BIG Roundtable: How bored are we with the NBA Playoffs?

Every so often, we poll our iHeartMedia Wisconsin sports personalities for their opinions on Wisconsin sports issues for the BIG Roundtable. Today, we ask some questions about the NBA in relation to the Milwaukee Bucks, who bowed out in the first round of the playoffs, but have two players up for postseason awards.

Today's panel on the BIG Roundtable:

-Drew Olson, host of The Drew Olson Show in Milwaukee and co-host of The Mike Heller Show @DrewOlsonMKE
-Brian Posick, iHeart Milwaukee/Madison sports director and the voice of Wisconsin hockey @brian_posick
-Jon Arias, producer/host of The Mike Heller Show and the WBA's Large Market PBP person of the year @jonariasradio
-Armen Saryan, producer/host of The Drew Olson Show in Milwaukee @ArmenSaryan
-Mike Sullivan, WBA Hall of Fame sports broadcaster in Eau Claire @Michael10075034
-Pete Knutson, iHeart Eau Claire sports director and the WBA's Medium Market PBP person of the year @SportingPete
-Mike Pilch, sports update guy and host in Madison and Milwaukee @mdpilch
-Mitch Nelles, Milwaukee sports radio host @mitchnelles
-Joel Finkelman, Madison producer/host of BIG Sports Saturday @joelfinkelman
-Spenser Williams, Milwaukee sports producer @SpenserWilliams
-Jimmie Kaska, 23,584th in the voting for most improved broadcaster in 2007 @jimmiekaska

All photos: Getty Images

How do you feel about this year's NBA playoffs, including the conference finals?

Brian Posick: They've bored me to death. Blowout after blowout. Injuries to Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) and Isaiah Thomas (Celtics) haven't helped.

Mike Sullivan: Is the NBA still playing?

Mitch Nelles: Mostly boring. There are two great teams, so the rest of this is just nonsense.

Mike Pilch: Awful. In its nearly 70-year history, the NBA has rarely ever had much competitive balance, but this is now back to back seasons where there have been unwatchable games. This year is probably better than last year's playoffs, believe it or not, because this season actually saw some solid first round games. Even as a Cavaliers fan, I’ve had trouble watching them win, because the games are boring and over by halftime.

Joel Finkelman: One word: Woof. This year's playoffs have sucked. By the way, do you want a depressing stat that I heard on The Bill Simmons Podcast [below]? Of the last 72 teams ranked 5-8, 71 have not reached the conference finals or NBA Finals. The NBA playoffs are mostly to make franchises money until we get to the final four teams. It's really sad that a super top-heavy league has gotten to this point, but unless they limit playoff teams or institute a hard cap, nothing's going to change any time soon.

Drew Olson: It was nice to see the Bucks involved, but beyond that, the first and second rounds were bad, and the conference finals have been mostly bad. It all seems preordained that Cleveland was going to meet Golden State [in the NBA Finals]. While that should be a great series, I don’t think it’s necessarily good for the league that the playoffs are a formality for that eventuality. I have found more excitement in following the Stanley Cup playoffs than the NBA playoffs.

Jon Arias: Once the Bucks lost, my interest sank dramatically. I'm just waiting for the NBA Finals. That better be competitive, or I'll probably end up checking Twitter to see if it's close.

Jimmie Kaska: Once the Bucks were done, I lost all interest, at least until the NBA Finals. Even then, I'll probably only care around Game 5. I love basketball, but the NBA is hard to watch when a game gets out of hand.

Armen Saryan: Personally, the Bucks series was very exciting for the local intrigue, but other than that, it's been very uninteresting. I found myself hoping the Celtics would win just to get a grain of intrigue. Just a seed! That's bad. This has not been an exciting playoffs, and the NBA has a problem with it going forward.

Spenser Williams: After the Bucks were eliminated, I haven't been paying much attention.

Having seen how the Cavaliers and Warriors have dispatched their opponents this postseason, how far along are the Milwaukee Bucks to becoming a true contender, and what do they need to do yet to get there?

Drew Olson: They need another star alongside Giannis. They need better outside shooting, a better point guard, and more experience overall. Ideally, they need Thon Maker to make strides like Giannis did.

Pete Knutson: They need some star players. The Warriors and Cavaliers are steamrolling everyone, and you look at their big three or four and no one else comes close to that kind of talent. Start with Giannis, and add two ridiculously good players, and you’re good to go. Unfortunately, that’s the model to win an NBA title now. Outside of the Spurs in recent years, there really hasn’t been a team without a big three that’s won in quite some time. They need to invest and figure out a way to lure top level talent to play with Giannis.

Mike Pilch: You need so much to go right and fall into your lap to be a title contender in the NBA. You need Giannis to get better in the next two years, especially with his jump shot, and get better as a do-everything guy. And, they need at least one other high caliber star to help. Even if Jabari Parker can come back from another ACL injury and become a good helper for Giannis, they need another All-NBA level player to have a shot at a title.

