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Monday Morning Media Roundup: Stasis; It’s What’s (Likely) For Dinner

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Monday Morning Media Roundup: Stasis; It’s What’s (Likely) For Dinner


I’ve spent the column space here each Monday since the season ended thinking about the possible futures of your Milwaukee Bucks. Those thoughts have led me to lament how bad the team’s coming free agent class is, restate my adherence to the Giannis-as-C theorem, and to find ideas on how the team can build if the recent Finals contenders are models to emulate.

Underlying all of this digital ink spillage, though, is the very real possibility that there is no change on the cards. For reasons of contractual, continuity, and chemistry reasons, the baseline expectations for the Bucks should be that they will enter the 2024-2025 season without Jae Crowder and with some other random veteran player in that slot. They could take a contingent of five or six “young guys” — Beauchamp, AJ Green, Andre Jackson Jr., Chris Livingston, Draft Pick X, Draft Pick Y — but that would be anathema to how this front office builds. Expect, then, some draft night trades that see the team buying future capital at the expense of immediate scratch off tickets.

Expect, also, the likes of Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton to be back, too. They have very tradable contracts and feel like they’ve played out their usefulness with this group. They also can’t be aggregated with other salary because of the Bucks cap situation and they may not have much value around the league besides protected picks and other also-ran vets.

Finally, expect little change in the way the team plays on both ends of the floor. Not for a want of trying on the part of the coaching staff, of course. It is simply the reality of what this group of (very (very)) established players is capable of doing. Brook Lopez doesn’t have another arc in his career that doesn’t lead to his retiring to a massive estate in Orlando. Damian Lillard isn’t going to self-actualize into a superb passer. Khris Middleton has ran at his peak for two playoffs in a row and must be more concerned with maintenance than growth.

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It isn’t all that interesting or satisfactory, but it is the likeliest outcome. We’d do ourselves well to prepare for the possibility.

Let’s roundup!


Milwaukee Bucks Links

Bucks offseason primer: Milwaukee’s key roster questions as NBA Draft nears & Who could the Bucks select in the 2024 NBA Draft? Bub Carrington, Tyler Kolek and more options (The Athletic)

You may or may not have already hit your free article limit over on the Times, but if you haven’t I’d say these pieces by Nehm are worthwhile to get a solid baseline understanding of where the Bucks stand. That’s especially the case vis a vis the cap, the first and second aprons, and how difficult it may be to get under the second apron in particular.

One note on Nehm’s draft piece: Found it very interesting that he scouted almost exclusively guards and a few wings. He is rarely in the news breaking business in the way Shams/Woj are, but he isn’t just pulling names for the hell of it, either.

Chronomat Giannis Antetokounmpo (World Tempus (???))

Cracking me up that the AI writer of this never refers to the Bucks by name, but often as “Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team”. Now ain’t there something poetic and true in that.

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I’ve no idea how large the crossover is between Brew Hoop readers and Swiss luxury watch purchasers, but if you’re out there, this one’s for you.

How Celtics and Mavericks built their rosters and lessons other teams can learn (CBS Sports)

Some interesting observations in here that were more likely than not inspired by my intro to last week’s MMMR where I tried to determine a few lessons for the Bucks from the Mavs-Celtics Finals. Tend to agree with Sam Quinn on all of his points, and the Bucks aren’t far off on a few, either. Being opportunistic is something GM Jon Horst will often attempt to do, but he’s fallen short occasionally in terms of “hard choices” (trading Jrue could count here, too, though) and the depth of the roster. We shall see where things lead now.

The Seven Commandments of Scoring in the NBA Playoffs (The Ringer)

Again, another interesting piece that tackles a key component to playoff winning: Scoring. As with most of these pieces, if you read them through a Bucks-tinted lens and ask whether the ideas apply to that team you may come up feeling a bit wanting. Giannis is a fearless guy and physicality is his great strength, but his durability issues have prevented us from seeing whether he has truly learned from his failures as well. Beyond him and his two co-stars, I often wonder about the other guys’ skillsets on this plane. In a world where playoff basketball is more iso-heavy as the years go by, maybe it doesn’t matter if the seventh man brings next to nothing in terms of scoring.

