Darnell Mayberry: The Thunder has added Mo Cheeks to its coaching staff, The Oklahoman has learned. Billy Donovan now has two former NBA head coaches on staff. With Mo Cheeks, Monty Williams and Anthony Grant, first-year Thunder coach Billy Donovan will have three former head coaches at his side.
April 22, 2018 | 12:02 pm EDT Update
The Bucks have a vision, too. Not only does it include Antetokounmpo spending his entire career in Milwaukee, but it puts him at the center of everything they’re planning for the future. “We know this is the unicorn,” team president Peter Feigin said of the team’s 23-year-old star.
They not only hope to one day hang his jersey at the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center — a sparkling new arena that cost more than a half-billion dollars to construct and is set to become the Bucks’ new home starting in 2018-19 — but they’ve made Antetokounmpo the centerpiece of almost every major decision the organization makes, as the Bucks look to make a splash on a worldwide scale. “What we call ‘The Giannis Effect’ really kind of took place 18 months ago, maybe two years ago, where you had this guy who had a skill set that was unlike anything ever,” Feigin said. “Now it’s really kind of grasping it and leveraging it and marketing it [in] a big, strong way, and marketing it to the world, which is different because he’s really attractive to the world.”
What makes Antetokounmpo’s situation unique is his status as an international superstar, one who has become the basketball-playing face of his native Greece. That status, Feigin explains, completely flipped the Bucks’ marketing strategy. “We were all about, ‘Hey, we’ve got to really focus on Milwaukee, we’ve got to focus on the state of Wisconsin. We’ve got to focus on the region of the Midwest. Then we’re going to become the national team, and then international,'” he said. “Well, overnight we became one of the top international kind of teams on every metric: on games viewed, on digital views, on video views. So how do you leverage that and take that great awareness and excitement and now funnel it down to the local level?”
[Kevin Durant] seems happy in his new surroundings, but he knows what he went through after deciding to leave the only franchise he ever knew — and he knows Antetokounmpo could face a similar difficult decision in the near future. “What I would say to him, I would tell him to play for himself,” Durant said. “Because he’s the one out there putting in the work, he’s the one out there getting up in the morning staying committed to the game. Obviously [the comments about staying put] sounds good to the fans in Milwaukee and to the ownership, because he cares so much about wanting to please them and play well for them, and I get it. But his career is about him; it’s about whatever he wants to do and however he feels is right for him. And what type of basketball does he want to play? He’s not going to stay in Milwaukee if he’s not having fun playing the game.”
Tyronn Lue said he thinks Game 4 will be the time to work Tristan Thompson into his rotation. “I can trust him,” Lue said of Thompson. “I think Tristan can also get us extra possessions offensive rebounding. He brings toughness and that’s been a problem last couple games. I think he brings toughness, rebounding, defense.”