a gunner type mindset. What was nice about Dunleavy is that he was a threat to pass to a rolling big after coming off a screen, but we don’t really have that going on with Neal.
Butler doesn’t really curl, but he works pretty hard off the ball for the most part. I think he’s a good guy for Giannis to be watching, as he’s very active in Milwaukee’s flex packages and never settles. Plus his movement doesn’t just stem from the baseline, as it has so much for Giannis. That’s what allows Caron to catch in better spots to create.
But the surprise winner here is JJ Redick.
From the second he arrived, I loved watching him work off the ball. He would go so hard in one direction on the baseline and then violently plant and stop before cutting back the other way to come around a screen. He didn’t make as many shots as anyone would have liked, but it was fun to watch him work for them.
Favorite Bucks Video
Drake hands is the winner. John Henson and Ekpe Udoh really push it over the top. You could even say it’s the “hands down” winner. Sorry.
Jon Hartzell Photoshop of the Year:
I think Dr. Blocktopus may be the most well known of this group, but I’m partial to Global Domination with Giannis. I shouldn’t even be writing this, I should be writing Hasbro and working on convincing them they have a new game cover on their hands, just waiting for them.
Qdoba or Chipotle
Don’t browbeat me with your fancy Mexican restaurants. I know that these two aren’t fine Mexican food by any means. But they are brutally efficient and do produce meals that will leave you both full and satisfied. Well, one of them does. The other makes you wonder why it couldn’t go that extra mile and match its chief competitor in every category.
Why does Chipotle not offer queso sauce? What could they possibly be thinking? Is this some sort of health food crusade? Time and again, people tell me about how much better the ingredients are at Chipotle. I tell them I wouldn’t know, because I don’t waste my time with a company that does not care about me. Qdoba cares about me, that’s why they provide that delicious stew they call queso. I could eat a meal of queso alone, but I haven’t because I’m not quite that sad just yet.
So Qdoba is the resounding, blowout winner here. And it will continue to be the winner until the day Chipotle gets wise and adds some yellow heaven into its buffet bar.
Favorite Rookie: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Favorite Go-To Move: John Henson’s Hookshot
Milwaukee hasn’t had a player with a signature move in quiet a while. Monta had that spinning layup he liked to do and Brandon Jennings would often fake a pass behind his back when trying to create some space, but neither of those moves was as majestic and reliable or frequently used as Henson’s Hook.
Favorite Passer: Mike Dunleavy
Clever ball mover, that Dunleavy was.
Favorite Potato Chip: Popchips
Sour cream and onion flavored. Delicious. And really, we can’t do any better than Popchips to wrap this up. Thanks for reading, today and everyday. I hope you had a good 2013 and I hope you’ll have a better 2014.