Mock Draft Prospect of the Week

Tyler Smith – G League Ignite – 6’9”, 225 pounds, 19 years old, SF/PF

With the MarJon Beauchamp experience underway — and still to be determined even if my hopes aren’t particularly high — will Jon Horst find himself allured by another G League Ignite prospect with his first round draft pick? Tyler Smith at 6’9” with a 7’1” wingspan could be a possible project piece if placed in the right developmental system that will keep him on his nascent upward trajectory. The highlights!

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Not bad, actually! The first half of the video is mostly clips of him finishing a ton of dunks off pick and rolls or his reading and reacting to a tough shot/miss by a teammate to finish a play. Crucially, he can elevate off of one foot on the move which is something MarJon can’t quite nail. A couple of made threes shows some promise, although scouting reports say the 36.4% he made as a member of the Ignite could end up being an outlier if his amateur numbers are more reflective of what he’s capable of. On defense, the one-on-one capacity just really isn’t there, but you’d be happy seeing some of those off-ball rotations of his to close and block attempts where he starts on the weak side.

Smith played in 27 games for the Ignite with two starts in there. That team won a total of 2 games all season.

He averaged 22.0 minutes played, 13.0 points (.481/.364/.725), 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.7 stocks (0.7 steals+1.0 blocks). For a guy his age and coming mostly off the bench, his usage rate was pretty substantial (24.4%) and his offensive game mostly matched the coaching staff’s expectations when allowing that many possessions to run through him. Of course, it all comes down to how his body develops and whether he can add strength and defensive understanding to hang in the NBA. If the Bucks were to draft him I see no world in which he makes an impact in the first season outside of marginal appearances during the regular season. But if he does continue to strengthen and can keep hitting threes, he’d be a very promising guy to pair next to the likes of Antetokounmpo on both ends of the floor.

It’d take courage and a lot of faith in Doc Rivers’s staff as a developmental group. Very few Ignite guys have broken through properly at the NBA level, so Smith would have to be the first guy to buck that trend to be a success.

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The Social Media Section

Give it like five more years and Kobe apocryphal-isms will have passed from stories told on podcasts to foundational national myth/lore

Think we’ve identified what caused all that Achilles pain for Dame

We’re going to party our asses off here at MMMR HQ once this dude’s contract officially expires

Please Notre Dame God, convince Pat his calling is golf. I need cap room like something bad

Yes

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I’m too isolated in my continent-spanning country to get the joke. Mbappe commented with crying face emojis, so that’s good I guess

Hala Madrid, indeed


We’re a little over two weeks out from the Draft and, shortly thereafter, free agency. The team will move quickly from open questions to a cohered answer and then we can finally kick off previewing what the future may hold. Nearly there!

Happy Monday!



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Milwaukee, WI

Evers seeks vendor for Milwaukee Public Schools audit

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Evers seeks vendor for Milwaukee Public Schools audit


Gov. Tony Evers said it’s “critical” that Milwaukee Public Schools cooperate with the Department of Public Instruction as he takes steps to begin independent audits of the district’s operations and instructional practices. 

The guv announced potential auditors will have until next Monday to respond to a request for services to conduct an operational audit of Milwaukee Public Schools, which will be done under an existing state contract with entities that have experience with educational audits. The guv also announced a list of nine eligible vendors. 

“It is critical the district cooperates with the DPI as it relates to the financial audit as we take steps to begin additional audits as soon as possible with independent auditors who have the necessary education sector experience to conduct both audits thoughtfully and effectively,” Evers said. “I look forward to these audits getting underway so we can support kids, families, and educators in MPS, as well as the greater community.”

According to the request for services, the operational audit seeks an “unbiased, independent” assessment of MPS, including a review of compliance and reporting functions, financial management and controls, a review of human resources processes and policies, and recommendations for the district. 

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Milwaukee Board of School Directors President Marva Herndon in a statement today said the district is committed to resolving the situation. 

