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Jim Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Bucks Reporter

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
April 19, 2024 8:08 pm

Jim Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Bucks Reporter

JR Sports Brief / JR

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April 19, 2024 8:08 pm

Jim Owczarski joined JR to discuss the latest health update on Giannis and if the Bucks are title contenders this season. 

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A U D A C U I. Download it today. Jim how are you? I'm good thanks for having me.

Well thank you for taking the time to hop on. I guess the first question what's the current status of Giannis Atetokounmpo? Yeah it was interesting so today's practice Doc Rivers says Giannis you know participated in walkthrough and I think that's exactly what that is right?

Stand around on the court and kind of be you know in position where you know as you kind of skeleton around coverages, offensive sets, etc but nothing live. He hasn't done anything live like that and so it was interesting JR because earlier in the week President Peter Fagan went on a local radio show and said you know Giannis is out for sure for game one and Doc today was like well I don't know you know like uh we hope you know maybe um and if we have to throw him out there we will so I don't know I mean it feels unlikely JR that that he's going to be good to go it's less than two weeks since he injured that calf muscle on April 9th um but I would say just the fact that he's in a position to be out on the court moving around you know as opposed to you know in a boot you know in rehab all the time you know take that for what it's worth but I think it'll be a little bit before we actually see Giannis you know play in this playoff. Well Jim having said that and you talk about what we heard from Fagan early in the week and what we heard from Doc Rivers today do you think Doc Rivers was just participating in a little bit of public gamesmanship for the Pacers? You know I feel like there's a little bit of that you know um look I covered the team in the championship season when it looked like Giannis totally wrecked his knee in game game five of or game four excuse me of the Easter conference finals and then six days later he was playing game one of the finals and we know what happened there so right right and I've seen yeah cover I've been around him enough JR on a daily basis to see him play through stuff that regular basketball players can't play through so there it's a weird thing like there's there always has to be a little bit of of superman attached to Giannis when it comes to injury recovery um but that said it's still less than two weeks it's a pretty severe calf strain. Daniel Lillard suffered this exact calf strain a year ago and said it hurt like heck he used an expletive and uh it took him 15 days to come back and so we're we're still less than two weeks here I do feel maybe a little bit of gamesmanship but it's Giannis you you have to you have to allow him that because if anything over these years he's proved to be like Wolverine sometimes. Yeah and built with adamantium Jim Ozarski is here with us from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel you talk about Damian Lillard underwhelming this past season how have the two of them meshed and what's been the issue? Yeah I mean it hasn't been great that's for sure at times it's been very good and look yeah they made a coaching change for a reason after 43 games and so it's an admission by the organization that Adrian Griffin wasn't the right hire and you know they Damian and was pretty pretty candid about this after the change to Doc Rivers Jerry says hey you know our two-man game meaning me and Giannis is finally being addressed by Doc and meaning they're actually running that stuff in practice and it sounds pretty simple but obviously that what that means is under Griffin maybe it wasn't run as often or as much as it maybe needed it to be and who knows maybe there was some part of them there that thought it would just be simple that would just be easy to do and and that's just not how it works so I think some of it some of their growth as a two-man game was stunted through those first 43 games and then there's only been so much they could do after that with limited practices and look the big three of Giannis, Dame and Chris Middleton have played six full games six full games together under Doc Rivers um that's that that's just I think all of that speaks to why the Dame Giannis thing has been so herky-jerky all year but Jim we know that Doc Rivers since he's taken over he has a record of 17 and 19 he's typically not someone to hold his tongue is may tick off his players here and there if this doesn't work out in the first round or at any point what do you think is going to be the first issue that he addresses well I think it might just be the last thing I said which was hey January 29th I had the big guys together for just six games they played eight total Giannis left one early Middleton left one early I think the fact that you know no training camp with Dame and Giannis to get those two right on game one I think if and look I understand the national perception of Doc and if you were to say those things let's say they lose in the first round it's going to come across as an excuse or whatever but being here they are like that's a reason when you when you dedicate 120 million dollars or so to three players and they don't play together it leaves the rest of your team exposed I mean let's be honest like like the sixth to tenth men if you're asking them to play two to five minutes that I mean that's not great for you so yeah you're right Doc has been pretty honest he has said we haven't won enough you know they own that there have been things that haven't looked great and to his credit he has owned that and said we need to be better and find this out as coaches I guess we'll see this week JR if having the time off to prepare for Indiana helps them mitigate you know Dame's maybe hobble you know his issues as well as Giannis maybe missing some games. Jim Ozarski is here with us covers the Bucks for the Journal Sentinel out in Milwaukee speaking of the Pacers we know it's a young team and even to a certain degree Halliburton hasn't looked the same since he's come back from his hammy injury what do you expect this series to look like especially not knowing what's going on with Giannis? Yeah I mean the Pacers are going to come in with all the confidence in the world you know beating the Bucks four out of five even though it was back in the first three months of the season even though the Bucks are a different team under Doc Rivers we're going to have a different team rivers um you know the the paces are