Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker have vaulted the Milwaukee Bucks into NBA relevancy with quality play and breathtaking highlights on a near-nightly basis. However, the talented duo apparently made an impression on the league’s best player, LeBron James, in a sub-optimal manner.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN shed light on James’ feelings last week, stating in plain terms that James was “less than impressed” with Milwaukee’s dynamic partnership.
“Privately, after the Bucks beat the pants off the Cavs 118-101 on Nov. 29, James was less than impressed with how Parker and Antetokounmpo clearly played at a higher level against the Cavs than they normally do. That made James wonder why Parker and Antetokounmpo don’t make that level of play their standard and become true professionals.”
This is, frankly, a bizarre sentiment in that it feels as if James was offended by the Bucks threatening the Cavaliers with strong on-court performance. Plus, it’s strange that LeBron would be upset that two young players would get up for a big game, something that happens all the time. Beyond that, Parker wasn’t particularly impressive (18 points on 7 -for-17 shooting) in that contest, while Antetokounmpo has been playing at an All-Star level virtually every night of the 2016-2017 season.
In another strange twist, Antetokounmpo also recently ruffled the feathers of another Eastern Conference standout, bothering John Wall of the Washington Wizards. Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic brings word from Wall himself in the aftermath of a loss to Milwaukee on Monday night:
“We felt like they whooped us badly but also you’re just up 20 or 30 points, keeping your star player in trying to get his numbers we kind of didn’t like that. We took that personal. We didn’t have (anything) written on the board. We didn’t say too much. It was a lot more chippy, a lot more trash-talking than it was in the past. As long as we got the win, we’re fine.”
While the two situations are quite different in nature, there is clearly something happening with the Milwaukee Bucks, and the team’s two stars are at the center. Anytime a team manages to ruffle LeBron’s feathers, there is probably smoke behind the scenes and this budding rivalry will be worth monitoring in the coming days and months.
(Via CSN Mid-Atlantic)