Jimmie Kaska: There's still a few things that need to happen. Milwaukee needs to add one more star, someone reliably good to great on a nightly basis. That's not coming out of the NBA Draft this year, and that's not coming in free agency either. (Not to say they draft someone who develops to that point, but it won't be an instant impact). The Bucks also need to be patient. Their main core is still only in their early twenties, so spending $10 million per year on role players isn't ideal. Lastly, they have to trust the development of Giannis, Middleton, Maker, Brogdon, Jabari, and others. If those players don't get any better, or even regress, this spark of contention will go out in a very disappointing poof.

Mitch Nelles: The Bucks are cute, but that’s it. Need another superstar.

Brian Posick: I think the Bucks will contend for home court in the first round next season as long as they stay healthy, Jabari Parker comes back from his injury, and they add an outside shooter or three. Can't live by the three-ball, but you can die by it if you don't have it.

Armen Saryan: I think they are still a few years and levels away. You can't rush a natural improvement process. For most young teams that became champions, it took time to grow and constantly attack the top of the mountain. The Bucks probably need another legit star to emerge somewhere (whether it be Thon or somewhere else) and get more shooters. Other than that, they need to maintain their track of improvement and keep chopping wood.

Jon Arias: The Bucks need Jabari. The Bucks also need shooters. They're close, but they need a closer that can put away games.

Spenser Williams: Not sure the Bucks are on that second tier quite yet, but they are not far off. They just need to keep developing as a unit.

Joel Finkelman: The Bucks are definitely an 'also ran'. Now, there have been some 'also ran' candidates in history who have gone on to be super-successful, so it isn't a death sentence.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a finalist for the NBA's Most Improved Player award. He's already made the All-NBA Second Team. The other finalists are Nikola Jokic and Rudy Gobert. Would it be a big deal if Giannis took home this particular award?

Jimmie Kaska: Can you name any of the past five winners of the MIP? How about any past winners of the MIP, ever? Exactly.

Mike Sullivan: Can he buy a vowel with it?

Mitch Nelles: Nope. Don’t care.

Pete Knutson: Only in the sense that it validates what people already think. Giannis doesn’t need to win the award to let everyone know how good of a player he is. He’s already done that.

Drew Olson: I don’t think anybody particularly relishes being named “most improved” anything, but the national recognition will be nice for the Bucks, and it’s a tag they can throw on their media guide.

Brian Posick: I wouldn't call it a big deal. From what we all saw, he deserves it.

Jon Arias: It would be cool, but we all know how much better he's gotten. Doesn't matter unless he continues to do the things he's done and even get better.

Spenser Williams: Not a big deal if Giannis wins, but it would be cool.

Joel Finkelman: In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't mean a thing. In my mind though, it would certainly be one of the final pieces of 'put the league on notice' that could be left for the Greek Freak. The question that should be asked is whether or not he will be in contention for another MIP in his career. Everyone knows Giannis is amazing, but everyone also knows he has one more ceiling to break through.

Armen Saryan: Individual awards won't help the Bucks win any games next year, but individual awards help to validate and reward a year's worth of efforts down the road. In Milwaukee, we seem to especially be proud of such accomplishments because it feels like an indication we overcame the politics of sexier, bigger, markets. So I would like to see it.

Mike Pilch: Yes. Milwaukee has been basketball hungry, and any award is good news. It also brings more attention to the franchise, and Giannis himself.

Malcolm Brodgon is a finalist for NBA Rookie of the Year along with the 76ers duo of Dario Saric and Joel Embiid. Is it important if Brogdon wins this award?

Drew Olson: It’s good for marketing purposes, but I don’t think many fans pay a great deal of attention. My favorite non-Giannis highlight of the year was his dunk over LeBron James [above]. He should win an award just for that.

Brian Posick: I think it would be a feather in the Bucks' cap, but it's not imperative. What's important is that they seemingly found their point guard of the present and future.

Jon Arias: It would be cool, but once again awards don't win games. It would be great to see a four-year college player get recognition for his game at the next level, though.

Armen Saryan: Like I said before, I don't think it's important in terms of team success down the road. But, he deserves it.

Mike Pilch: Yes. For the same reasons it’s a big deal if Giannis won Most Improved Player. The more attention the Bucks get the better. They rarely have gotten any in state, so if they are in the news for awards, that is only a good thing.

Joel Finkelman: This iteration of the Bucks front office has been on a bit of a roll. I can't speak for watching Saric too much, but if it was up to me, it would only be between him and Brogdon (Embiid only played in 31 games).

Spenser Williams: I'm definitely hoping Brogdon wins, and he should. If he does win, it just solidifies that future is bright for the Bucks.

Jimmie Kaska: I'm actually way more pumped about this one. If the Bucks pulled one of the top few players from this scrap heap of a draft at #37, you have to consider that a huge win. Embiid winning would be a joke since he only played 31 games, and Saric couldn't out-play former Buck Ersan Ilyasova, while Brogdon started playoff games for the Bucks at a position that they spent heavily to try to improve in the offseason with Matthew Dellavedova.

Mitch Nelles: This is a bigger deal, because it shows the Bucks are a smart organization, and got the steal of the draft.

Pete Knutson: It would be pretty unexpected for a second rounder in Brogdon to take home that award and maybe show people around the league that some scouting reports, combines, etc. can not always get things accurate. It’s important for the way that GMs and talent scouts assess their work, less important for the Bucks as a franchise.

Missed any of our past BIG Roundtables? Read more here:

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