Summer Jazz 87 – Summer Bucks 71: Giannis … then everyone else

Giannis rises over Trey Burke for a shot. (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images)
Giannis rises over Trey Burke for a shot. (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images)

It was almost alarming how bad the Summer Milwaukee Bucks looked Monday night in an 87-71 loss to the Summer Utah Jazz. They couldn’t hit a jump shot. They couldn’t finish at the rim. They had no answer for raw second year center Rudy Gobert, who sealed off defenders and finished in the paint on offense and rejected shot after shot on defense. It was not a pleasant visual experience. It seemed troubling.

But it’s the Summer Milwaukee Bucks. This isn’t the Milwaukee Bucks. This team doesn’t  even bare a passable resemblance to the team that will be taking the court this coming October. Jordan Taylor’s struggle is not a problem the actual Bucks need concern themselves with. An overmatched Ben Brust is no cause for concern.

We know very little more about the actual Bucks today than we did yesterday.

But the Jazz can probably feel a bit more optimistic. With all the caution necessary since this is Summer League, there seemed to be at least moderate reason for the Jazz to feel good, as Gobert (13 points, nine rebounds, five blocks) and first round pick Rodney Hood (29 points, 7-10 3FG) looked like real live prospects. Again, they were playing against the B-ist of B teams, but it’s always fun to see players on the team you like play well. So hooray for the Jazz and boo for the Bucks.

This is an especially “boo for the Bucks” night, as number two pick Jabari Parker had his worst game of the young summer thus far. He finished with 14 points on 6-14 FG, which doesn’t seem all that bad, but time after time he took long jump shots or struggled to get a clean look in the paint. He was able to drive by the likes of Erik Murphy a time or two, but in general his moves in the paint that once got him open layups at Duke were swallowed up by the mammoth Gobert or a number of other Jazz defenders.

On a night where Andrew Wiggins wowed the crowd and a couple days after Dante Exum’s thrilling debut, we’ve still yet to see the best of Parker. Or at least what we hoped for would be the best. But … we’re three games into Las Vegas Summer League, so who the hell really cares?

While Parker wasn’t stellar, Giannis Antetokounmpo was far more interesting. He was playing point guard for the majority of his time on the court, so the ball was in his hands often. And the influx of possessions didn’t seem to make him weary of doing something with them. It seemed like every time he caught the ball, in the first half especially, his plan was to attack the basket. And he did so in a number of different ways.

On his very first touch, he caught the ball on the perimeter and took a dribble and posted up his smaller defender. He gave him a dribble or two, got into the paint, did a spin/drop-step type move and finished uncontested at the rim with a finger roll. After that he caught on the perimeter and drove hard to the hoop on at least three or four occasions early on and either was met by Gobert at the rim. A couple times, Gobert got the best of him with a block. But once, Giannis finished over him with a two-hand slam. It was interesting to see how often he was able to get by his man on the perimeter and get to the next level. In the second quarter, he caught the ball with a smaller Trey Burke on him and promptly posted up the tiny point guard, took him to the elbow and hit a simple jump shot, exploiting his size advantage.

Later in the game (third or fourth quarter, I can’t remember specifically), the ball was swung to him on the perimeter. He decisively took a dribble, then spun towards the hoop, finished with a finger roll and drew the foul. It wasn’t always so smooth for him, as he finished with four turnovers and made only 6-16 FG on his way to his 15 points, but once again, we saw progress from Giannis.

As for the rest of the relevant roster players?

Nate Wolters did nothing of note and Johnny O’Bryant was badly out-classed by Gobert. While Gobert has a significant height advantage, O’Bryant seemingly should be able to get underneath him with his body to keep him off the glass. But O’Bryant never really made use of his bulk advantage over his lanky opponent. Gobert went over the top of him for boards and rendered him ineffective on offense. The big man from LSU was able to use his size to bounce Jazz backup center Greg Somogyi off balance, opening up a couple of easy finishes, but he didn’t flash much.

Categories: Summer League

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    • I mean I think this quote from the article answers that question. ” Or at least what we hoped for would be the best. But … we’re three games into Las Vegas Summer League, so who the hell really cares?”

  1. I think Parker was better this game than vs. the Suns as he didn’t force quite as many jumpers and looked more comfortable in the flow. Didn’t look as gassed either.

  2. Jabari will be a huge bust for us unfortunately. He has very limited upside. You can really see his lack of athleticism as he settles for bad fall away jumpers. This is similar to what happened to him at Duke.

    I think when all is said and done there were two superstars in this draft – Andrew Wiggins, a healthy Joel Embid, and we got neither!!

    • Parker has similarities to Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony, and look what busts they’ve become.

      The Bucks chose the right player. Wiggins is an athletic freak who needs to develop into a basketball player; we already have that with Giannis. Embid is an injury waiting to happen, much like Bogut. I was a fan of Bogut, but he can’t stay on the court.

      The Bucks needed a legit scorer and Parker gives them that. Parker was the best player in the ACC as a freshman at Duke. The other two have potential; he has results.

      • The choices the Bucks had came down to…

        1. A proven commodity and polished offensive player in Parker who’s ceiling was comparative to players such as C.Anthony and P.Pierce — not bad at all. Plus, he wanted to be in Milwaukee and he seems like he’s not your typical diva-type NBA player!

        2. An injured and high upside Embiid who very well could be injury prone.

        3. A relatively unknown commodity in Exum who possessed high upside but word was he preferred to go to a team with a bigger market than Milwaukee.

        4. Plus maybe long-shots: Gordon or Smart; two players with pretty high ceilings themselves, but not the same clout of those above.

