MILWAUKEE — The NBA’s elite teams almost always have a singular, defining trait.Golden State gives opposing teams headaches due to its ridiculous outside shooting. Cleveland’s players, as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving illustrated during the Finals, can get almost any shot they want in one-on-one matchups. The San Antonio Spurs, the gold standard for team play and consistency, have long drawn praise for their lack of egos.Then there are the 18-16 Milwaukee Bucks, who, bizarre as it sounds, are quietly building a case for inclusion onto that short list of the league’s best teams.As of Thursday, Milwaukee was just two games ahead of the ninth-place Washington Wizards and far from a lock to reach the playoffs. But for most of the season the Bucks have ranked among the league’s top-10 teams in both offensive and defensive efficiency, generally a loose prerequisite for a team to be a title contender. (Sixteen of the past 20 NBA champions, including each of the past six, finished in the top-10 in both categories. By contrast, no team with that profile has missed the playoffs since the 1974-75 season, when three teams did it in an 18-team league, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group.)Unlike with the Warriors, Cavs or Spurs, the average fan might struggle to identify a particular trait about the Bucks, aside from their star player having a name that’s challenging to pronounce.But spend a little time watching the Bucks and it becomes clear that Milwaukee’s defining characteristic is its weirdness. Its roster full of interchangeable, Stretch Armstrong-types goes outside the bounds of the NBA’s traditional parameters of play at both ends.Still, Milwaukee is far from the first team to lean on its length and athleticism. “Positionless basketball” has been in vogue for a while now.In recent years, the Big Three in Miami was unusually aggressive with how it tasked Chris Bosh with defending pick-and-rolls. The Brooklyn Nets turned their 2013-14 season around (and did so under current Bucks coach Jason Kidd) after injuries forced them to downsize to a quicker small-ball lineup that could switch assignments and jump passing lanes. And of course the Warriors can make life miserable for opposing offenses and impossible for opposing defenses with their range and versatility, particularly when they opt to use their Megadeath Lineup, with Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.No one is going to mistake these Bucks with the Warriors any time soon, or with the Cavs or Spurs, for that matter. But the Bucks’ combination of uncommon youth, length and style of play makes Milwaukee uniquely equipped to deal with teams that throw more traditionally constituted opponents into disarray. In other words, teams like Golden State.The formula starts with the Bucks’ unusual youth and length at multiple positions. In Giannis Antetokounmpo (22 years old), Jabari Parker (21), Tony Snell (25) and John Henson (26), Milwaukee trots out four starters who are all 26 or under, and boast at least a 6-11 wingspan, making them one of the youngest1The Bucks are the NBA’s sixth-youngest team when you weight players’ age by minutes played, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. and longest teams in the NBA. The Bucks use their length and athleticism to play a more aggressive, switch-heavy brand of defense than most teams.They often gamble by overloading one side of the floor and using two players to blitz a pick-and-roll ball-handler, trusting that they’ll have enough back-end quickness to snap back into position before opposing players can capitalize by finding the open man for a clean look. (Milwaukee also sends aggressive help when teams dump the ball onto the block, explaining why the Bucks own the stingiest post-up defense in basketball, according to Synergy Sports.)So many interchangeable defensive parts moving, switching and rotating in harmony has a suffocating effect on an offense. Milwaukee’s defense has forced opposing offenses to throw more passes than all but eight teams this season after leading the league in the stat the past two years, according to an analysis run by SportVU, and has pressed opposing clubs into the last four seconds of the shot clock — where offensive efficiency plummets due to rushed shots — more often than any other defense this season, per Synergy.“Against them, you have to go in understanding that it may take several extra passes or multiple paint touches” in order to find a good shot, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan said ahead of a recent game against Milwaukee. “What appears to be an open shot often turns out to be a contested shot.”The stat sheet seems to agree with Donovan. While the Bucks give up the fourth-most 3-point attempts per game — generally a bad sign for a defense — Milwaukee also contests 87 percent of opponents’ threes, the highest percentage in the league. As a result, it holds foes to 34.6 percent from 3-point range, tied for the NBA’s fourth-lowest mark. In other words, lots of attempts are not quite as open as they seem.“Shooting is obviously huge,” said Henson, the Bucks’ best defensive big man. “But probably the best things to counter the shooting in today’s game are interchangeability and length. And we’ve taken the idea of building around length to another level.”That’s a key trait in the NBA today. The commitment to flustering ball-handlers and ability to close out shooters help neutralize the floor spacing that teams like the Cavs and Warriors usually take advantage of.While the Bucks have targeted length as a market inefficiency, that length comes at a cost.For one, the Bucks’ lengthy, versatile athletes aren’t as gifted from long range. Last season, Milwaukee attempted the fewest threes in the league and made just 34.5 percent of them, below league average. (This is a big reason the Warriors are so special: They combine many of the same elements that make the Bucks unique with all that outside shooting.)But this season the offense has increased its number of 3-point attempts per game by a whopping 53.5 percent while also increasing its conversion rate, led in part by Parker, who’s hit 39 percent of his triples while taking more than six times as many threes per game as last season.