“As we continue to focus on the students, families, staff and community of MPS, we welcome and appreciate the support of our partners in the governor’s office,” Herndon said. “We, too, are committed to identifying root causes of district challenges so they can be addressed moving forward.”

Evers last week said he would move forward with plans to audit the district’s operations and how it’s educating students. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, has called for the Legislative Audit Bureau to conduct a review instead. He called Evers’ decision “disappointing” and said the guv’s administration “must be careful to choose an auditor with no ulterior motives or other entanglements.”

Evers has requested a waiver to expedite the process of hiring an auditor with experience auditing school and classroom settings to conduct an instructional audit of MPS.



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7 Members Of Congress DEBUNK Claim Trump Disparaged Milwaukee As A 'Horrible City'

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7 Members Of Congress DEBUNK Claim Trump Disparaged Milwaukee As A 'Horrible City'


Seven members of Congress have debunked the misleading media claim that former President Donald Trump supposedly called Milwaukee a “horrible city” during a closed-door meeting with members of the U.S. House. We round up their comments below.

“I was in the meeting. President Trump never disparaged Milwaukee. Just another Democrat hoax,” U.S. Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana wrote.

The claim first originated from a reporter for a Washington D.C. area site called Punchbowl News and ricocheted throughout the media, sending Democrats rushing to their keyboards to post their sputtering outrage on social media. The Punchbowl News reporter claimed Trump said, “Milwaukee, where we are having our convention, is a horrible city.”

The only problem is that the claim is misleading at best, completely lacking context. Members of Congress who were actually in the closed-door meeting, which was not open to the press, said that Trump did not disparage or insult Milwaukee, where the upcoming Republican National Convention will be held. Rather, they say he was expressing specific and legitimate concerns about election integrity and crime, not trashing the city as a whole.

Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung wrote on X that Trump “was talking about how terrible crime and voter fraud are.”

That didn’t stop the liberal myth from being endlessly perpetuated, with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers saying, “We know he said that. He’s the biggest con we’ve seen, and he’ll continue to do that.”

Apparently, Evers has decided to ignore the seven members of Congress who say that, actually, it’s not that simple.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other media outlets reported as a fact that Trump made the “horrible city” comment, even dropping the attribution – that the claim came from a single reporter for Punchbowl News. Other news outlets were careful to only say that Trump used the word “horrible” when discussing Milwaukee.

“That odor that’s in the air right now is the stench of desperation from Democrats who are grasping at straws to salvage Joe Biden’s failing re-elect bid. Instead of pouncing on yet another fake news hit on President Trump, Biden and Democrats ought to spend their time and energy doing something about their horrendous record on inflation, crime, and immigration– the real issues driving Americans to the polls this November, said RNC Spokesman Kush Desai.

Milwaukee has a host of problems, from recent years of record homicide numbers to a reckless driving epidemic. Milwaukee Public Schools is in a fiscal meltdown, and the city begged to raise its sales tax to prevent bankruptcy.

Here is a round-up of comments from the members of Congress who are debunking the claim:

Rep. Claudia Tenney (NY-24)

“President Trump was responding directly to my question about the lack of ELECTION INTEGRITY by election officials in certain US cities including Milwaukee. President Trump made no derogatory remarks about the great citizens and communities in those cities.

Much like New Yorkers, Wisconsinites are fed up with violent crime and rampant voter fraud.

Democrats know the voters are on our side, so they’re trying to twist President Trump’s words.”

Rep. Bryan Steil (WI-01)

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“I was in the room. President Trump did not say this. There is no better place than Wisconsin in July.”

Steil also said to WISN-TV, “He wasn’t talking about the city. He was talking about specific issues in the city. I think it was horrible that a 9-year-old boy was killed on the north side of Milwaukee yesterday. We’ve had challenges in the city as it relates to the public school system.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman (WI-06)

“Well, he said nothing that I considered an insult to Milwaukee,” Grothman told The Hill.

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“He made it clear we had to do better in Milwaukee, as we have to do in many of the big cities in the northern United States. But having been born in Milwaukee raised right north of Milwaukee, there was nothing I found offensive. I think you had, like always, some mainstream media personalities, who like to think of an excuse to drag down President Trump, and that’s not true.”

