Nate The Elate
With a smirk and a microphone and perhaps some sweat on his palms, Nate Wolters started the day with verve.
That was the second year point guard’s lighthearted reply to Jim Paschke asking if he likes Media Day.
And so the first thing we learned on Media Day was more of a reminder of something we already knew.
It is not Player Day. Every other day on the calendar is Player Day. For good reason. Once the season starts, people like me walk into locker rooms to observe and ask questions and we become short or shorter or shortest. For one day, on Media Day, this awkwardness is transferred to players. These heroes – who routinely make basketball plays that we could never ever make even once – were probably rehearsing their answers to questions the night before. I couldn't make it to this Media Day, but I wish that I did. Jason Kidd likened it to the first day of school.
And it is endearing and entertaining, to see the human side. Because we cheer for players and we cheer for players who are people… really.
Jabari’s Spirit Animal: Turtle
Direct from the Reddit AMA…
DDankP: What would be your spirit animal?
Jabari: Probably a turtle. I love turtles.
Now it is impossible to imagine that Jabari Parker could have answered anything other than turtle.
Also enjoyable: Parker said that he would be a history teacher if he was not a basketball player.
Jerryd Bayless Gave John Henson ≈ 15 Pounds
Something like that.
Meanwhile, Jerryd Bayless didn’t get the headlines for professing to have trimmed down to his college days weight of 199 pounds, but for someone who came into the league as one of the fiercest rim-attacking players in the NBA (he ranked among the league leaders in free throw attempts per minute by his second year)… this could be a positive development.
Chris Wright is your new source for Giannis Stories
If he has this many Giannis stories in eight games for the Bucks, just think what Chris Wright could tell us throughout a full 82 games.
Via the Reddit AMA.
shopeIV: best Giannis story?
Chris Wright: I got a couple…I gotta think…so one day he didn’t win one-on-one in workout and he won one or two and was getting made cuz we were calling him a rookie. Next day, he won six one-on-ones and started running around and circles screaming “six! Six! That’s what I do!” Then walked out the gym – didn’t see him for days.
Chris W: Oh and when I first met him, he introduced himself as the Greek Freek. Didn’t even tell me his name.
Brandon Knight: Brandon Knight is a Point Guard
Brandon Knight is a point guard. He made massive strides as a point guard last season at age 22, setting career-bests in field goal percentage, points per minute, assists per minute, and assist-to-turnover ratio… to name a few. If he improves in all of those areas again this season while playing the one, he may not need to answer the position question next year at Media Day.
But at this Media Day he was answering emphatically and repeatedly: “I am a point guard.”
Everyone Loves FIFA and Eating on the East Side
canipaybycheck: What’s a surprising fact about you?
Damien: Wow… Surprising fact about me? Well, I am the best FIFA player on the team.
Cut to 59:53 of the video of the full Media Day video to see Damien Inglis star as the most modest NBA player in the world.
But everything changes when it comes to FIFA. Inglis asserted that he is the best FIFA player on the team in the Reddit AMA.
Apparently there is also a rivalry between John Henson and Kendall Marshall, while Khris Middleton said that he played FIFA “pretty much all day” when asked what he did this offseason for fun (other than play basketball).
Meanwhile, everyone who chatted about eating out in Milwaukee, chatted about eating out on the East Side of Milwaukee. (John Henson: Café Hollander. Nate Wolters: Simple Café. Jerryd Bayless: Beans & Barley.)
Reminder: Zaza Pachulia played with Toni Kukoc on Bucks, loved playing with Toni Kukoc on Bucks
The best type of person is the type of person who brings up Toni Kukoc voluntarily in conversation. Zaza Pachulia is one of these people.
From the full Media Day video:
“Toni Kukoc’s nickname was The Waiter, because every game he was dishing the assists. Every game I had four to six points from his passes. It was great.”
As you may recall, Pachulia played as a 20-year-old with the 36-year-old Kukoc on the 2002-03 Bucks. As you also may recall, the 36 year-old Kukoc was the best passer on that team.
Pachulia spoke fondly of Kukoc and other veterans helping him along when he was new to the league, and said he was privileged and honored to serve as a mentor to the younger Bucks now.
Speaking of Giannis, we all know by now that Jason Kidd is interested in experimenting with Giannis at point guard this season, just as he did in Summer League. Giannis said that it is going to be hard. He said that the first impression he gives you is not that he is a point guard. He said that he will try his best. He was very honest, seemed excited to relish the opportunity, but also understood (as we all should), that it won’t always be so smooth.
Ringing the Ship’s Bell
As a rookie, Brandon Knight shot a very encouraging 38.0 percent on threes, but that number fell in each of the past two seasons, to 32.5 percent last season. Virtually all of his other numbers have been improving. Getting back to rookie-level accuracy on threes would be major boost to his offensive efficiency.
Here is the part where we offer a fun little anecdote that we may bring back up if Knight transforms into a 3-point ace this season (we probably won’t bring this up if he doesn’t).
“I don’t want to give anything away… But I’m looking right at a ship’s bell over on the wall. What is that about?”
“That is something we brought from Dallas. As a player, we shot a lot of threes. And it was a very competitive drill. But if you made 20 out of 25, you got to ring the bell. It’s not a secret. It is in Portland, and it’s in a couple other places. Stotts took it with him from Dallas. And you look at Portland, they shot the three extremely well. So hopefully that translates to us shooting more threes, but also making more threes. That would be good.”
“I think B Knight is the one that is ringing it the most so far. He shoots a 20 or higher clip every time.”