“[Coach Kidd] told me [two years ago] that I was too reliant on my jumper and challenged me to work on my inside game first, then take what the defense was giving me on the outside,” Parker said in an interview, explaining that he and Antetokounmpo were essentially banned from taking threes when Kidd first got the job. But Parker said they’ve since been given the green light to fire away. (That inside-out mindset is an interesting one, given that Kidd himself developed into a much better shooter as his own career progressed.)In any case, Parker and the Bucks are still working through a handful of issues. The former Duke star has improved as a defender, but still gets beaten off the dribble far too frequently on the wing, leaving the team vulnerable at the rim at times. And despite the club’s ability to get out to shooters quickly, it’s not ideal that the Bucks surrender the highest number of corner threes in the league, since those shots are among the most valuable in basketball.And even after Antetokounmpo’s heroic last-second shot to beat the Knicks on Wednesday, Milwaukee’s stats in crunchtime (when the score is within 5 points in the last five minutes or overtime) are among the worst in the NBA.But things are beginning to come together. The awkward fit with scoring big Greg Monroe has been alleviated with a move to the bench, where his limited rim protection isn’t as much of a liability. After struggling to score last season, Milwaukee has found success in having Antetokounmpo bring the ball up the floor himself after grabbing a board instead of having to look for a teammate. (The Bucks rank fifth in fastbreak points, despite ranking 20th in possessions per game; impressive given that the four teams ahead of them in transition scoring — Golden State, Phoenix, Oklahoma City and Houston — rank among the top-10 in pace.)And the club could even get injured swingman Khris Middleton back toward the end of the season; potentially a big lift for the Bucks, given that he was arguably their best player at times the past few seasons.The teamwide developments, though, have been mere icing on the cake, as no one in the organization saw Antetokounmpo producing a season anywhere near this impactful so soon.His defense, particularly as an occasional rim protector, has been a revelation. Antetokounmpo, despite being a wing player, is near the top of the defensive leaderboards among players who defend at least four close-range shots per game, according to SportVU. But understandably, his offense draws the lion’s share of the attention, both because of his unconventional point-guard play and the gaudy numbers he’s posted.He currently owns career-high marks in total-shooting, rebounding, assist, block and steal percentage — and a career-low turnover percentage — all while handling the ball more and using a much greater share of Milwaukee’s possessions in his fourth season.Even with his rapid ascension in mind, it might still seem wild to consider Milwaukee among the NBA’s best. But give it time. If the young Bucks continue on their current trajectory, and their gambles on length and versatility continue paying off, the thought may not seem so far-fetched this time next year.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNassau, Bahamas – November 28, 2017 – Civil Servants wants government to relax its policy on how much of their salary can be assigned to lending institutions; it is currently set at 75% and Marlon Johnson, at the Ministry of Finance says the measure is in place so that government workers do not increasingly become the working poor.Johnson told media he is inundated with requests waive the 25% and that a recent memorandum to Permanent Secretaries of the various ministries was designed to reinforce the policy and to state that it would only be bypassed for medical emergencies. Johnson said when the measure was established, some government workers were taking home less than $50 a month.The acting Financial Secretary says this is a problem, “Many Bahamians have fallen into the so-called ‘debt trap’, where the ‘take home’ portion of their salaries is minimal because so much has already been committed to salary deductions that service loan payments to banks and other lenders.This leaves them unable to afford basic, every day necessities essential for living, such as food and water, and the payment of utility bills” The 75 per cent ‘limit’, “means that at a minimum your non-committed salary should be at least 25 per cent of your gross earnings”, had been in place for “at least 20 years” across successive administrations. Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp
Dan Cohen AUTHOR The Air Force will need to spend up to $500 million at Eielson Air Force Base over the next five years to prepare the installation to host two squadrons of F-35A Lightning IIs.Eielson will need new hangars, munitions igloos and recreational facilities, along with an upgraded south entrance, following the Air Force’s decision earlier this week to base its first operational overseas F-35As at the installation located 26 miles south of Fairbanks.Officials are planning 46 construction, remodeling and demolition projects between this fall and the scheduled arrival of the first jets in 2020, reported the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.About $37 million in construction is planned for this year, followed by $296 million in projects in 2017, said 354th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Mike Winkler. The next year also figures to be busy, with an estimated $200 million in planned construction, Winkler said.Adding two squadrons of the Air Force’s most advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft would boost Eielson’s population to 7,751, a gain of 1,563 military and civilian personnel. To accommodate the extra airmen and their families, other installation services may need to be expanded as well.A larger base exchange, for example, may be necessary, Winkler said. He also broached the possibility of opening a craft brewery on the installation.“Regardless of whether it ends up being a brewery or something else, with the additional population here, we’re going to be looking to bring other quality-of-life initiatives down here,” he said.Construction on the first project, a six-bay flight simulator building, is expected to begin in September, according to the story.