“He said nothing that I consider to be a criticism of Milwaukee, other than that we’ve got to get more of them to be voting Republican in the future.”

Grothman said Trump spoke for an hour and told The Hill that it’s too bad he couldn’t speak “without having a devious reporter mischaracterizing what you say. And that’s what happened here.”

Grothman made similar comments in an interview with Wisconsin Right Now.

He told WRN that Trump said he “felt we have to do better in big northern cities. He mentioned Milwaukee.” He said that Trump was referring to the GOP winning elections and said something to the effect that “our performance has to improve, which everyone knows. For us to win Wisconsin, we have to do better in Milwaukee and Madison.”

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He said that Trump was meeting with Republican congressmen to “give us a pep talk.” Grothman said it went “fantastically well. Everyone was enthralled. Trump is always great in private and in public.” He said that Donald Trump “said we have to do better in Milwaukee.”

Asked what specific words Trump used, and whether he used the words “horrible city,” Grothman said that it was a 70-minute speech, and he doesn’t remember every word Trump said in it but that he doesn’t believe Trump “said anything derogatory about Milwaukee,” other than referring to the problems the GOP has in winning elections there.

Rep. Tom Tiffany (WI-07)

Tiffany told ABC News that he never heard Trump use the phrase “horrible city.”

“What I heard is to make sure there’s election integrity in Milwaukee,” Tiffany told ABC. “He’s talking about the states that are in play and the states of greatest importance and Wisconsin is top of the list.”

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Rep. Derrick Van Orden (WI-03)

“Another classic example of sh*tty reporting by a Democratic Party shill pretending to be a journalist.” He said that the claim was “lies” through “omission,” and added that Trump “was specifically referring to” the “CRIME RATE in Milwaukee.”

Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05)

“Congresswoman Claudia Tenney from New York raised her hand and asked a question that related to elections and election integrity,” Fitzgerald said to WISN. “And the president began to answer by saying that there are 19 specific places throughout the nation that they’re very concerned about. And one of the places that he was concerned about was the city of Milwaukee. And so that’s that’s where the comment came from.”

Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03)

“I was in the meeting. President Trump never disparaged Milwaukee. Just another Democrat hoax.”





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Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee teenage homicide victims were best friends, classmates at St. Anthony

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Milwaukee teenage homicide victims were best friends, classmates at St. Anthony


Diego Herrera-Mejia and Isaac Rodriguez first met in middle school. Within three years, the two had become best friends. They were starting summer vacation, set to begin their sophomore year together in the fall at St. Anthony High School on Milwaukee’s south side.

Herrara-Mejia, 16, and Rodriguez, 15, both died Saturday following a shooting around 8 p.m. near on the 800 block of West Manitoba Street, between Eighth and Ninth streets. Rodriguez was pronounced dead at the scene and Herrara-Mejia died later Saturday night at a local hospital, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office.

A 14-year-old also sustained a non-fatal injury.

“They both were easy going. They both had a lot of friends,” said Rodrigo Herrara-Mejia, 22, Diego’s older brother.

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There have been 10 homicides and 28 non-fatal shootings involving those 17 and younger so far this year, according to the Milwaukee Police Department.

Rodrigo stopped by memorials for his brother and Rodriguez on Monday afternoon on his way to help other family members prepare for the funeral service. Prayer candles, balloons, photos, handwritten messages and photos were set up for each teenager.

“My brother was a good, kind soul. That’s the best way to describe him,” he said, adding his brother played on St. Anthony’s basketball team.

He said the families were close, both living in the community where the two were shot. Rodrigo said Rodriguez was often at his family’s house.

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“He was always respectful. He was a good kid,” Rodrigo said. “They were both good kids.”

Rodrigo said the two teenagers were walking with a few friends and cousins on West Manitoba Street when “some guys on a scooter” came up to them. The guys on the scooter provoked them, he said. No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information can contact Milwaukee Police at 414-935-7360, to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip through the P3 app.

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Jessica Van Egeren is a reporter with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She can be reached at jvanegeren@gannett.com.



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