The Golden State Warriors get their first opportunity to show off their new arena to Giannis Antetokounmpo when the Milwaukee Bucks visit on Wednesday night.
Antetokounmpo isn’t scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2021 season, but that hasn’t stopped him from being linked to the five-time defending Western Conference champs, who remain in search for a replacement for Kevin Durant.
The Greek standout has given no indication he will be in the market for a relocation anytime soon, but that hasn’t stopped analysts from noting that Golden State has a contract match in high-scoring guard D’Angelo Russell, plus the prospect of having perhaps the No. 1 pick in the next draft.
So far, San Francisco’s state-of-the-art Chase Center has been quite visitor-friendly, with the guests having posted a collective 12-6 record.
The Warriors enter the game having lost two straight at home, their fourth home losing streak so far. Coming off Monday’s 111-98 defeat at Sacramento, they’ve also dropped five straight overall.
The Warriors did some roster shuffling Tuesday, waiving Marquese Chriss, who is averaging 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season.
The move was made so that that cap-strapped team could promote starting guard Damion Lee from two-way player status to a full-season contract. Lee has been the team’s fifth-leading scorer (12.3) and fourth-leading rebounder (5.3).
Lee’s two-way contract, which limited him to 45 days of service at the NBA level this season, was set to expire this week. Golden State has another rotation player — rookie guard Ky Bowman — under a two-way deal, which coach Steve Kerr noted would be extended by sending him to the G-League.
Chriss, a late signing to an NBA-minimum contract in the offseason after going unwanted by the other 29 teams, took time to thank the Warriors on his way out the door.
“Pretty much the whole summer, I was on the outside looking in,” he told reporters. “I felt like coming here was the best opportunity for me, and they put me in an opportunity to succeed from Day 1. I think just being here, it created a different narrative for myself.”
The Bucks, meanwhile, have no such roster issues, but did have a problem defending the 3-point line in a rare loss at San Antonio on Monday night.
While the Spurs were bombing in 19 of 35 3-point attempts in the 126-104 win, the Bucks attempted 10 more (45) yet made four fewer (15), a 33.3-percent accuracy rate that was brought down by Antetokounmpo’s 0-for-5.
“Sometimes you live by the three and you die by it,” Bucks guard George Hill told reporters after the loss. “Tonight we died by it, I guess. We didn’t shoot it as well as we normally shoot it. It’s no one’s fault. Everyone didn’t make shots when we needed to and it goes like that.”
The 3-point shot has been a big weapon for the Bucks this season. Heading into Tuesday’s games, they ranked fourth in the NBA in attempts per game (39.1) and makes (14.0) while shooting 35.9 percent, the 14th-best mark in the league.
The loss in the opener of a four-stop trip, which snapped a five-game winning streak, gave the Bucks a 32-6 record.
–Field Level Media