All-Star Analysts

At the Buzzer: Overlooked Bucks, struggling Lakers, and food combos

Published December 1, 2021, 5:30 PMGabe Norwood, Jett Manuel, Bea Daez-Fabros

NBA.com Philippines’ All-Star Analysts talk about the under-the-radar Bucks, how to fix the Lakers, food hack/combo recos, and more!

Are the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks being overlooked this early in the season?

Bea Daez: It definitely wasn’t the start we were expecting from the Bucks with injuries hitting key starters like Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez. It’s easy to overlook them versus the likes of the Suns and their 16-game winning streak or Warriors and their 18-2 win-loss record, but don’t count the Bucks out because they have climbed up the standings slowly. They’re now on a seven-game winning streak and are tied in third place in the East with their core slowly becoming intact again. So don’t count them out just yet! They’ll peak at the right time just like last season.

Jett Manuel: Yes the Bucks are being overlooked. The first reason is because there’s not a lot of media attention on the Bucks. It’s not that they look for it, but compared to the Lakers, Bulls, Heat, or Warriors, I think the attention and focus are still on those teams. But the Bucks are playing amazing – they’re fifth in the East and tied with the Heat. It’s also because people are overlooking the fact that they didn’t add anyone. All the teams with new players, I think that’s where everyone is looking at. The Bucks did not add any key superstars to their team but they’re the defending champs, they don’t need to add anybody. Slowly, I think they’re looking like the championship team that they were last season. 

Gabe Norwood: The Milwaukee Bucks seem to be under the radar right now. I’m guessing this is because of the “slow” start and injuries to start the season.

If you had just two coaching moves to ‘fix’ the Los Angeles Lakers, what would those moves be?

Bea: First on the list would be their defense. They are second-worst in the league in terms of defensive rating. A team of All-Stars is not an exception to playing good defense. The second would be making Russell Westbrook more of a facilitator and have him take fewer shots. He has Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis with him on the court. He averages almost a triple-double but shoots 25 percent from 3.

Jett: My first move is I’ll probably have Westbrook come off the bench. I think stats show that the pace of play is a lot different with LeBron and Westbrook playing together but there’s no overwhelming stat that proves that they suck if they’re both on the floor. But I’d still put Westbrook on the bench and start either Wayne Ellington or Malik Monk to add 3-point shooting on the floor. But to end the game, it’s still going to be Westbrook with LeBron. I think just to start the game and to get LeBron going, and when LeBron rests, Westbrook is there to provide an instant punch. 

My second move is to set up a series of LeBron and Westbrook pick-and-rolls. A lot. I see it like Steph-Curry-and-Draymond-Green or James-Harden-and-Kevin-Durant type of elite pick-and-rolls. And then you have Anthony Davis underneath the basket. I think that would work instead of what they’re doing now which is a lot of “give the ball to Westbrook then iso” or “give the ball to LeBron then iso”. I think creating action for both superstars would be beneficial. That’s what I do on 2K! So based on my 2K experience, it’ll work. Hahaha!

Gabe: My two moves would be: 1. Get healthy and 2. Remain calm. We've seen this story before with the Lakers and teams that LeBron James has been on before.

How are the Miami Heat winning? 

Bea: The Heat are winning because they have so many offensive options and nobody is trying to be the superstar. They don’t care who scores, for as long as they win. Everyone has the green light to shoot and it makes them more deadly. Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo have taken turns in leading the Heat.

Jett: I think they’re playing well because their less experienced players are playing bigger roles now. You have Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, and PJ Tucker, but Tyler Herro coming off the bench and coming off his last season and then exploding this year, that’s a huge plus for Miami. The same goes for Dewayne Dedmon, a steady center behind Bam, playing great for coach Erik Spoelstra. Next is elite defense. They’re No. 3 in the league for points allowed (103.3) and I didn’t expect anything else. I actually expected them to be in the top two. Bam, PJ, Kyle, and Jimmy – you know those four play elite defense. So even if their 3-point shooting isn’t as good, I think their defense is keeping them alive. 

Gabe: Heat Culture. They seem to just chip away at times and get consistent contributions from everyone who steps onto the court.

Isaiah Thomas can definitely still ball especially with the way he's playing now with Team USA. Which NBA team should sign him today?

Bea: I think Isaiah Thomas would be a good backup point guard to Kyle Lowry on the Heat! He can fit well in the Miami winning culture they are trying to embody. He can be that spark plug and provide depth from the bench.

Jett: Lakers! What? Surprise, surprise! IT is a playmaker, I think he’s a solid second-unit PG. You now have the option of an immediate scorer. Not a perfect fit, I understand that, but the Lakers are in trouble right now and IT is a talent who’s available. I think he’ll be a good fit for them. 

The next team would be the 76ers. I think they need to fill the point guard void. Ben Simmons is out. They have Tyrese Maxey but I think they need someone with a little more experience who knows the game from a leadership standpoint. You have instant offense and less pressure on Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. 

Another team would be the Nets. I’d love for him to sign with Brooklyn. I think he can provide a little more stability at the point guard position off the bench. James Harden is your main point guard, but you’d have someone else who can handle the ball and be a leader with more experience for Coach Steve Nash.

Gabe: IT is a hooper, but with so many great guards out there, it's tough to say what would be the best fit for him. Given the right situation though, he could definitely help a squad.

What's a childhood food hack/combo you'd recommend to Giannis Antetokounmpo? 

Bea: Open the Oreo, lick the cream, and then eat it first before the cookie! 

Jett: Pandesal and coffee! Dip that bread in coffee... boom! Or milk powder and rice. Or 3-in-1 coffee and rice, then make soup out of it. I've tried it and, as a Pinoy, I would recommend it to Giannis. 

Gabe: Not sure if this is common. So everyone has heard of a PB & J sandwich, but have you had a PB & H? It’s a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Just slightly toast the bread and thank me later.