“What Brooklyn has done without lottery picks has exposed teams like the Knicks, Lakers, Suns and Kings, who have consistently been in the lottery but failed to make the playoffs,” former Nets executive Bobby Marks said. “If I’m an owner, I’m asking, ‘Why can’t we replicate what the Nets are doing?’” “The definition of sport is to compete,” one executive for an Eastern Conference team texted. “Thus, Brooklyn’s approach is the ONLY way to approach a rebuild. The 76ers are a historical franchise that was gutted for future picks. Some may argue the approach was creative or out of the box thinking. However, the actual pick selections were not accurate when it comes to talent evaluation bypassing players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kristaps Porzingis.”
Storyline: Nets Front Office
As it turned out, the Bucks absorbed Griffin’s return without a second thought, reeling off a third consecutive blowout win despite a rare off night for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Whereas some first-round series have seen flagrant fouls, ejections and trash talk, Milwaukee has calmly taken apart Detroit at every turn. The Bucks seem to be quietly be making a statement: They mean business. “We just have such professional, intelligent players,” Brook Lopez told ESPN. “We have great depth and great trust in one another, but our focus is huge.”
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In the playoffs, that emphasis on concentration has heightened. Budenholzer has encouraged players to leave their families behind in Milwaukee during this trip or, if they do come, suggested making arrangements for them to stay separately. He also advised players to cut back on television and social media. “Bud has done a great job the whole season keeping this organization family-oriented,” Antetokounmpo told ESPN. “If coach doesn’t want us to have our family around for two games, I think everybody can be patient and lock in.”
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In Game 3, the Bucks were outscored by seven points with Antetokounmpo on the floor but ultimately outscored the Pistons by 23 points in the 20 minutes during which Antetokounmpo was off the floor. And Drummond allowed the Bucks to shoot 13-of-23 in Game 3 alone for 38 points, which is the most points that any team has scored in any game versus any one defender this postseason, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. “It’s a tough, tough team,” Drummond said of the Bucks. “We are fighting hard, but it’s an experienced team, and we’re a team that’s trying to figure it out.”
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