The Packers and Bucks are rarely good at the same time. Before the Bucks had Giannis, there were probably only a few years in the early 2000s when both teams had truly competitive playoff rosters in my lifetime. Now that Aaron Rodgers is due to retire any year, we may go another few decades before we get another concurrence of superstar-led dominant teams in the only two professional sports in Wisconsin that matter.
Since it’s the dead zone in the offseason, let’s compare the top players on the Bucks to their Packers counterparts.
Greek freak – Aaron Rodgers
Yes, I was afraid of misspelling Giannis’ full name. Aaron Rodgers is the obvious comp here. Clearly a top 2 or 3 player in the league for most of his career. Elevates the play of everyone around him. Forced management to make requested roster moves to re-sign. Rodgers and Giannis may be the two best Wisconsin athletes of all time.
The sneaky potential future Giannis comp is Rashan Gary. Drafted mid-first round based on athleticism alone. Took a few years to affect the game. Was loved by local fans before the national media. All that’s missing is dad jokes (and being the best player in the game).
Jrue Holiday – Jaire Alexander
The Packers don’t really have a superstar-level player who they got in a trade, so I’m going Jaire Alexander here. Amazing one on one defender who can also thrive in help defense. Super plus athlete and cool interview as well.
Kris Middleton – Aaron Jones
Sometimes inconsistent on the brink of superstar level offensive weapon. A lot of fans of both didn’t want the team to sign them to second (or third) contracts. They’re often in online trade proposals. Meanwhile, they dominate during games and take the load off the superstar for quarters, and sometimes games, at a time.
Bobby Portis – Preston Smith
I want to go with David Bakhtiari here because of the off-field dominance, but Portis isn’t really the level of player who would reset the market at his position. I’m gonna go with Preston Smith. Streaky value free agency signing who outperformed his initial signing with the team and got an extension. Too bad Preston was never on the Bears to break Jay Cutler’s jaw.
Brook Lopez – Kenny Clark
Kenny Clark. Dominant in the paint and allows the team to play a unique defensive strategy. With the Bucks and Lopez, it’s going under pick-n-rolls while Lopez drops. With the Packers and Clark, it’s (attempting) to stop the run with light boxes. Both strategies have been better in the regular season and both have been terrible at times in the playoffs. Also, both players are super cool guys who you’d want on your team and in your locker room.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo – Randall Cobb
Had to do it.
Pat Connaughton – Allen Lazard
Unheralded but surprisingly athletic role player who does all the dirty work. You might be thinking Lazard isn’t surprisingly athletic, he just isn’t athletic. Would you be surprised to learn that he ran a faster 40 than Davante Adams, had a better vertical jump than Sammy Watkins, and had just one fewer bench press rep than George Kittle.
Wes Matthews – Marcedes Lewis
This one might be pushing it a little, but we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel here. Extremely ancient vet who does a lot of dirty work (blocking for Marcedes and defense for Wes) but you get nervous when they have the ball in their hand in the playoffs and hold it like a loaf of bread again and fumble turning the tide of the whole second half. Anyway, both are fan favorites.
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.