Comments Black Widow takes out a room of men — while tied to a chair. Gamora wins an electric sword fight with her sister Nebula. Okoye points a spear at her own husband after he charges her down on a rhino. The women of Marvel, needless to say, are fearless. CBS Interactive, which CNET is part of, is celebrating the March 8 release of Captain Marvel, and all of International Women’s Month, by highlighting the powerful women of Marvel movies and shows. We’re focusing not only on the incredible women of the MCU, but also on Marvel comics and their impact on pop culture. Multiple CBS sites have come together to produce this special report on the women of the Marvel universe. CNET has a mega-bracket showdown of powerful women; Entertainment Tonight is profiling prominent women behind and in front of the camera; and TV Guide will look ahead at the future of Marvel’s strong characters on the small screen. Highlighting the scope of talented women who work at CBS Interactive, women throughout the company wrote, edited and produced every article, gallery and video in this collection — from our long-running compendium of Marvel movies to our roundtable of women talking about more strong ladies and our Q&A with Danai Gurira, Black Panther’s General Okoye, for CNET Magazine. Women of the MCU making magic Captain Marvel may be taking the lead right now, but many other women have been key to making magic happen in the Marvel universe. CNET’s Patricia Puentes talked to costume designer Ruth E. Carter, who just won an Oscar for costume design for Black Panther. Entertainment Tonight looks at the women of Wakanda, aka all the women behind Black Panther, making Oscar history. And there’ll be much, much more Marvel flying your way. More on iDaily: Can you name all 25 of these Marvel women? Tags Now playing: Watch this: How to watch every Marvel Cinematic Universe film in the right order 3:04 Powerful women of the Marvel universe Captain Marvel sets the stage Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, the 21st MCU movie now open around the world. For anyone unfamiliar with Captain Marvel’s backstory, check out GameSpot’s comic book history of Captain Marvel. CNET’s Patricia Puentes called the film “two hours of pure female empowerment packaged with all the visual power you’d expect from a Marvel blockbuster.”Additionally, Entertainment Tonight’s Meredith B. Kile reviewed Captain Marvel, noting that its “origin-story-in-reverse structure allows Captain Marvel to do away with many of the more overdone origin story tropes.” As the film opens, GameSpot will feature more explainers, spoilers, and breakdowns of how Captain Marvel (and those post-credits scenes!) will tie into Avengers: Endgame. More from GameSpot: How the Skrulls change everything and Why everyone’s talking about Goose the cat 4 Becoming a Marvel woman through cosplay, and getting paid for it 15 Photos 26 Photos Share your voice International Women’s Month The first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States all the way back in 1909, many years before we’d celebrate Women’s History Month. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 to be National Women’s History Week, and by 1987, Congress had passed a statute designating March as Women’s History Month. We continue to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. Did we mention one or 100 times that’s the day Captain Marvel, the first female-led film in the entire MCU, comes out? Since the ’90s, the United Nations has focused on an annual theme for International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.” That’s why it feels appropriate for us to look to the women of Marvel who’ve been working in innovative ways, both on screen and off screen, to get more seats at the franchise’s proverbial table. More on Entertainment Tonight: Women of Wakanda: The Female Forces Behind ‘Black Panther’s Historic Oscar Push TV and Movies Women of Marvel Captain Marvel Marvel