Jerryd Bayless is the unlucky subject of my scrutiny today. Somehow both the epitome of average and a perplexing enigma (especially considering his role on the Bucks), prepare to see and comprehend Bayless in previously unexplored ways.
Movie spoilers below.
Movie Character: Gill
Movie: Finding Nemo
Quote: “All drains lead to the ocean, kid.”
Let me start off by saying this comparison isn’t as fishy as it sounds. I’m sorry.
Gill, the seasoned leader of the inept Tank Gang, represents both the wisdom and composure that Jerryd Bayless holds on a young and naïve Milwaukee Bucks team. Imprisoned in an isolated fish tank acting as décor in Dr. Sherman’s dental office, Gill’s sole goal is to reach the free ocean. Understanding that he cannot accomplish this feat alone, he recruits and welcomes the help of his fellow captives. Now, picturing the coveted ocean as an NBA championship ring (or an Eastern Conference championship… or a Central Division banner… or even just a goddamn playoff series win), Bayless is not much different. Similar to Gill, he is too old and unskilled to carry a team to success, but is experienced and qualified enough to be an effective on-court leader for the Young Bucks.
Even the ways Gill and Bayless look and behave are remarkably similar. Gill constantly gives off a chilling “annoy me and I’ll end you” vibe, evident by his often-unhelpful brevity and straightforwardness. That may not sound like much, but let me remind you that that’s about as badass as you can get in an animated G-rated Disney movie. J.B. is the same way, just ask Aaron Brooks, DeMarcus Cousins, or J.R. Smith. Although he’s rarely the largest man in a potential scuffle, the 6’3 Bayless will never back down. Gill and Bayless will simply not take your shit.
Despite the similarities, one big question remains: Can Bayless continue to follow in Gill’s footsteps? Through meticulous planning, on-the-spot thinking, and personal sacrifice, Gill helps Nemo (and everyone else later) reach the elusive free waters of the ocean. This is exactly the step that Bayless should be taking in his and the Bucks’ pursuit for an NBA title. He doesn’t have the freakish Achilles length of Giannis, the major ups of Jabari, or the smooth and quick stroke of Middleton, but he has the mindset and leadership capability to make sure each teammate is reaching their maximum potential. I’m hopeful that Bayless can fill this role. Jerryd Bayless is the Milwaukee Bucks version of Gill.
Movie Character: Archie Gates
Movie: Three Kings
Troy Barlow: “Whatever happened to necessity?”
Archie Gates: “It just changed!”
In many ways, this Archie Gates (George Clooney) comparison is a mirror reflection of the Gill comparison. However, it offers a drastically different and necessary take on Bayless’s conclusion with the Milwaukee Bucks.
To sum up some Three Kings backstory, Archie Gates is a self-motivated borderline lunatic willing to do almost anything to get his hands on Kuwait’s stolen gold. Gates recruits the help of Troy Barlow and Conrad Vig, and the trio promptly enters into Iraqi Republican Guard territory and seizes the gold. Essentially, things are going well… almost too well. Now, think of Bayless. Still seeking his first NBA title (albeit coming relatively close in his stint with the 2012-2013 Memphis Grizzlies), he teams up with the lowly but growing Milwaukee Bucks. In his first season with our Wisconsin team (2014-2015), the Bucks snatch the sixth seed and push the gritty Bulls to six games. Essentially, things were going well… almost too well.
But alas, as you are well aware of, things fall apart. In the Three Kings world, the Iraqi Republican Guard shoots an Iraqi rebel woman for no reason. Here, Gates makes the crucial decision to temporarily abandon his treasure-hunting motives to help stop the brutal terrorizing occurring at the hands of the Iraqi Republican Guard. Replace the ruthless gunfire with the ruthless L’s the Bucks have been taking this year, and the comparison becomes evident. Bayless, having thought this year would have, at the very least, led to a playoff series win, has changed his motives toward assisting and improving the others around him. In other words, he has remained strong through adversity. He hasn’t requested a trade, scolded his teammates, or looked aloof on the court; instead, we can assume that he has silently changed his motives for this season.
The remainder of the movie and Gates’s storyline offers a grim outlook for Bayless and a bright forecast for the Bucks. Gates, trying his hardest to both lead the Iraqi rebels across the border and secure his hidden gold supply, must make a decision and pick one. Heroically, he decides to help the rebels reach the safety of Iran at the expense of the treasure. Has Jerryd Bayless seen his last days in a Bucks uniform? Will he be on the NBA Championship court as green, cream, and white confetti fall from the rafters? Can he find his golden bars with another team? There’s no doubt that Bayless has helped place the Bucks young core on a path to glory. Sadly, he may not be along for the ride. Jerryd Bayless is the Milwaukee Bucks version of Archie Gates.
Movie Character: Shogo Kawada
Movie: Battle Royale
Quote: “Game over.”
Time to wipe those tears away and follow along for one more comparison. By now, you’ve probably realized that I’m quite a big fan of Jerryd Bayless. If you haven’t, here’s more proof: Bayless is as in-his-prime and deadly a shooter as Shogo Kawada (Taro Yamamoto) in Battle Royale.
For those unaware of Battle Royale, just imagine a much more gruesome (this “much” cannot be stressed enough, this movie is essentially blood with a side of story) Hunger Games. Kawada, having transferred himself into the Battle Royale tournament, is one of the oldest members of the class. He’s competed in the fight once already, which is why he is rightfully coined as the experienced and old challenger. However, this age is not a negative attribute; Kawada is at peak physical condition compared to many of his younger-looking classmates. Enter Bayless, who is one of the oldest and therefore most experienced players on the Milwaukee Bucks. However, like Kawada, Bayless is just hitting his prime. At the ripe age of 27, he’s four years younger than LeBron, the same age as Isaiah Thomas, and only one year older than Jimmy Buckets and Draymond Green. Playing on a team that often boasts a starting lineup comparable (in mean age) to the starting lineups of UNC and Villanova, it’s easy to forget that.
Lastly, Kawada and Bayless are both savage killers from any range. While Kawada is riddling the human flesh of his classmates with bullets with ease, Bayless is metaphorically killing defenders as he drains buckets over their outstretched arms with ease. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Bayless has become a surprisingly competent three-point shooter (currently sitting at 0.437% for the season) on a Milwaukee Bucks team that desperately needs shooting. Jerryd Bayless is the Milwaukee Bucks version of Shogo Kawada.
Don’t forget to tell us (@CreamCityCtral) or me (@MatthewContaldi) if you agree, disagree, or have any better fitting movie characters for Jerryd Bayless in mind!