Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, Bucks forwards (⬆️ UP)
At the time of the last Midweek Stock Report, the Bucks were down 3-2 in their series to the Brooklyn Nets. You know what happened in the next two games. A big reason Milwaukee moved past Brooklyn was because of, well, their big two – Antetokounmpo and Middleton, the two longest-tenured Bucks. In those final two games all Giannis did was average 35.0 points on 61.4% shooting to go with 15.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Middleton averaged 30.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 5.0 steals, not to mention hitting the eventual game-winning shot in overtime of Game 7. Middleton also became the first player (since at least 1976, when steals were officially documented) to have 20+ points, 10+ rebounds, 5+ assists and 5+ steals in consecutive playoff games. In Game 6 he became the first player to have 30-10-5-5-5 and five made 3s in a playoff game. In the big games, Milwaukee’s big two stepped up – big time.
Willy Adames, Brewers shortstop (⬆️ UP)
We outlined Adames’ season and game this past Saturday here, but the bottom line is he just keeps producing at the plate. This past week he went 9-for-25 (.360) with five doubles and a home run (.680 slugging percentage). Adames came to Milwaukee with the reputation as a streaky hitter. So far, the arrow has only been pointing up.
Kolten Wong, Brewers second baseman (⬆️ UP)
Wong returned from the injured list this week after missing two weeks of action. He picked up right where he left off. Wong went 7-for-20 (.350) with a double and pair of home runs, all coming in the last three games. He started four games this past week and had a hit in all four, including one with three hits and other with two. Welcome back, Kolten!
Jackie Bradley Jr., Brewers outfielder (⬇️ DOWN)
With Lorenzo Cain still out, Bradley continues to start in center field. Unlike Adames and Wong, Bradley can’t get his bat going this season. How bad has it been? He went 3-for-19 this week (.158) and it raised his season batting average. That’s an ouch. A saving grace is he’s still playing quality defense. His 0.6 defensive WAR is tops on the team.
Trevor Richards, Brewers relief pitcher (⬆️ UP)
Perhaps forgotten in the Adames deal was that Milwaukee acquired Richards as well. He’s been more than solid out of the bullpen. This past week he tossed five scoreless innings and on the season with the Brewers has a 2.35 ERA, 1.174 WHIP and 11.2 K/9 over 15 1/3 innings. He’s also under team control until 2025. A nice addition who shouldn’t be overlooked.
Greg Gard, Wisconsin basketball coach (⬇️ DOWN)
The whole story about Gard and the meeting with the team’s seniors which occurred this past season is clearly not a good look for the head coach, despite Wisconsin’s rush to issue press statements to the contrary. Gard might say he has his players’ backs, but there hasn’t (yet) been a rush to defend that from former players (one senior, Brad Davison is returning to the team for next season, however). One thing we’re pretty sure of: Schools going after the same players as Wisconsin might just bring this up during recruitment. How Gard handles that portion of things will be more important than this sliver of the news cycle.
Righteous indignation reporters (⬇️ DOWN)
The whole story about Gard and the meeting and the audio tape which set off the fire sure did bring a lot of righteous indignation from people. We get why players, coaches, front office people on any team in any sport would want private conversations to stay private. There’s a reason why media access continues to get more limited every year. But reporters? Fans? Getting a peek behind the curtain and finding out how the sausage is made is exactly what everyone should want. Reporters suddenly tsk, tsk-ing this happening due to a leak of an audio conversation of a private conversation – please. These same reporters use anonymous sources (which, by the way, we’re fine with using) to get information about … private conversations. It’s not the first time this has happened in the history of sport. Bob Knight had both audio and video released over some of his shenanigans in the locker room and practice floor. Rutgers fired Mike Rice in 2013 over a video in which he was caught abusing players during practice. And if private conversations and things that go behind the scenes were so sacrosanct, where would we be without Ball Four, a book Jim Bouton got blacklisted by MLB for writing? Not a world I’d want to live in. Finally, also spare me the “poor players” part of it, too. If all reporters will do is write about the game action and good news, well, go write for a team website. What this needs is context, not finger wagging. This was only a snippet of a longer conversation – maybe find out what happened in the missing two hours. Or how things worked out after the meeting between Gard and his players. You know, reporting. Keep the righteous indignation to yourself.