        Wiggins, despite as much as I wanted the Bucks to end up with him, was picked #1 so the Bucks had no chance to even consider him at #2.

        I certainly wont look back and fault the Bucks for picking J.Parker #2. I hope the team is able to set him up for better success in the future as he clearly has good skills which should be game planned to make better use of.

  3. Joe,

    I agree on your point but it wasn’t an easy call for Bucks management to make. We were set up perfectly until the Embid injury. Cleveland was going to take Joel and we would have had Wiggins at our #2 selection. Once the injury happened Wiggins went to number 1. So it basically came down to Jabari, Embid, or an outside chance of Exum. I would have taken Embid knowing he will probably have to sit for a year to get healthy. I think if healthy he is a flat out stud! The Bucks though wanted to draft someone that would play from day one and therefore took Parker.

    I have had the same concerns about Jabari’s athleticism and do see even in the first Summer League games. I see him missing contested dunks just like in college because he doesn’t have the explosion. I also see him taking bad contested jumpers because he doesn’t have the elevation on his jump shot like Wiggins. He is a solid shooter though when open.

    I still think Jabari will be a good player, but definitely not a superstar. There is a chance Jabari could get Rookie of the Year since he will get a LOT of shots playing with the Bucks. I see him being a 15 to 20 point scorer over his career and a borderline all-star.

    • Guys. Seriously.

      When it’s Brandon Knight and not Jordan Taylor, and Khris Middleton as opposed to Ben Brust, and Larry Sanders instead of Johnny O’Bryant, this is all a different story.

      It’s summer. Go on a trip or something this weekend. Hit the Northwoods, breathe some fresh air. Get some sun. It’s going to be okay.

  4. It is not like Wiggins is lighting it up in SL. Why are you so sure Jabari is a bust and Wiggins is a superstar? Wiggins is super athletic, but he settled for tons of jumpers vs the bucks

  5. Everybody freaking relax. The Bucks, as a summer league team, suck. There will be more space to operate, plays will be run, and more open looks and spacing will be had in the regular season. Jabari will have his chance to prove himself then. It’s just difficult because this SL roster sucks so bad.

    • The Bucks, as a National Basketball Association team, suck. This is a good thing however. They will be good one day, hopefully not this year but the following year maybe they can start making some noise.

  6. Parker is just feeling his way so far. It’s his first taste of Pro Ball. His talent is obvious, and I love his aggressiveness even though he’s getting a lesson on NBA rim protectors.

    That said, the Bucks have no 3 point threats, no rim protectors and little guard play on this squad. We are losing games because of poor 3 point shooting and bad perimeter defense.

    Note- noticing Giannis is picking up some of Parker’s half court moves and making them work. His improvement from a year ago is down right amazing.

    Relax with Parker, please!

  7. I feel Parker had just as good a game as Giannis, this is summer league… to call Parker a bust is laughable especially when hes being set up by Jordan Taylor (who wont make an NBA team) and when giannis passes the ball 4 times total a game its gonna be hard for him to make a difference or get in a rhythm. I agree with JP when its the bucks starters out there and other teams cant key on Parker the game will come to him. He put up 17 and 9 in his first game a double double in his second and 14 points on 43% shooting in his third game and hes been playing poorly these are the stats of the average SF on the bucks so if this is him being out of rhythm and playing terrible ill take it !!! calm down people the bucks absolutely made the right choice

  8. What all this seems to cry out for is a point guard to direct the offense, keep the ball moving, and set up guys like Parker for good shots — my old familiar refrain.

    One fun thing for Bucks fans during the remainder of this Vegas Summer League could be to look for unheralded or underappreciated point guards on other teams who might be available to the Bucks.

    It’s also worth talking about more advanced NBA players who the Bucks might obtain with a trade, including teams that might be overstocked at point.

    Even if one thinks that Nate Wolters is going to be a good point guard for the Bucks, it wouldn’t hurt to have another guy or two who is quicker and slicker at breaking down defenses off the dribble and who is craftier at getting the ball to teammates.

    As I’ve written before, this is the one position that seems to have the most effect on all the other positions, a kind of quarterback on the court.

    P.S. I’m a big fan of Brandon Knight, but at shooting guard.

  9. kungfusuperstar

    Patients please, Jabari will be fine. It’s just summer league and regardless of everyone saying he’s pro ready he’s only 19. He’s smart and talented. He’ll figure it out.

    Giannis however is looking awesome. He’s more aggressive, has a post game all the sudden, building an iso game as well, looks a little stronger and has an improving handle. He just needs to keep going on this path and continue to work on strength and his shot. Still not sure about the PG thing. He looks ok at it on offense and it could be interesting to see but he does appear to have a problem staying in front of smaller quicker guards. Who knows, actually basketball coaches/ GMs know more than I do so we’ll see.

    Should be fun to watch this year.

  10. Never too early for this:

    Jabari will be a huge bust for us unfortunately. He has very limited upside. You can really see his lack of athleticism as he settles for bad fall away jumpers. This is similar to what happened to him at Duke.

  11. I keep hearing people want to compare Jabari to Paul Pierce or Carmelo Anthony, but the player I see when I watch Parker play is Antoine Walker. Both are 6’9″ forwards who aren’t in great and settle for long contested jumpers a little too easily, but still have nice secondary skills.

    Walker wasn’t a bad player. He would put up 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists a night and that’s pretty good. It’s just the 20 points came more from volume of shots than being a good scorer, and I worry that will be Parker’s problem. It’s hard to win when your best scorer shoots 41% from the field.

    If Parker is going to be better than Walker he’ll need to improve the jumper or learn to finish in the post while taking contact. Those are the two things Walker never learned to do. As a Bucks fan I hope he can do that.