Milwaukee Bucks - The Milwaukee Bucks media day was one of the most anticipated of this year. The trade to acquire Damian Lillard brings this excitement, as well as a different level of expectation for Milwaukee. Lillard was the center of attention of media day and he shared how he opened up to the idea of Milwaukee two weeks ago, rather than his first preferred destination, Miami. Lillard said all the right things when asked about how he would fit with Giannis.
“The kind of attention that he's gonna get is only gonna make the game easier and simpler for me,” Lillard said.
Lillard also expressed that he believes the pick-and-roll with him and Antetokounmpo will be extremely hard to stop. Whether the defense has to step up and hedge Lillard or drop back and guard the roll, this duo will be hard to stop. Due to his experience moving up the totem pole in his early years, Lillard was very confident in his ability to adjust from being the number one option on offense to playing with Giannis. Antetokounmpo backed these statements but also voiced that it is not about what the Bucks believe they are as a team rather it’s about how they perform on the court.
Phoenix Suns - Even after Damian Lillard was traded to Milwaukee, the tone in Phoenix was that they were the best team in the league. While the media called the Suns a “superteam,” Devin Booker downplayed the hype of the team, stating that the Nuggets are at the top of the league. The most commonly asked question for the Phoenix stars was regarding the point guard position for the team. While Booker stated he didn’t have a problem taking the responsibility of being the team’s main guard, both he and Bradley Beal stated that “we’ll all have to be aggressive” and “we’re all gonna be leading by committee.” Beal and Booker both thought that they could be the lead guard so ball distribution will be something to monitor in the Suns’ preseason games.
New Player Resting Policy (PRP) - After the NBA implemented the new “player resting policy” the Los Angeles Clippers were questioned heavily about their opinions on the new rule. When asked about his thoughts on the new policy, Kawhi Leonard seemed completely unaware of the new policy,
“I just don’t know the policy,” Leonard said. “What is the policy?”
This could be a bad sign for the PRP. If players whom the PRP was meant to be targeted for, like Leonard, are not informed of the policy, that could mean continued load management. The reason for the PRP was for the NBA to always have their best product on the court. Leonard also stated that he has not truly load-managed since his time in Toronto, missing games due to a genuine injury since. The use of the PRP and different ways to disguise load management, like many believe Leonard has, will be an intriguing storyline to watch for this season. Outside of the Clippers, most star players were asked about this policy. The consensus agreement was that players should not sit when they are fully healthy. However, when a player is dealing with any type of injury, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Boston Celtics - The Boston Celtics made two big trades this offseason in order to acquire Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. Jayson Tatum talked a lot about these moves and how they will affect the team. Unfortunately, Holiday was not at media day, but his presence was felt. Porzingis said it was clear that Boston’s goal was to win a championship, and after trading for Holiday and himself, it assured that. Like many stars on teams who made trades, Tatum talked about how much he will miss guys like Marcus Smart and Robert Williams, but was open to playing with his new teammates. The whole organization expressed their belief that they are aiming for a championship. With a lineup as good as this one on defense, the Celtics could thrive in the playoffs.
Golden State Warriors - The biggest question for the Warriors heading into the season is whether or not Chris Paul will be part of the starting lineup. There are three possible lineups for Golden State, which have one of Kevon Looney, Andrew Wiggins, or Chris Paul coming off the bench. Paul stated that he “actually had an opportunity in ‘08 to come off the bench for the Olympic team, and that went pretty well.” Winning a gold medal coming off the bench has changed Paul’s perspective on his potential sixth man role. Paul also discussed the familiarity he has team due to going against them so many times in his career, dating back to playing against them in divisional with the Clippers. This strange familiarity was something Paul noted multiple times during his interview, citing how he and Draymond have not always gotten along but their relationship has grown since the trade.
“It’s funny how life happens,” Paul noted. “But at the end of the day, anyone who knows me knows that I’m all about winning.”
The Warriors will likely test out multiple different five-man lineups in training camp to figure out which one best suits them.