different too you know two two players who really hurt the Bucks in those five games Benedict Mather and his hurt buddy healed is gone Bruce Brown was traded Pascal Piacum is interesting because he he adds some things for the Pacers but also slows things down a little bit you know um but that said I think the Pacers are brimming with confidence in every right they should and Tyrese Halliburton was going to have a cheering section Oshkosh Wisconsin native there are people going to root for him at Pfizer for him and so yeah I think for the Bucks it's important to hold the home court be it a split or or two games they need to win a game or two at Pfizer form to sort of hold the rope for Giannis down the line there but also the Pacers look I mean Cambridge Fieldhouse is going to be rocking it they haven't had much playoff time in years down there um they're really excited it's a tough place to play especially if Tyrese has got those guys running like they have you know most of the season all things considered Jim when you look at what we've seen throughout the entire season what's currently going on with the Bucks do you do you think they're still championship contenders and and could they still peak at the right moment in time this is so interesting JR because I have to say yes because as I as we talk I don't know that Giannis isn't coming back right they haven't done that he's not ruled out for the season so if the expectation is that when he's finally cleared to play he's healthy the last time we saw Giannis healthy in a playoff is 2022 against Boston and that that Celtic team went to the finals and he he dragged the Bucks to two elimination games they were up 3-2 tied 3-3 it was one of the basketball reference it up it's one of the greatest single performances in a playoff series ever I mean I think over 300 points 100 rebounds 50 assists if that's the Giannis that's going to show up because he'll be healthy after this time off JR I mean the Pacers have nothing for them to be honest and I don't think anybody then you're talking yeah and then you're talking about a second round series between the Knicks and and 76ers that what six seven games really tough so that's a second round opponent and now you're thinking okay maybe you see Boston on the other end and they did split their series this year for whatever it's worth both teams held serve on home court um yeah and I think once you get to a conference final that's I mean you're talking about right the best of the best so yeah JR I do think there is that path for as raggedy as it's looked at times that's that's the path is is the Bucks keep this the series and then Giannis comes in healthy to to close out this first one and really maybe catch some momentum going forward hey Jim what are some issues well not issues I mean win lose draw what are the Bucks gonna have to do in the offseason when it comes down to the roster what are some points of concern and thought well well look I think it does matter the end result JR let's not kid ourselves here I mean this is what the third highest payroll in basketball in a mid-market for several seasons now right they swung bid again again on Daniel Lillard no draft capital date till 2031 you know they're spending hundreds of millions of dollars they're paying three coaches right now so I would think if this flames out before a conference final um I think ownership has every right to examine how this was built right what's the front office been doing were these the right decisions was this the right internal scouting now that said again we'll go back to six games together with your head coach so I don't think this is some sort of well it didn't work this year let's let's just you know do something else I don't think that's the case Jonathan Unkubo extended he's under contract for another handful of years it runs concurrent with Daniel Lillard um the core is aging but it is under contract um yes it looked bad JR but this team was 30 and 13 they finished for 49 wins um if those guys are healthy are we talking about a 52-53 win team here maybe the mood's different right so it's all about I think the end result for sure um but as a high salary high dollar team tax second a per team all that boring stuff it's about the edges and who are your minimums who who wants to come play with these guys that kind of thing and what does Doc Rivers do after a full summer and a full camp I mean that that's going to be a big part of this organization going forward well Jim I see the answer he's on the bench the Nasus is going to be most improved next year a sixth man it's okay I will say this look I will say this he is beloved in that locker room and and I get it he's a good vibes guy but you know sometimes that's uh that is needed a great podcast too by the way for for the Nasus hey Jim you do amazing work yourself where can people follow you and everything you got going on with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel oh I appreciate that so much we're at jsonline.com uh easy way to find all of our stuff uh about the Milwaukee Bucks about this playoff run Damian Lillard and Giannis and the Kubo injury updates it's like every day it's like football season jr it's like you know questionable soft tissue who's doing what uh yeah jsonline.com now and final question here now that you say that now I told a lie is there not concern and yes Giannis is superman is there not concern that this injury could turn into a more severe injury I mean I think initially there's always a concern I mean right they do the Achilles test in the building that night the Achilles was intact it a very specific hamstring um look he did have left hamstring issues he had left Achilles tendonitis this is a left cap straight um obviously there's a pattern there right jr so I think for sure there is a broader concern right you know big muscles soft tissue ligaments and etc um which is why I think that you know he's got to feel nothing in there you know meaning feeling great to to really be cleared and for them to feel you know the imaging must show some lack of inflammation type of thing so I think they are going to be very careful with this because look if they get to game five it's over two weeks uh if it goes beyond you're getting into that three-week period and then you can play right and and you're not risking maybe being done for the entire run as long as the rest of the guys can kind of do what they're supposed to do all right we're gonna find out soon enough that game one is on sunday hey Jim safe travels we'll catch you on down the line and see what happens with these bucks okay all right sounds good thanks for 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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-19 22:16:44 / 2024-04-19 22:23:37 / 7

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